Several years ago I took a new position at work. I often joke about it as my forced promotion. The position that I left was one where I usually was in the same classroom all the time. I would often bring my leftovers from home those days and also kept spare tuna fish, soup and other items stored in the class readily available to me.
My new position put me on the road a lot. There have been times when I am in seven different classrooms in one day, sometimes even different school districts. When you’re on the road you don’t have that luxury of having a home base. Not only did I lose my home base, but my previous location even had a mini kitchen.
So I found myself eating fast food a lot and finally getting the freshman 15, or maybe even 20. The weight gain was quick and it’s been a battle to get back to my former weight. No, I don’t believe that we should outlaw fast food or regulate what size drink people choose . Sometimes fast food is your only option.
That being said, fast food was not good for me. It was no longer a treat every couple days or weeks, but became a staple in my life. I filled up with empty carbohydrates and often a lot of unneeded fat.
So was I really unaware of what would happen if I had fast food twice a day for several days a week for months on end? No. But I chose easy, quick, and cheap instead of slow, expensive, and time-consuming. For me it was the scale of values and I had made my choice and would face the consequences.
But how often do we really have the same mentality towards theology. Some call it Twitter theology. Now there are times when just a quick verse memorized can help us. Psalm 119:11 tells us to memorize God’s Word so that it comes in handy. Many times one verse on how we have been blessed, forgiven, or loved by the Cosmic Creator is helpful.
The problem becomes when we rely on fast food theology for our steady diet. Why do we do that? First, because it’s quick. The problem is not that we don’t have time, the problem is that we don’t make the time. We plan so many other things ahead of God and we just go for what is quick. We grab two minutes to digest whether it was good enough to sustain our spiritual energy or not. It holds us over and makes us feel good, and we enjoy what we read.
Second, being a student of God’s Word is not always easy. It takes mental energy to dig into God’s Word. Some of us have jobs that are mentally demanding. The last thing we want to do is add more mental pressure to our lives. But while we understand that it is sin to murder, and giving to the poor is righteous, there are many things in God’s Word that are so much deeper than that.
The issue often becomes that when we need that theology in tough times, we are not prepared with it. Sometimes we do need quick understanding. Like physical exercise though, we often push things off because they are hard, and wait until we are in crisis-mode to find out our answer.
Lastly, we have convinced ourselves that there is no other way. How many times did I grab a quick cheeseburger when I could’ve made a sandwich the night before? How many times did I go to work and grab some donuts on the way, but I could have taken 10 extra minutes to make some scrambled eggs?
We start to form patterns in life and convince ourselves that there are no other options. In regards to my physical health I need a simple decision of drinking unsweetened iced tea with a couple packets of sugar in it. Now you say to yourself, then can’t you just drink water? You would be right. I often do that more now. But a large sweet tea has 250 calories of all sugar, whereas an unsweetened iced tea with a couple packets of sugar only has 50 calories.
We have done the same thing with theology. We convinced ourselves that we will never learn how to study Scripture. The problem is we see the fact that we’re 20 pounds overweight and stare at the 20 pounds instead of trying to figure out that we can just shave 300-400 calories today. If we do that daily we will eventually gain ground.
It’s the same way with studying scripture. The more we study, or even just read the Bible more we will understand and know and be able to comprehend when we are taught. We need to stop looking at someone who has a great theological mind and aiming for that and just focus on a simple discipline of Bible study and reading for today.
2 Timothy 2:15-16 says, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness.” We see from this verse that studying is work. While the image of God is planted in us and by being given the Holy Spirit at the point of salvation we are given knowledge of God, we still need to study His Word. The verse says that it is work. But we need to get reading beyond a simple paragraph for our devotions or one verse or sentence of a Facebook meme and considering that our daily diet. If we don’t, we all wake up one day and find out that we have a spiritual health problems.
What is holding you back from studying God’s Word? Are you spiritually fit, or do you find yourself only looking to God in a crisis? What is one action step you can take this week in order to move towards a more healthy spiritual life?
Thanks for taking time to read this Maddening Theology post. If you enjoyed this content you can find Pastor Tim’s sermons at www.cornerstoneforestcity.org. You can also join us at 520 Marion St. Browndale, PA 18421 on Sundays at 10:45 AM. To make following the blog easier you can also register. You can also join us on Facebook at Cornerstone Forest City. Also, don’t forget to download our APP on iTunes or Googleplay.