At The Church Buffet – 1 Thessalonians 5:19

1 Thessalonians 5:19 – Do not quench the Spirit.

Sometimes we look at church as being a big buffet. We come to church with our plates and we heap on the things we like and avoid the things we don’t like. The problem is we get so much of the fun things and and neglect the areas of our life that really need attention and require a bit of work. We become spiritually malnourished. We only allow Jesus to be Lord of some areas of our life and keep others back from him.

Some of us even come to the buffet with our plates already full. There is little room left for Jesus on our plate anyway. The remaining space is filled with the gravy of church: the fattening stuff that gives flavor to our lives but doesn’t promote spiritual growth or obligation to God. Our lives are filled with so much activity. There are school events, job related activities, friends, hobbies, and even yard work that takes precedence over our involvement at church.

Francis Chan wrote in his book, “The Forgotten God”, that entertainment has become the model for church. “…and while it alleviated some of our boredom for a couple of hours of a week, it filled our churches with self-focused consumers rather than self-sacrificing servants attuned to the Holy Spirit.” In essence, we have neglected Paul’s admonishment not to quench the fire of the Holy Spirit.

I am one of those persons who sees God’s hand in just about everything. I can not go to the buffet and pick and choose. I want a nutritious, well-rounded meal of God in my diet. I want to see what God can do with every aspect of my life.

Don’t get me wrong. This can be very painful at times. There are areas that we all have where that we hide from God. We don’t do things “the Jesus Way” in every aspect of our lives. But I want to open all my life up to him. I want to allow him to meddle in every thing I do.

I have invited God’s spirit to be a part of my weight loss journey. And I have been surprised by the times that the spirit has convicted me of bad habits and areas of hidden sin that have propagated my weight problem. It isn’t easy to listen when God convicts you but it does help you to grow to be the person God has called you to be.

The hardest prayer I have ever prayed was “God, please feel free to interrupt my day.” The reason is that when God gets involved in your day you will find your whole schedule change. You will see areas of your life exposed. You will experience more needy people. You will be so busy your head spins… and there is not “me time” when you ask God to interrupt your day. No it’s “us time” from now on. But this is the prayer I need to pray daily.

One of the things that I have had to do since being on my weight loss journey is to avoid buffets. I have little control, no matter how hard I mentally prepare. I eat too much and I make poor choices. It doesn’t do well for me to go to such a place.

The church is not a buffet. Yes, there are a lot of activities, study opportunities, fellowship events, and missions and service opportunities. They are provide for you to get involved with so that you can get a well-rounded diet of God’s spirit so that you will grow to be the man or woman that God has called you to be.

I believe that a person who genuinely wants to grow spiritually should start with a prayer asking God to lead them to the right activities and to people who can encourage them to grow.

Dear Lord Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, I praise you for your infinite wisdom and for the gift of your Holy Spirit. God, I want to be a self-sacrificing servant and not just a self-focused consumer. Help me to grow in my spiritual walk with you. Thank you for Jesus in whose name I pray, Amen.

Spirit of the Living God
Author: Daniel Iverson (1926) and Michael Baughen (1982)

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me;
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

Spirit of the living God, move among us all;
make us one in heart and mind, make us one in love:
humble, caring, selfless, sharing.
Spirit of the living God, fill our lives with love.

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