The New Diet Plan for Spiritual Growth
(Excerpts from Walking in Truth by Dr. Ednorleatha Long)
When Jesus commissioned the disciples to go and preach the good news of the Kingdom of God, it was with the command to make disciples of all nations:
Go then and make disciples of all the nations…(Matthew 28:19a AMP).
Because believers have been summons to discipleship, a change in spiritual diet is required. Only God’s prescribed food can sustain the new nature of the believer and convert the soul. Jesus referred to this prescribed food as the proceeding Word of God.
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’“ (Matthew 4:4, NIV).
The Scriptures give several descriptions of the proceeding Word.
It is the flesh of the Heavenly Bread, Jesus Christ. “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed” (John 6:53-54).
It is the sincere milk that will cause one to enter into healthy growth. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious,” (1 Peter 2:2-3).
It is the solid food that imparts a deeper revelation of the mind of Christ. “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil,” (Hebrews 5:13-14).
It is doing the will of the Father, and in doing so, the soul will be satisfied. “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work,” (John 4:34).
If the proceeding word is to benefit the life, it must be eaten. To eat the Word of God means to take it into the belief system and allow the Word to govern the daily activity of the heart. In other words, the lifestyle is ruled by the Word of God. Believers have been given specific instructions on how to eat, and what the results will be as one simply obeys God’s instructions:
Eat what God serves and fill your inner-man; then you will have godly wisdom to speak. “Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll, (Ezekiel 3:1-2).
Eat what you find in the Word of God, do not pick and choose; then you will have joy. “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts,” (Jeremiah 15:16).
Eat what God serves, then you will not go hungry or thirsty—you will always have an abundant supply. “That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them,” (Isaiah 49:9-10).
Eat with an attitude of meekness (teach-ability engulfed in humility); then you will have victory in your soulish man. “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves,” (James 1:21-22).
Eat the Word as being God’s standard of right living and right thinking; then you will be able to perceive how He would handle each situation in life. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God,” (Romans 12:1-2).
If the desire is for the Word of God to be a benefit to the soul, the Word of God must be allowed an entrance into the heart, and become a part of the believer’s everyday practical living. Thus, the Word of God will not benefit the soul through mentally patronizing what was read. What was read must become a living, working Word in the believer’s lifestyle.
In addition, the proceeding Word of God cannot be mixed with opinions, philosophy, or ideology, but must remain in purity as when it was spoken by the mouth of God. It is the proceeding Word that will not return void unto God, but continues working in the earth accomplishing the will of God in our lives (Isaiah 55:11). Spiritual growth requires that disciples eat the Word: digest it into the belief system and allow it to become the ruling factor of everyday practical living.