I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard people say, “I’m just not being fed” when asked why they left a church or stopped attending a Bible study. I have no doubt that they are disconnecting because they aren’t being fed. The problem lies in who is supposed to be feeding them.
The Apostle Paul addresses this in Hebrews chapter 5. Paul is explaining something but then concludes with this passage in verses 11 – 14. He tells the readers that there is so much more to explain, and there is so much more to learn. The problem he identifies though is his audience is spiritually dull. They aren’t listening, because they don’t want to. He likens it to someone who only drinks milk and eats no food.
Infants drink milk, but as you grow you eat solid food, and by the way, learn to feed yourself. It’s messy at first, but you eventually get it.
Momma doesn’t follow you around the rest of your life making meals for you and hand feeding you. Guess what, your pastor, priest, minister, Bible study leader, spiritual parent, etc. isn’t going to follow you around and stuff the word of God down your throat either. Of course when you first come to know the Lord, someone needs to help you along. Someone needs to help feed you and teach you to feed yourself. However, a baby learns pretty quickly to put everything in it’s mouth. A parent then turns to teaching what doesn’t go in there instead of putting in what needs to be eaten. The same holds true for your learning from the Bible and listening to the Holy Spirit.
Do you think spiritual leaders are the only ones who can read the Bible? Do you think they are the only ones who can “feed” themselves in spiritual matters? We all can have a personal relationship with the Lord. We all can hear the voice of God. We all can hear that still small voice in our heart. It’s not magic and it’s not something for the “super-Christian”. Its for each and everyone of us.
God does put spiritual leaders in our lives, and He does speak to us through them, but He never intended on us being so dependent on them to feed us that we never learn to feed ourselves. As a minister there are a couple of spiritual leaders that I listen to their podcasts in addition to my personal time in the Bible and in prayer. My favorite is Brian Houston of Australia’s Hillsong Church. I also listen to Mark Batterson of National Community Church in Washington, D.C. from time to time. Both are very dynamic and authentic. Neither is my main source of spiritual teaching or learning. I also read books that are biblically based and give insight to what I already know to be true through God’s word and time in prayer. My main source, though, is my own time in the Bible and prayer.
Frequent time in God’s Word and frequent time in prayer is essential. Just as breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day, your personal time in the Bible and in prayer is more important than the time you spend sitting in rows staring at the back of the head of the person in front of you listening to “professional clergy” expound on subject after subject.
There is no special formula to it. There is no spiritual equivalent to the “food pyramid” saying you need so many servings of the old testament, new testament, and prayer so many times a day. We all have the internal sense that tells us we need to spend time with God. That is time in His word, time in prayer, and time in service for Him. It’s a little different for each one of us. That’s what feeds you. That’s what brings you spiritual sustenance.
Let’s embrace the Bible and spend more time in personal prayer. Let’s start backing away from the spiritual buffet table and getting spiritually fat and start feeding ourselves a bit more and actually doing something with what the Lord is speaking to us. Let’s start ministering to people in our own neighborhoods, schools, and work places. Let’s start making all kinds of differences in people’s lives in the name of Jesus Christ. Let’s take what we learn and share it with others. If you’re not being fed, it’s because you are not feeding yourself.