Java, java, java…I love Java!

It was a dark, chilly and wet morning. The air was filled with a gray mist, denying the sun from fully welcoming the day.  This was a day that “deserved” of a good cup of fresh, hot, strong coffee.  After a short morning devotion and prayer for daily guidance, the aroma of the freshly ground beans was a welcome friend adding to the positive tone of good things to come, in spite of the weather.

As is the normal routine, the beautiful black juice was just waiting to be released into the stainless steel mug. As it filled the mug, I was looking forward to the flavored nectar on my 40 minute drive to work.  Closing the lid and taking it to my vehicle to place it in the cup holder, I could get a little hint of the incredible aroma.  As I pulled out of the garage, around the first block to the traffic signal, I picked up the mug to consume the first taste of coffee. I used extreme caution not to burn my taste buds. Happy thoughts filled my mind as the warmth of the black juice began to flow. Until…

What is this? Huh? How did…? YUCK! I was quickly returned to reality as I did NOT taste the beautiful flavor of the beans, but merely a hint of dirty water with creamer and a little sweetener. Blah! How this happened, I really don’t know. I just knew that something was terribly wrong…no taste of coffee to be found at all. I must have still been asleep as I put the grounds in the filter. I was certain I went through my normal morning routine of coffee preparation. But this day did NOT begin as I thought it would have.

My blog today was birthed from this REAL event today. As I was sipping the exceptionally weak but hot, mug of sweetened water, I wondered why I was continuing to consume it. I mean, it was NOT what I wanted to be drinking. In fact, it was completely unappealing to my taste buds and definitely NOT providing the anticipated JOLT of real Java.

Then came that familiar small voice invading my thoughts. These trails of inspirational thought are why I am writing today. I just hope it provides you the same JOLT that it gave me…

Do God’s people approach their spiritual life this same way, going through the daily routine satisfied to think all is well as long as it is “normal”?  – Lord, I do not want to simply go through the motions. Every day is a golden opportunity to experience incredible things through God’s presence in my life.  I must treat each new day with a new perspective void of the prejudices of yesterday’s events and attitudes.

I consider myself to be a coffee lover, maybe even a connoisseur of sorts.  My desire for coffee is NOT based solely upon the “rush” of caffeine, it is mainly about taste and flavor. When I first started drinking coffee, I could not handle strong flavor or strong coffee. I was a coffee novice. I had to have lots of sweetener and maybe even flavored coffee. But as I have experienced years of coffee drinking, my “tolerance” for stronger coffee has grown and so has my love of non-flavored coffee. (I hope you see where this is going…)

The same thing applies in our spiritual lives…When we are new in our relationship with God, we cannot handle the deep things of the Spirit. It takes experience, patience, consistency, commitment, patience, tolerance, patience, and determination (did I mention “patience”?) to reach a higher or deeper level of spiritual maturity. This is the meaning of the difference between the MILK of the Word and the MEAT of the Word (Hebrews 5:11-13 NIV and I Corinthians 3:1-3 NIV). A newborn cannot handle meat, but is restricted to milk and soft foods. However, as the child grows, it begins eating more and more meat (unless the child’s parents are vegetarian – LOL).  If the child does not move on past drinking milk only, then the growth of the child will be stunted or restricted. Milk only provides so much energy and nutrients, not providing what meat can. SO it is with spiritual babies – they must grow up into the deeper truths of the Word of God.

Here is the $1M question…Are you experiencing a steady flow of WORD INDUCED RUSH in your spiritual life? (Milk cannot provide the kind of rush that the meat of the Word can.)  If you are not, maybe you need to try something a little stronger than what you have been accustomed to. Isn’t that where the issue really lies anyway…in our personal comfort, what we are accustomed to? I don’t think God really cares about our comfort. Yes, He wants us blessed and happy, but those things are NOT contingent upon our personal comfort level. I feel blessed and happy because I have been through some tough stuff. God loves me enough to bring me THROUGH those things.

In the same way that you can tell an experienced coffee drinker by the strength of coffee, you can also spot the experienced disciple of Christ by their strength you possess in difficult times. Hard times and tough love do NOT discourage them. In fact, they sometimes thrive on it.  It is said that when the going gets tough, the tough get going.  The Word says it a little differently.  John the Baptist (Jesus’ first cousin) had to be reminded that even in the midst of his imprisonment, the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the dead are raised…but Jesus was not going to deliver John out of prison. With that understanding Jesus sent word to John…”blessed is he who is not offended in me…” (Luke 7:20-23 NKJV) Tough stuff REQUIRES maturity!

Stop consuming weak coffee, weak Word, and weak experiences. Don’t settle for a word and experience that does not move you to action nor maturity.  It’s time to turn it up a notch and get growing. After all, I was told as a kid that drinking coffee would bring about certain mature physical qualities.

Bring on the JAVA!  Give me the real MEAT of the WORD!!!