Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How We Grow

Lately there has been this idea growing in my mind, and I keep encountering it wherever I turn. The most recent podcast I listen to is about it, Chad and I flip the channel to GodTV and Sid Roth is talking about it, the book I randomly pick up on the desk is earmarked to the exact page about it. Seriously. Its kind of a creepy, inescapable sort of thing that keeps evolving until I finally look it square in the face and give words to the impressions on my heart. So this is it.

My grandmommy used to always say, (who knows why she was always saying this, but she did) that "the thin just get thinner, and the fat get fatter." I always kind of bristled at that statement, because I was never sure which side I was on...and if I were thin, that was exciting and sort of liberating in a way, but if I was fat, well that just added an impossible anxiety. You get the idea. But there is this spiritual side of this statement that I can't resist pointing out today.

Do you ever notice that people who are really passionate about Jesus just keep going deeper? Its like they just keep getting larger and larger ideas about life and God, and soon its not just every other word they say is life-giving, its every word they say. They just ooze encouragement, and when you ask about their walk with God, they have a sparkle in their eye and a skip in their step and they seem indefatigable. And you wonder, will I ever get there?

Its probably pretty useless to outline the people who first take babysteps away from the "good life" of prayer and devotionals, tired of the routine, and bored with the faith...and a few years down the road they would rather call themselves cannibals than Christians, and they'd rather discuss the goodness of humanity than the greatness of God. And then you wonder, did they ever really meet with God? Did they ever really feel Him stirring in their hearts? Because if they did, they couldn't just walk away from it.

And maybe you're kind of like me sometimes, and one extreme looks unattainable, and the other looks totally unappealing. I heard some words recently from a pastor about how spiritual hunger and physical hunger work in opposite ways. Normally, people eat in the physical when they're hungry...and once they eat a certain amount, they aren't hungry anymore. (Notice I didn't say they stop eating, because if its a bag of pretzel mnm's in my hand, hunger or no hunger, I feel compelled to finish it) But in the spiritual, when you're not feeling hungry, all you have to do is start feeding yourself and you realize, you're hungry. And the more you eat, the more hungry you get. And so its like this endless stream of eating and hunger and eating and hunger, except there isn't obesity or gorging in the spiritual realm. Its more like Eden, when she is in the middle of a growth spurt, and all of the sudden it doesn't matter if its sweet peas or sweet potatoes or formula or milk or whatever, she could eat for an eternity. And her little body metabolizes the food and she grows more, so she eats more, and then she grows more and...in effort to not bore you, I will digress.

I was thinking this morning while I fixed my coffee that, I wonder why some people can get away with only putting a packet of splenda in their cup and they're fine, and why I am gagging unless mine has two heaping tablespoons of sugar. Literally. And then I thought, I bet its because those people haven't had real sugar in their coffee in so long that they think splenda actually tastes good. (I've probably just upset a bunch of splenda-loving people out there, who are spewing at their computer reasons why real sugar pales in comparison to artificial sweeteners...but I know they're dillusional, probably because of the chemicals in their sweeteners anyhow) Anyway, I was thinking that if they knew how good sugar was, they'd toss out their yellow or blue or pink packets. I think its the same way with Jesus. Sometimes I'm content to just live off of fifteen minute reads in the Bible, and a few worship songs, just because I've forgotten what it feels like to read something and pour over it for an hour, and be totally touched to the core of my heart in a way nothing else can touch me...but if I could remember that feeling in its perfection and entirety, I wouldn't be content with anything less.

And that's why I think the spiritually "fat" just keep getting bigger. Their memories are thick with moments like that, where they walk away and their hearts are practically screaming "God is with me!!!" And so they have to keep going back for more.
And sometimes I look at those people and feel discouraged, like I won't ever get there, or that I was once there but I can't figure out how to get back. This morning, the Lord just reminded me though how His economy works. His is not like America's. He doesn't have a certain amount of money in the bank or gold in the reserve that is exhausted at a certain point. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills...and in a non-monetary way, He has riches that are eternal for all of us. There is space enough in Him for all of us to press in. And if you wake up and feel satiated already, and you think, I just don't feel like I need God, go get with Him. Your feelings don't determine reality. And the more time You spend, the more You'll want. The more you feast off His word or in prayer or in worship, the more space you'll create in your spiritual stomach for Him. He is always waiting, always ready to run to welcome you. Its good for me to often remind myself, when I'm tempted to compare my spiritual lot with someone else's, that God never shorthands us. We do it to ourselves. So, hungry or not, go get some.

"The whole outlook of mankind might be changed if we could all believe that we dwell under a friendly sky and that the God of heaven, although exalted in power and majesty, is eager to be friends with us." -AW Tozer