We cannot grow without food. Not our bodies. Not our souls.

Without food, we sicken and die. With too little food, we weaken and wither. Food is vital to our spiritual life and health.

Jesus told a parable once about a tree that would not bear fruit.

“A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’

‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”

Apparently, the tree in this parable had a food problem. It wasn’t bearing fruit. It wasn’t maturing. The vine keeper suggested the soil around the tree be aerated and fresh food (fertilizer) be fed to it.

No doubt there are Christians who aren’t growing and bearing fruit because of other problems: a disease of the soul … spiritual lethargy … fear. But most Christians want to grow and want to bear fruit for God. To do so, however, they need the right food in the right amounts and in the right balance.

Thankfully, when we are planted in God, when our roots grow deep in him, we have access to all the food we need, in just the right amounts and balance. As we will see, God has provided five “food groups” to nourish our spiritual growth and development. They are gifts of God’s grace, a ready provision available to all those who want to grow up and become mature.

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