Following Christ carries with it a responsibility of what I refer to as self feeding. Self feeding is one of, if not the most important thing a believer can do. Unless you are a baby, injured, or unable to do so you must feed yourself physically. You must feed yourself to stay strong, healthy, and alive, and so you must also feed yourself spiritually.
What Does It Mean to Feed Yourself Spiritually?
When I refer to this I encompass the whole spectrum of prayer, Bible reading, meditating on the Lord, as well as extra curricular reading. Every believer must continue to hunger and thirst for the Lord. And, beyond that When we fail to grow, we stagnate, and stagnation only breeds death and disease.
There is importance for each of these within the believer’s life. Prayer, both unceasing and consecrated, draw us closer to the Father by communicating our desires and needs to Him, while also expressing the desires for the Kingdom to be on earth as it is in heaven.
Bible reading provides the spiritual bread for our spirit. David said, I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you (Psalm 119:11);” and again, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet, a light to my path (Psalm 119:105).”
Reading your Bible is beyond just reading a scripture so you can check it off of your to-do list. It involves seeking to understand the Father’s heart in what he is trying to teach the body about Himself. We do not study scripture to understand the Bible. We study scripture to know God’s heart.
Now meditating and praying may seem like the same thing, but in fact they are greatly different. Praying is your speaking to God. Making known your requests before the throne. But, meditating on the Lord is the time of silence when you allow the Lord to speak to you.
You allow Him to refresh you. You allow Him to provide insight into your prayer requests, and to provide you with fresh revelation. You allow the Holy Spirit to lead you into all truth.
Finally, extra curricular reading keeps your brain sharp. I encourage everyone to read from men like AW Tozer, Frank Viola, Watchman Nee, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as well as others. These men and women who have gone before you can be spiritual mentors in a sense, by providing you fresh new understanding of who God is, or what another aspect of His character is.
Their knowledge and experience can help you grow in your walk with Christ, just as it has mine. Learn from them, so that you can stand on their shoulders and see farther, reach higher, and understand the Father’s heart greater.
What’s The Purpose of Self Feeding?
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 14:26,
What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.
The goal is for the edification of the body. When you come together with the body of Christ, you bring your fresh revelation, as psalm or song that the Holy Spirit has given you. You bring a fresh teaching about the deeper things of Christ. Why? You do it so that you can edify and strengthen your brothers and sisters in Christ when you come together.
I believe this is one of the most powerful quotes on the importance of the individual believer seeking Christ and self feeding for the benefit of the whole assembly. This is from AW Tozer in his book The Pursuit of God,
Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers met together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become ‘unity’ conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.
Your Call To Action
I encourage you today to stop relying on your pastor to do all the work for your spiritual growth. Their relationship with God will not get you closer to the Father. You have to build that relationship yourself. Just as another man or woman cannot strengthen your relationship with your spouse, because you have to do it; so you must build and strengthen that relationship with the Lord yourself.
I have seen and heard too many pastors get the blame (and even fired) for the lack of spiritual growth in the lives of people. It is their job to lead, provide instruction, and help you grow, but if you fail to do your own leg work, it is not their fault.
Fitness is much the same way. As a trainer, I can give you instruction, and tools to live a healthier life, make better food choices, and to move more, but I cannot make the choices for you. I cannot make you get off the couch and move. I cannot make you eat healthier and more nutrient dense meals. I can give you the best workouts, but you cannot outwork a bad diet.
If you refuse to feed yourself spiritually, you will surely wither and die spiritually. Self feeding is the most important thing a believer can do in their walk with the Lord. When you come together, the word from your pastor or spiritual leader should simply reinforce what the Lord has shown you that week, and teach the body. Each man and woman must be personally “tuned” to the “tuning fork” of Christ. When we fail to do that, we lose our unity in the body, as well as our own spiritual growth.
Do not fail your brothers and sisters in Christ because you refuse to seek the Lord yourself, and to feed yourself spiritually.