Imagine for a minute a large group of people locked in a room filled with food and water, yet starving to death. While this scenario may seem far-fetched, it is a reality within the lives of too many believers. In the history of the world, we have never had the easy access to the Bible and study tools that we have today. We hold cell phones in our hands that have access to libraries of information that people in previous generations only dreamed about having available.
Yet, with all of this increased access to resources, such a television, internet videos, podcasts and vast libraries of books and written resources, the body, which should be growing in leaps and bounds, is shrinking according to polling agencies. The body of Messiah sits in the middle of a world filled with spiritual food and drink and is slowly starving.
The reason for this starvation falls into two basic categories:
1) The people in the room do not believe the food is for them.
2) The people in the room do not want the food that is in the room.
Group One people do not believe the food is for them and usually think that they do not deserve the food or have not earned the right to eat the food. This deception of worth comes from deeply rooted feelings of inadequacy, which comes from the faulty belief that we are not worthy to partake in the blessings that G-D has provided to His children. This lie causes many people to starve while sitting at the very table prepared for them by G-D simply because they believe that their seat at the table must be purchased by their goodness or righteous deeds, instead of understanding that their seat at the table was purchased by the One who is righteous and good in all ways. Their seat at the table was purchased by the redemptive work of Yeshua and that redemptive work provided all those who were bought with a great price the value, worth and rights to eat the food provided.
Group Two people see the food prepared and ready to eat and drink and reject it because it is not the food they want or desire. They look at the food as old-fashioned, outdated and simply not good enough for them. They don't want the food of their parents and grandparents. Instead, they want something different, new and exciting. However, too often when asked what they would like, they really cannot vocalize what they want. They just know deep within that they don't want the same old food. So, they just don't eat.
So, we have two groups, both starving in a room filled with food and water. One group that thinks they are not good enough to eat and the other that thinks they are too good to eat. But, the end result is the same: a weak and ineffective body of believers starving for power and strength.
The answer to this problem is simple: Both groups need to eat and drink. The solution is much more difficult. For the group that believes they are not good enough to eat, we must help them to dig deeply and dislodge the roots of inadequacy planted by both past failures and bad teaching. For the group that believes they are too good to eat, we must help them to re-examine the wells dug by their ancestors and help them to see the truth that just because something is "the way it always has been done" doesn't mean it isn't still the way it should be done. Or as Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 says, "What has been is the same as what will be, and what has been done is the same as what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a matter where it is said, "See, this is truly new"? Long ago in the past every matter has already been in our midst."
If we want to see real healthy growth in the body of Messiah, both of these deceptions must be addressed and we all need to begin to eat the amazing meal prepared by our Father.
Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry and #Man Wisdom: With Eric Tokajer.