Matthew 16:6;12: 6“Then Jesus said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.’ 12Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
I like these two pictures so much that I have had them hanging in my home for nearly a decade. The words on the paper say, “You are what you eat.” I love the symbolism of the children feasting on the Word. It’s a reminder to me of the necessity of spiritual nourishment. When we fail to feed our spirits with godly things, it will show in our thoughts, our words, and eventually our actions.
Have you ever known someone who, at one time, was “on fire” for Jesus and then years later he/she cooled off? I think of a dear friend whom I met about a year or so after I’d given my life to Christ. She was a great inspiration to me. According to Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpens iron…” and I can say with certainty that my friend helped to sharpen me. We continued to talk throughout the years from time-to-time and one day she told me that she was questioning the legitimacy of Jesus and the authenticity of the Bible. She had doubts about salvation. I was shocked and yet I had compassion for her at the same time. I knew she was speaking from a place of pain. She’d recently been hurt by “church folk” and that experience caused her to question everything she’d ever believed. Fast forward five or six years and she’s still in that place of unbelief and searching for the “truth.”
I love my friend dearly and I will forever be grateful for the role she played in strengthening my walk with God. I also pray that one day she will come back to Him. It feels like a personal failure for me not to have the words that will change her heart. Deep down I know that changing her heart is not a job for me. Maybe God is using my continued walk with Him to speak to her. The fact is, I don’t know. However, there are several things I do know…
I know that it’s possible for any of us, no matter how much we claim to love God, to draw away from Him if we start feeding our spirits with the wrong things.
I know that negative thoughts are dangerous if they are allowed to linger.
I know that actions speak louder than words, so if I really want people to “hear” me, I have to live out this gospel that I believe. I won’t have to “preach” about being a follower of Jesus because people will see that I am through the way I carry myself.
I know that there are many things that happen in life that can make us wonder where God is and why He’s allowing certain things. Yet…
I know that it’s essential to trust Him because ultimately, He is sovereign.
I know that when I fall short, and inevitably I will, I must not wallow in any failures or mistakes because doing so is contrary to His word.
I know that spiritual malnourishment is a real thing.
I know that there is no substitute for God.
Ultimately, I know that I don’t want to live my life without having a relationship with Him. Romans 8: 38-39 tells us that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. I want the same to be true in reverse. I never want any person or situation to affect me so that I turn completely away from believing in God and the Word that has brought me through so many crises.
In Matthew 16, Jesus warned the disciples against believing in the doctrines of the Pharisees and Sadducees. We, too, must be careful not to believe in ideologies that will cause us to stray from God. All of us will undoubtedly experience things that will shake our faith, but there must be enough biblical nutrition in us that we won’t fall. Entertaining the wrong thoughts or doctrines too long will eventually infect our walk with God. What have you been feeding your spirit lately?