Monday, March 31, 2014

Fluffy Pudding

     On special occasions like birthdays and other events, I enjoy cooking a meal for the family.  This past year, our daughter Jordan requested that I make a chocolate mousse for dessert for one of our special dinners.  Never having made this, I turned to "Google" to find a recipe.  Of course, there were many to choose from but I selected one that seemed relatively easy.  It turned out well, and everyone enjoyed it.  For those of you who are unacquainted with mousse, it is like a fluffy version of pudding.  There is a lighter texture to it.  My father never cared for what he termed "whipped" pudding.  He loved the heavier, richer type of puddings that would stick with your taste buds longer.  These recollections came to mind as I thought about what is happening in many fellowships around our nation.
     There appears to be "fluffy pudding" teaching in some gatherings or what I call "church light".  This type of teaching appeals to everyone, is user friendly, not much substance (maybe a scripture here and there), and is designed to motivate/encourage rather than instruct and challenge.  Much of this revolves around our feelings rather than the Word of God and on our doing works as a means of growing closer to God instead of doing good works because we are accepted in Christ already.
     In my current issue of a Christian book magazine, there are dozens of books that deal with our emotions, how to be happy in our job, and how to have a happy marriage.  These are all good subjects, but what's wrong with reading the Bible?  Isn't that the place to find many answers to our questions.  To give a personal example, I have recently read two books about loss.  One, written by Dr. John McArthur entitled "Safe in the Arms of God", is loaded with scripture and points to the comfort of  God's Word in dealing with the death of a child.  The other book by Philip Yancey entitled "The Question that Never Goes Away - Why" left me looking for a reason as to why I was reading it.  He dealt with the terrible Japanese Tsunami that killed so many, the Newtown massacre, and the genocide that occurred in the former Yugoslavia.  These were terrible events, but I found little scriptural answers there.
     As I thought about some of the "fluffy" teaching that abounds today, I could not help but think of what the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth.  Certainly, in his first letter, he was addressing a church that was dealing with sin, conflicts and division...not unlike churches today.  His purpose was to bring some correction so they could get back on track once again.  In I Corinthians 3:1-2, Paul writes:  "And I, brethren, could not speak to you as spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, spiritual infants in Christ.  I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it.  Indeed, even now you are not able to receive it."  While these believers had been under Paul's ministry before, they had not grown since that time.  They were still acting like spiritual infants only able to handle the basic truth of the faith.  God's plan for them and for us is to move towards spiritual maturity through the study of His Word, sound preaching and a life of prayer.  If any of this is neglected, we, too, will be eating pablum and drinking milk like the Corinthians and be fair game for false teachers.
     In the book of Hebrews, the author writes these words to the believers:  "For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 14But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil" (Hebrews 5:12-14).  The author points out that by hearing the Word of God through training our senses we are able to mature in Christ.  Unfortunately, if we are listening only to the messages which soothe our emotions, make us feel good,  and leave us comfortable, we will not grow.  The Christian life is found in the narrow way not the broad way which leads to destruction.  It is not an easy life but it is a fulfilling life because God changes us.
     My dad liked regular pudding because it stuck to the taste buds longer, filled him up and satisfied him better than the fluffy mousse.  So it is with the Word of God and sound teaching.  It sticks to your ribs so much better and lasts longer when we partake of the solid food found in God's Word.  I fear that many are "dull of hearing" as it says in Hebrews 5:11 and would rather just drink milk and float along with the latest trends, authors, and happenings on the Christian scene.  After all, digging deep into God's Word requires too much effort.  Unfortunately, this does not lead to maturity.  Jesus said it well when He told us in John 15:5:  "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
     We will not find the answers within our selves and we cannot work harder to earn our salvation.  Instead, we must put aside the fluffy teaching and dig deeper into the Bible.  It holds the truth we need for life.  As we pray over God's Word, He will help us by the power of the Holy Spirit to grow into maturity which is His plan for us.   This is my prayer for the church, for individual Christians and for myself.  The days are evil and we need to be ready when the bridegroom comes for the wedding feast of the Lamb.  Let us make certain we trim our lamps with the oil of His Word daily and avoid the "fluffy" stuff.  Selah!

Picture of Chocolate Mousse pie courtesy of Kelly at Wiki Commons

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