My youngest grandchild is eight months old today. Ella is a very healthy baby with “cankles” and extra chins. But she now needs more than breast milk. She’s eating a variety of fruits and vegetables and my daughter continues to introduce new, healthy foods. Ella won’t grow properly without them.
Likewise, we need a healthy spiritual diet of God’s Word to grow spiritually strong. Therefore, it’s important for us to regularly evaluate the quality of our Bible intake. First, let’s consider four unhealthy spiritual diets.
4 Unhealthy Spiritual Diets
- Spoon fed– Do you spend the bulk of your Bible study time in “secondhand” learning? Do you ingest God’s Word only after it’s filtered through someone else’s teaching? There’s nothing wrong with doing a published Bible study or listening to sermons and podcasts, but those things merely supplement our own personal study. I love to dig into a meaty study by a solid Bible teacher or listen to a great podcast. But there is no substitute for getting into God’s Word for ourselves. Everyone who has a saving relationship with Jesus has the indwelling Holy Spirit to help us understand everything God has given us in His Word (1 Corinthians 2:10-16). Let us get into God’s Word for ourselves! He will give us understanding if we ask and rely on Him to do it!
- Baby food– When Jesus first drew us to Himself, the first truths we learned was that our gracious God offers forgiveness for our sin and eternal life through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s a glorious message! The most important truth we will ever hear. But so many of us don’t move much deeper than that (1 Corinthians 3:1-3). We repeatedly read about God’s love and grace, but hesitate to move on to God’s teaching about spiritual transformation and holy living. To grow spiritually, to be transformed into the image of Christ, we must add to those beautiful foundational truths. We must also explore the deep truths of God’s Word so He can use them to renew our minds (Romans 12:1-2) and train us in righteousness (Hebrews 5:11-14).
- Junk food– When we eat nothing but fast food, sweets, and processed foods our body will not be able to function properly. In fact, we are much more likely to develop things like obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. Our body needs real food for good health. The same is true spiritually. Some examples of spiritual junk food include shallow self-centered teaching, light-hearted devotional “fluff,” and even distortion of God’s truth (2 Peter 3:17). We must be responsible for what we feed our souls. Let it be healthy, deep, and true! (See “Spiritual Junk Food” for more examples.)
- Picky Eater– If we only eat a small variety of food we will deprive our bodies of many vital vitamins and minerals. We need a wide range of fruits, proteins, vegetables, and grains to get everything we need for a healthy body. The same is true with God’s Word. Sometimes we tend to read and study the same passages or books over and over and neglect others. Believers need the whole counsel of Scripture. All Scripture is inspired by God and useful for what He wants to accomplish in our lives (2 Timothy 3:16-17). We need it all. God’s story flows through every book, every chapter, every verse.
A Healthy Spiritual Diet
So, what does a healthy intake of God’s Word look like? The following tips will get us started on a healthy spiritual diet. For more helps check out some of the additional links at the end of this post.
- Read and study the Bible regularly for yourself – The Bible tells us to train ourselves for godliness (1 Timothy 4:7). This requires a commitment and discipline. Find a time that works for you and begin to develop a habit. (Check out these Quiet Time Tips to get started.)
- Mediate on what you read – Don’t stop with a cursory reading. Think on it, allow God’s truths to penetrate your heart and mind. Then God will use those truths to transform the way you think about Him, yourself, and the world (Psalm 1:1-3). If you’d like more information on biblical meditation see “5 Probing Questions to Help You Meditate on Scripture.”
- Respond to what God says – Maybe God wants you simply to sit and worship Him. Perhaps God wants you to stop a certain behavior or help someone in need. My prayer for you and for myself is that we will be doers of the Word and just hearers only (James 1:22).
So, what does your spiritual diet look like? What do you need to change?
Other posts you may find helpful:
- Bible Highlighting for More Effective Study
- 3 Simple Steps for Everyday Bible Study
- The 4 R Bible Study Method
- How to Read and Understand the Bible in 4 Simple Steps