By: Pastor J.R. Gurley
“’The time is surely coming,’ says the Sovereign Lord, ‘when I will send a famine on the land—not a famine of bread or water but of hearing the words of the Lord. People will stagger everywhere from sea to sea, searching for the word of the Lord, running here and going there, but they will not find it. Beautiful girls and fine young men will grow faint and weary, thirsting for the Lord’s word. And those who worship and swear by the idols of Samaria, Dan, and Beersheba will fall down, never to rise again’” (Amos 8:11-14).
In the book of the Prophet Amos, God warns us about a famine which would arrive in “the days to come”. I believe the words of this prophecy are not only indicative of the period which transpired in the Earth between the Biblical Books of Malachi and Matthew, but also of the last days before the millennial reign of Christ. This dearth would not be a paltry famine of “food or drink” but one in which the very Words of God would be scarce—a far more harsh, calamitous, and indescribable time.
This prophetic forewarning alone should be cause enough to wallop minor chords in the heart of every true believer; one that would send them immediately into a desperation of desire to go and weep between the porch and the altar at the Temple, but, has it? Amos’ grievous words have been available for us to read every day for centuries.
Currently all seems well in the Kingdom to those who are unaware of “what lies beneath the surface”. Today we have more Bibles, more translations, and more versions than ever before. There are multiple churches on every corner; therefore, the Gospel is preached all across the United States every day of the week. The Christian music industry is seemingly booming. We can now listen to Christ being glorified in almost every genre of music produced. You yourself probably have heard plenty of Christian music and see Bibles all the time. So, there doesn’t appear to be a famine for the hearing of the words of God. Or does there?
A few weeks ago, as I pondered this verse, the Lord began to speak to my heart, directing me to look beyond the surface to see what He would reveal. The following day I witnessed a worship team getting “jiggy” for Jesus,(as they described it themselves) as the men, wearing large charms with open shirts exposing their chests, and women, in very short skirts and other revealing clothing, danced across the platform.
“Lord what in the world is this” I asked. The words of Amos began to pound on the doors of my heart with enough force to summon a river of tears. I started to realize all was not as it seemed. That famine had already begun. What I was now witnessing was the American church on life support, starved because of Spiritual Malnutrition.
What is Spiritual Malnutrition?
This is a condition brought on by the famine. It is an improper diet in the word of God. You see when the body has been denied food and nutrients from an outside source, it thereby initiates a process in which it begins to consume itself, starvation and death will quickly ensue if treatment or relief is not provided quickly.
As I studied further, I learned that symptoms include but are not limited to; tiredness, lethargy, depression, bitterness, complacency, and isolation. Although these are symptoms of the physical condition of malnutrition, they adequately and accurately describe the spiritual condition as well. Suddenly Jesus’ repetitive plea to Peter (feed my sheep) began to become clear.
How does this condition manifest itself in the life of a believer?
Your spirit man is constantly in need of nutrients and life that only a real relationship with Christ can provide. If your spirit man has been denied this type of care it will also seek the next available internal source; “The Flesh!”
In recent years we have witnessed a drastic decline in the preaching of righteous living in the church in America. Where are the “turn or burn” or the “fire and brimstone” sermons that were the foundational gospel massages of this country laid hundreds of years ago? In today’s church people flock to the altars not to repent, not to be delivered and not to have a closer relationship with God; they come to get prosperous, get rich, and lives in filled but guilt free.
Please understand that the real meat of the Word is not the main course meal that a majority of churches in America like to serve. These types of messages will scare away sheep that are addicted to the watered down crumbs. The preaching of the true Gospel would create large deficits in the available cash flow of churches for salaries and operating expenses. We fear that people won’t give as much in the offering plate if we preach against their favorite sins!
Instead they settle for the greasy grace and sloppy agape milk messages that are handed out in alarming numbers of ministries and Bible bookstores with a smile. Who wants to hear healthy fat free messages about hell fires, and the wages of sin, when they can eat a quick high energy, vitamin deprived blab it and grab it, sugar daddy, bubble gum, lollipop sermon and then hurry home to roost?
What are the effects?
I believe Paul described perfectly the effects of spiritual malnutrition in
2 Timothy 3:1-5. People, who fail to maintain a healthy spiritual diet, no doubt find it difficult to maintain victory in their relationship with Christ. These individuals are no longer on fire for God. They will not have a passion to evangelize, disciple or become active in anything that will not directly benefit themselves. Compromise and complacency is the norm of each day. The flesh will have rule!!!
The Church in America is suffering from Spiritual Malnutrition. Contrary to popular belief we are on life support. We are nowhere near the condition that Jesus left us. We have willfully surrendered Jesus’ Gospel for the promises of “mega church potential” from lights, cameras, and action.
We are in the middle of a famine that has rendered us spiritually incapacitated. It should be no wonder why prayer is not in school; Prayer left the church long before it disappeared in the school system. It should be no wonder why church organizations are more caught up in the “pharisaical” pleasures of serving man, mammon and money than we are serving God and feeding sheep. It should be no wonder that our pulpits have been transformed into “stages” and “platforms.” It should be no wonder that we have pimps that look like preachers and preachers that look like pimps. Its no wonder why the divorce rate is higher in the church than it is the world. We have finally figured out how to pack full our churches of slumbering, satisfied saints; we simply lower the standard. According to Amos in the last days all these things and more will become common place. The reason we do not have revival in this country is because we have demonstrated a desire to live without it.
I pray that all those who read this article begin to evaluate their spiritual diet. What have you been eating lately? If you find that you maybe suffering from spiritual malnutrition don’t worry the Word of God has just the prescription.
#1 Eat – Read the Word of God 2Tim 2:15
#2 Pray – Luke 18:1. We are to always pray and not faint. If we are praying then we are not fainting. If we are fainting it’s because we are not praying!
#3 Get accountable – James 5:16
#4 Get up. – Galatians 5:1