Have you ever tried to eat healthy? My family is on it’s yearly, “oh no it’s summer and we better get in shape diet.” This means we are eating rabbit food and hormone free chicken that magically lost all it’s flavor. I’ve learned it’s hard to get the right food at our regular grocery superstore so, we have begun going to the local health food store nearby. Sure, it’s a little more expensive but the healthy stuff is so much easier to find there. I’m certain Wal-Mart has healthy food available, you just have to form a search party of stock boys and call In the local k-9 unit to sniff out the last can of cage free green beans. It’s even harder to locate the good food when you are distracted by the super cheap bag of chocolate doughnuts that magically call your name as you walk by.
It was this frustration that led me to realize God has his own Wal-Mart. Perhaps you have been to this very popular Christian book store. They sell Christian t-shirts, music and large paintings of Jesus holding a lamb often found in church lobbies. They even have “Testa-mints” which are breath mints wrapped in scripture verses. Their main draw however is their book store area. I’m thankful that I have ready access to so much material, but much like trying to find healthy food at Wal-Mart I often get frustrated by just how much junk food for the soul is marketed to Christians.
I learned a long time ago that just because something is labeled as “Christian” does not mean it is safe and palatable for the soul. Often times some of the more shallow books are found in the bestseller section, which seems to have about 6-7 authors who just rotate at the top of the list. I don’t want you to think that I’m simply an elitist who only reads books found in seminary libraries, I just don’t want to constantly read things that teach me to rake for leaves instead of challenging me to dig for gold.
I think this is important because our minds can become lazy just like any other part of our body. If every book we pick up just brushes the surface we might be missing out on something much healthier and more fulfilling. After all, the scriptures tell us that wisdom is something we are supposed to seek out diligently. Proverbs 4:7 teaches us, “Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. The greatest truths we learn will not come from simply browsing through books telling us how to make Every day a Friday, but through books that delve into scripture and force us to wrestle with the person we see in the mirror.
Make sure an author not only uses a lot of scripture; make sure they use it in context. This means you need to read with your bible laying open next to you. Even the greatest author has no truth of their own they are merely echoing what is taught already in Gods word. So if you find yourself constantly reading books that teach you how to make this “Your best life Now” then put down the spiritual candy bar and open your Bible. You will be amazed how energizing a proper meal can be.
Caleb is lead pastor at Logos Church and enjoys writing about pop culture, Star Wars, Jesus and what effective ministry might look like in Tulsa.