Camp Morning Devotion: Necessary Hunger to Keep Growing & Best Place for Your Spiritual Growth

Dear BPCWA worshipper, In this pastoral, I will continue with the morning devotion messages preached from Prov 27:7-8. I hope you will read it to refresh and reaffirm key lessons to be learnt.

Necessary Hunger to Keep Growing. “The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet” (Pr 27:7). Isn’t being full a good thing to be desired? Not always so. It can remove appreciation of what is good and needed. The honey in the honeycomb is full of protective antioxidants and comes with many other health-promoting qualities. One who is hungry will be grateful to have it. But despite all this goodness, the foolish full soul wants nothing of it! What is the spiritual state of your soul – are you a full soul? 1) The Dangers of fullness. a) Disinterest in the milk and meat of the Word. Babies have a natural thirst for milk. If you lack an interest in God’s Word, it could be a warning sign that you may not be saved. b) Diseased soul. Fullness speaks of no longer having hunger. Like one who is sick loses his appetite, if your spiritual appetite is waning, it is a sign of spiritual sickness. Recognise the warning signs of spiritual sickness if God’s Word is increasingly distasteful to you. Have you become full of the world? c) Dislike and look down on spiritual things. The word loathe describes one who not just ignores it, but tramples and walks over the honeycomb. You may feel that there is no need for God’s Word. Even if you’re at church, you may even enjoy the singing, but don’t like the Bible study part. You could be just there waiting for the games, fellowship, or activities part of the program. 2) Reasons for fullness. a) Complacency. As you are taught more of God’s Word or if you have been a Christian for some time, you may think in your heart that you already know a lot. Some just want to know only as much as the gospel and don’t care for more since they think they’re heaven-bound. The honeycomb is full of various details, but they are not interested in the details and just want to “move on”. The full soul may feel that lay people don’t need to know details. b) Carnality. Over time, fleshly appetites may have crept into your life, even if they’re not outrightly sinful things. It could be a “retirement” lifestyle, your job, or your children. These cares and self-goals have overtaken your spiritual desires. You have developed the “junk food syndrome”. When it comes to carnal things, you can’t have enough of them. But when it comes to healthy spiritual things, you have no appetite because you’re filled with junk food. c) Contempt. You trample on something because you don’t value it. You dislike long and detailed sermons. Familiarity breeds contempt. There is so much good teaching in the Bible-Presbyterian movement that you don’t care for the good spread that is available. Things that are basic to you, the hungry soul clamours for it. Because you are familiar with the pastor and your parents, what they teach you just becomes a familiar droning that you ignore. 3) Solution to fullness. a) Check your salvation. If you are here simply because you’re forced to and nothing interests your heart, you may not be saved. b) Cultivate a hungry soul. Appetite for something can be cultivated. Physically, when you eat more and more often, you get hungry more easily. Cultivate a big spiritual stomach and appetite. Pray for God to make you hungry. Cultivate habits around spiritual things, such as reading and listening. c) Crucify the flesh. There is pain involved in removing carnal desires. If you don’t cultivate a hunger for good things, you will begin to loathe them. Practice replacement theology ie to replace the carnal with the spiritual. d) Comprehensiveness. “Every” thing is sweet to the hungry, even bitter things. Don’t be selective and think that “these topics are not for me” and have no usefulness in your life. Or you may not like the bitter medicine prescribed in God’s word – take it, they’re good for you. If we want fruitfulness in our lives, we must be interested in everything in God’s Word. Even people with PhD’s don’t get tired of studying a subject, no matter how much they already know about it. e) Church life.  Don’t neglect the assembling of the saints. Cultivation of spiritual desires is what happens at church. God gifts His children with the church because that is where feeding happens. Home feeding is not enough. The church is not an appendix. You can’t grow and can’t bring up godly seed if you don’t bring them to church because it is God’s appointed means of feeding and fellowship for growth.  f) Christ must be pursued. It is all about Christ. See Him in His Word, which is His revelation. Honeycomb is often used to refer to the Word. The Word points to Christ. If you are disinterested even when in church, it is due to a heart problem. Know Him and love Him above all. Taste and see that the Lord is good!

Best Place for Your Spiritual Growth. “As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place” (Pr 27:8). Birds prepare themselves for responsibilities when they build their nest. After salvation, God has a post and a place for each of His children. When you have a purpose, you are very clear about what your place is. When you are doing what God purposed for you, you will grow best. But the wandering bird is not like that. Instead, it roams, uninterested in fulfilling the responsibilities that it should be stationed at. The wanderer gallivants, ignoring responsibilities, and goes about on a free and easy life. Over time, this wandering becomes more pronounced, and the bird keeps getting distracted, only wanting to play. Such unrest is in us when we do not want to be settled and hunker down to fulfill our Christian responsibilities. We could keep wanting to experience “new things” or return to our old life, hence not moving forward with God’s purpose. We can be fickle, restless, and unstable because we are discontented with God’s place for us. We think that the old life is better or convince ourselves that our wanderer lifestyle is needed, ignoring what we should do. We are non-committal in our Christian walk, even giving ourselves the license and excuse to do whatever we wish in our lives. Some may not like to commit to a church too. Does this sound like you? Then you have a wandering spirit! 1) Why do we wander? a) Wanderlust. When it comes to talking about purpose, we resist it because we feel tied down or bored with commitments. b) Dislike responsibilities. The pregnant bird must settle down and focus on the new responsibilities of its new life. After salvation, we too need to fulfill our general and specific calling and not wander from them. Neglect of responsibilities only brings disaster to self and others who depend on us.  c) Just because I can. The bird is not bound by a chain or a cage. It can still fly off if it wants to fly. Having resources and abilities makes us feel all grown up to do whatever we wish – I don’t need to be in a nest! The world is full of many things that we want to “discover” and find out for ourselves. The grass on the other side is always greener. We may wander because we simply want to follow our friends – how many of God’s covenant children have found that Christian families are too “strict” and sought to wander out and be like the children of the world? Or we wander off to another church because something has angered us because we don’t like it when the preaching at church has pointed out our sin. When you wander like that, you will backslide eventually.  2) How do we know our place and post? God shows us His purposes for us in His Word through known principles ie the preceptive will of God. Some responsibilities and places we are to be in are very clear. Use God’s word with an honest heart as principles to guide you into the decision of where is your place and post then stay and be faithful there. You will be most fruitful there till you meet Christ. 3) Why should we stay in our place and post? Simply because God is Sovereign and His purpose is the best place and post for us. When we remain and rest in that, we can be assured of His protection and His presence. When you are in the wrong place, there is no peace, and worse still, you are not useful to Him.  4) Dangers of wandering. We listen to the “chirping of other free and easy birds of the world” and we begin to wander to join their “free and easy” ways. When we return, we are bored and don’t stay long at our post. Eventually, we become quitters. Quitters are seldom winners. Every true child is excited to hear “well done” from their parents – but there is no “well done” from God for those who wander from God’s specific calling for everyone to a place and responsibility in life. We begin to deceive ourselves, rationalizing our own will as being God’s will. The wanderer is seldom prosperous because they choose another place instead of where they should be. There is danger not just to the bird, but also to the nest. The wanderer affects others around them. 5) End well.  Embrace rebuke, however much it goes against our grain to hear it. Resist foolish emotions that weigh us down. Cultivate a hunger for spiritual things. The bird that goes off from God’s place in these things rarely ends well. How will you end?   

… prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here’s my heart, O take and seal it;
seal it for thy courts above.

Yours in our Lord’s service,