I can remember the moment when I turned 35 and I started to live out the rumors of my older friends when they would cry, “It will catch up with you, just watch and see!”. Those rumors, whispers of commentary became a reality, when I went on the scale and I couldn’t lose the weight. I had always been blessed with a high metabolism and could manage my physique by just cutting a few corners to maintain the weight, but even though I looked “healthy”, my body was changing and becoming lethargic and weak. I had to make changes and it started with two areas, my eating habits and my exercise habits.
I went to my executive assistant and told him secretly, “I need you to help me with my exercise routine, I want to get physically fit.” I know what he thought, “Great, another person who wants to work out, but doesn’t want to sweat and endure pain.” But, I was committed and what became a challenge to grow and become healthy is now a rigorous routine of my daily life.
I recognize that my life will not be productive without good healthy habits.
When I look at the church, one of the greatest indictments against us is our diet and exercise. Hebrews 5:11-14 speaks to this reality,
11There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. 12You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. 13For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. 14Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.
These Jewish believers had become weary due to persecution and propaganda to go back to their old ways. They had lost their ear to hear God’s word and were following their traditions and systems of old. The writer uses a key word in this text, “Nothros”, meaning to become sluggish, lazy, complacent, out of shape, and out of tune. They were no longer growing spiritually and it was visible.
Healthy Churches are GROWING CHURCHES. When I say growth, there are a number of metrics by which we can identify growth, bucks and butts, is most of our church growth metrics, but those are fruits of growing churches. God wants us to GROW, but its personal GROWTH which leads to CONGREGATIONAL GROWTH.
HEALTHY CHURCHES GROW DEEPER:
They have an unquenchable for thirst for the Word of God! God’s Word has to become the bedrock of spiritual growth and development. Healthy Churches foster discipleship and create a strong emphasis on God’s WORD. It’s not just reading the Bible, it’s understanding, studying, and applying God’s Word into our every day lives. Healthy Churches have a strong leadership base who are teachers and are beyond the “milk”.
HEALTHY CHURCHES GROW WIDER:
They have a strong compassion and connection to God’s heart! There arms are outstretched understanding the power and kindness of God’s love. They are contemporary in their reach to those around them. Healthy Churches have a leadership which understands methods are changing and they innovative in making sure their reach is WIDE.
The writer of Hebrews in indicting their church for their lack of depth and understanding. They have grown old, but not grown up. Maturity has nothing to do with age or even experience. It has to do with intentional and consistent spiritual development. Its going DEEPER IN FAITH and WIDER in our REACH which makes us a STRONG and HEALTHY Church.
HEALTHY CHURCHES ARE PROGRESSING:
Anytime you get information without application it will create frustration!
Healthy Churches are putting exercise to their faith! They are a BELIEVING CHURCH! They are taking new territory, increasing their influence, increasing their capacity, and creating consistency in their witness.
YOU CAN ONLY PROGRESS WITH CONSISTENCY & RESISTANCE! Healthy Churches are consistently taking “faith” steps to make a difference. They don’t shrink back, but constantly mature their faith by putting their faith into action, even in the face of opposition.
Today, I challenge all of us to change our spiritual diet and exercise, because you are what you Eat! If you feed your fear, they will grow, if you feed your flesh, it will grow, but if you feed your faith and put into action, it will GROW!