Most of us remember days when we would go to the shops or cinema and fill a bag of sugary treats from the wonderful pic ‘n’ mix section. A wall of sweet delights, every colour and shape imaginable was there to entice us. As we recall our personal favourites, the ultimate fun of the experience was the power of choice from an array of enticing possibilities. The analogy to these present days hasn’t been lost on me.
Back in March we were all shaken by the derailment of our routines when Lockdown became a reality. The pandemic changed so much of how we do life and church. I am among the army of those who are so very grateful for the availability of online services, and for those who are able to provide them. What a great blessing indeed. The internet has literally exploded with new opportunities as we can now tune into a service from our own churches, and then, should we so desire, we can tune into a service from another ministry or church from anywhere around the world. Incredible.
What’s not so amazing perhaps, is how many people are now becoming conditioned to surfing services and pic ‘n’ mixing in terms of worship and teaching. Maybe we only click on to some churches because we like the preacher, or for the worship style, or even because we are inquisitive as to what’s going on in another church?! I know myself how easily this is done, but a check in my spirit recently reminded me that we must guard against a consumerist approach to worship and church.
Where we once physically joined a body of believers and partook of a whole service from beginning to end that incorporated the message, prayers and worship as an offering to God, we can now simply click in and out, join other preaching half way through, fast forward prayers, or listen with a critical ear as opposed to a worshipping heart.
Of course there’s absolutely nothing wrong with exploring different worship experiences and visiting other places online, it can be helpful to do so, so long as we do so with the right heart and attitude. It should ultimately be all about us worshipping and honouring God.
Pic ‘n’ mix treats are great, but they certainly aren’t part of a sustainable healthy diet. We wouldn’t thrive on only pic ’n’ mix every day, so why do that spiritually? Are we grazing just on what’s sweet and palatable whilst resisting a spiritual diet that will challenge, stretch, grow and mature us? Just as in the natural we need a balanced diet to be healthy, then spiritually we need that too. Overindulging one way or eliminating another is imbalance. Even as leaders we can be in danger of silencing the voice of God and the gentle conviction of the Holy Spirit by our own choices. In these days more then ever we need to pay careful heed to our spiritual wellbeing.
This quote by Dr R.T Kendall is a wonderful example of the importance getting the balance right.
“When you have the Word without the Spirit, we dry up; if we have the Spirit without the Word, we blow up; if we have both Spirit and Word, we “grow up”
May God graciously show us areas in our lives today where we may need to readdress the balance of our own spiritual diet.