I was looking at the beautiful picture in this blog of the row of outdoor tables and their crisp white tablecloths and table settings looking so inviting. You’ve got to know that the food served on these beautiful tables is of the highest quality. It would be a shock for most of us if we were to sit down in such a beautiful atmosphere only to have a paper plate with fast food put in front of us. Well, I thought about the quality of food that I would expect in this situation, and I came away with something profound. Actually, it was quite simple, but still somewhat profound in its implication. Three words came to me that I want to encourage the reader with: CHANGE YOUR DIET!
It’s important to let you know from the beginning this is about something more than natural food. This is meant to address those of you who are spiritual seekers or better put, followers of God. If you don’t believe there is a God, please continue to read this post because maybe it may cause your appetite to increase for what you can not see in the natural and therefore do not believe in. However, in order for you to embrace a God you can not see with your physical eyes and fully understand and grow in a vibrant faith, you must believe. “How then can they call on the One they have not believed in?” (Romans 10:14)
Believers know that there is more and we claim that we are followers of God. So, I am speaking specifically to those who are on a “diet”. We may pray and read something “spiritual” ever so often. However, when you examine the quality of what you “eat”, is it healthy and wholesome for your spiritual intake? Or is it cheap fast food? Is it the kind of food that makes your spiritual stomach upset? Are you guilty of getting excited, after ten years of following Christ, over truths you should have already known as an infant (in terms of spiritual maturity)? Do you expose yourself to spiritual teaching and training that boils down to potty training and infant milk bottles?
I’m just asking questions, that’s all. Hoping some of us will take a brutally honest look at our spiritual diets, realizing there is a strong possibility we could be experiencing so much more in life if we stepped up to the grownups table. And for some of us, it’s not so much about moving from a child’s diet to an adult’s. It seems more about digging into God’s Word for yourself so you can discern when you are being served fast food or nourishing food. You are faithful at your church or spiritual community? That is great, especially if you recognize that your spiritual community is a supplement and not the whole of your spiritual diet. However, some of us need to stop using the excuse that we are being “faithful” in the spiritual community we chose as a reason for constantly sitting at a table where hamburgers and fries are served. Grow up, take charge of your spiritual success, and change your diet! You may be missing out on truly abundant life and simply camping out in a place called “Religion”. Let’s not find ourselves in the category the Apostle Paul described as “infants in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3).
Have you ever stopped to ponder the significance of how much of your life is spent on a job? Work is honorable and certainly nothing to be ashamed of. The question is whether you are involved in your life’s work or just work to survive? Be careful you do not sacrifice your personal values on the altar of so-called financial security. Don’t do yourself a disservice by throwing away your dreams. You can do both, work and fulfill your purpose and sense of calling.
Some take great pride in their longevity within a particular field of work and are often willing to throw away their inner desires and dreams because they would interfere with their “track record” of loyalty to the company or organization they are a part of. They may even believe longevity equals success. Longevity is commendable especially if the job is a place where you believe you belong. But imagine being in an abusive relationship for an extended period of time and later bragging to others, “we’ve been married for over twenty five years!” It may be safe to say there is nothing commendable about that, and your longevity in the relationship does not wash out the reality of the abuse suffered. Longevity should not be the sole determining measurement of whether you should pursue that business idea, travel the world, write that book, etc.
You should be willing to accept the possibility of immediate discomfort when giving up a job or career constantly demanding the compromise of your integrity. If your journey towards your dreams requires this kind of sacrifice, don’t worry about how you will be perceived though. Concern yourself with self respect more and others respect just a little less. As one transformation teacher used to say, your reputation is in the hands of others. Among a group of one thousand people, you may have one thousand different “reputations”. He said it is your character that YOU have the power to determine. Your character speaks to who you really are, and being TRUE to who you really are is called integrity. So be who you really are! Exercise wisdom in your decisions, but also be true to what you want out of life, even if it means giving up a sense of security. Sacrifice security for the greater good of integrity!
When I think of how much we worship at the altar of financial survival and financial security, this question came to mind, “….is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25) From the perspective of this passage in the Bible, there is something deeper than survival and even security. Ask yourself the hard questions like the one in this passage mentioned. (The context of this passage deals with prioritizing God’s kingdom agenda for your life over material provision and material/natural concerns.) See what answers you may come up with, and feel free to share!
Arise to a new life! Get up from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you! (Based on Isaiah 60:1)
To move from the past to the present, you must discontinue your thought connection to old things. You have to get up on the inside before you can get up on the outside. You must disconnect from debilitating memories, negative events from the past, even break your excessive attachment to good times from the past. Your constant recall of the past is basically an illusion, a ghost with no body. There is no present substance to the past you recall except the substance you give it with your thoughts and your faith in the power of past memories and their effect on you now. In other words, the only connection between you and what happened in the past is the attention you give it in the NOW.
Obviously, past events have no life of their own in the NOW, in the present. They require you to presently connect with them in order to have the chance of resurrecting. If you really don’t want this, then stop connecting with your thoughts. Stop connecting with what you say in your heart regarding what happened. Remember, self-talk is extremely powerful. So use it not to live in the past but plan and “scheme” for a bright future. Arise to a new life, the new life YOU have imagined. Stay focused on a beautiful inner picture of the way things can be in the NOW. Get up and get forward!