The world over, we have been introduced to satisfying our food needs at the speed of light, due to our ever busy lives. There has been a proliferation of the so called “Fast Food” franchises all around the world.
The dominant characteristics of the Fast Food business are to meet the immediate need of food, as a stopgap measure factor, and instantaneously supplied. How this incredibly fascinating feeding feat is accomplished has raised some concerns on health issues accompanying this popular eating habit.
No one can deny the appeal that Fast Foods have for the majority of busy career individuals who may have limited time to have a proper cooked meal; as well as families, especially children who may have a liking for these fast foods. The catch to the fast foods is to quickly arrest ones hunger or craving anyway they can, by promising satisfaction, even though often economical on health. Another reason why fast foods have an attraction is that speed is the name of the game, while using prepackaged and not freshly prepared food.
The sad part is that this same expectation of instantaneous fulfillment can translate into people’s expectations applied to other areas of life, such as what I have termed as the “Fast Food Gospel” being peddled around Church circles. Unfortunately, for some Christians, this could even be more appealing than getting into the deeper teachings of God’s word. In this scenario where the gospel takes on the “Fast Food” characteristics, the result is spiritual immaturity and mediocrity.
There’s actually biblical caution for such a counterproductive approach to the message of Christ’s unmatched work of great sacrifice for humanity, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4). This sound like what you may be noticing among some circles of Christians who have been caught up in some Fast Food Gospel that appears to peck their ears and is filling them with some “spirit” who knows what kind, and they revolt against deeper and sound biblical teachings that require commitment on their part.
Early Christians, as recorded in Acts 2:42-47, inculcated a long-term COMMITMENT to the studying of God’s word, a long-term SATISFACTION was derived from sharing together the discoveries of God’s wisdom in fellowship with one another, and a long-term FORMULA for spiritual success was achieved, so much that not even persecution could stop the advancing of the gospel and the Church across the then known world.
Long Term Commitment
The environment in which the early Christians found themselves was replete with strong religious sentiments, and the institution of Judaism was predominant. This was not an easy time for a new kind of religious teaching to emerge and thrive.
For anyone to associate with Christ’s new movement, and embrace the authentic gospel, required an uncanny level-headedness on the part of such adherents. Consequently, they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching. To be devoted to something means having a deeper level of engagement with it. This requires commitment, and not a mere fast and speedy satisfaction from such teachings, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42).
Today, sadly, there are some popular peddlers of a kind of gospel that merely hypes people up on religious slogans and antiques, which leave very little understanding of the deeper tenets of the word of God; but maximizes on emotionalism and sometimes blatantly contrary doctrines to the gospel as enshrined in the Bible.
But the early Christians were daily committed to the teachings of the word, as presented by their apostolic leadership, who themselves had been at the feet of their Savior for several years in their formative years.
Long Term Satisfaction
In order for a child of God to experience sustained fulfillment in serving Christ, there is need to cultivate a consistent desire to be in fellowship with others of like faith, with a growing desire to be in prayer individually and corporately with fellow Christians.
Every opportunity the early Christians had to meet together, they took it. In fact, the bible tells us that they met every day, “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts…” (Acts 2:46a). These Christians were ardent attendees of these public and corporate gatherings of the Church in the temple courts.
Our public and corporate times of worship as Christians are very significant, and these connect us to the bigger spiritual atmosphere of what the Lord is doing in our larger Christian communities.
However, these early Christians displayed another formidable attribute of their faith by establishing close and meaningful relationships with one another in smaller gatherings, “They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all people…” (Acts 2:46b-47a).
We don’t read anywhere that these Early Christians had big mansions that could accommodate, at least 3,000 plus Christians, since that was the number on the Day of Pentecost. Therefore, when it says they met together in their homes, they must have been meeting in smaller community groups that could fit in their various size homes.
Therefore, long-term satisfaction as a Christian comes from consistently connecting with communities of fellow Christians, at every opportunity you get, “…Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Looking for momentary spiritual highs, without consistent devotion to putting in your time, so to speak, is scouring for a Fast Food Gospel that will leave you instantly blotted, but is hazardous to your long term spiritual health.
Let me close with a formula for spiritual success in the life of any Christian:
► Corporate (Public) Connections + Small Group Connections = SPIRITUAL NETWORKS
► Corporate (Public) Gatherings + Private Intimate (Small) Home/Office/Suitable Venue/etc. = SPIRITUAL CARE
In our Capital Christian Family, we emphasize the development of strong and uncompromising SPIRITUAL NETWORKS; which are undergirded by sincere and unpretentious SPIRITUAL CARE.
And our Small Group Community Gatherings we call “Christian Life Care (CLC) Groups” their MOTTO is: “Caring Enough to Encourage”