Vol.XIX No.XII Pg.3
February 1983

Attitudes And Appetites

Dan S. Shipley

When men complain that their wives do not cook as their mothers once did, the fault may not lie so much in the cooking as in the appetite. What they forget is that mother's cooking was served to active, healthy, hardworking, hard playing, and growing boys. Now, as grown men, they sit at a different table with equally good food, but with appetites that have become dulled through inactivity, junk food, physical infirmities, and other such things. The problem is in the man, not in the menu. And it can be something like that in the spiritual realm as well.

When Christians no longer have an appetite for the "sincere milk of the word"; for true-to-the-Bible teaching and preaching, they, too, may be inclined to fault those who serve up such a menu. If the preaching of bygone years "tasted" better, it may be because it was received into the more tender and receptive hearts of active, healthy, and growing Christians. Here again, the problem is likely in the man, not the menu. And that points up an important correlation between attitude and appetite in spiritual things.

In the first place, everything depends on whether one sincerely wants to be righteous (right with God). Nothing more strongly affects how one thinks and acts than this. Hungering and thirsting after righteousness is one of the most vital signs of spiritual health. It is the willingness to do God's will in all things (Jn. 7:17). But, man has volition and that means his will can be changed — and when it does, the appetite changes too. When, therefore, pleasing God and doing right ceases to be important to a man, he will have little taste for that instruction "which is in righteousness" (2 Tim. 3:16). Or, to look at it from the other way, when one's appetite for spiritual food is lessened, so is his will to be righteous — and to practice righteousness. And, here is precisely the problem with so many of God's people today. But why?

What is it that robs men of such attitudes and appetites that promote righteousness? Is it Prejudice? Ignorance? Distractions? Indifference? Discouragement? Any or all of these may be contributing factors, but the real culprit is sin. When it overtakes the Christian, it is generally not by surprise, but by a slow and subtly gradual process. Sin changes. It alters the lifestyle, perverts values, impairs judgement and blinds to reality. It even modifies one's view of truth and right. Involvement in sin can eventually cause one to alter his standard of right and wrong. His own moral state easily becomes the measure of his moral convictions. It is sin that makes shipwreck of the faith. And we must not be deceived into thinking it is just the ugly and socially repugnant sins that so affect us. The willful practice of ANY sin produces like and detrimental effects. All sin erodes spiritual character; all of it alters right disposition and desire regarding truth.

When appetite and interest for spiritual things seems to wane, don't be too hasty to blame the cook or the menu. The problem may be within. Sin may be altering the perspective. Will we see it?