Microwave faith

You can’t microwave a strong faith.

You can microwave a Hungry-Man dinner, reheat a cold cup of coffee, or nuke a trio of breakfast sausage patties (trust me, I do this often). But you can’t microwave a peace-giving, joy-providing, temptation-resisting faith.

I want you to know that so the resources we produce at Time of Grace actually bless you. Like this blog and the others on our app and website. Or the Grace Talks videos that many of you watch on YouTube. Or the Grace Moments devotions that show up in your inbox/mailbox. These resources are intentionally short and sweet—250 words per devotion, 650 per blog, 5 minutes per video. You could watch/read everything we produce each week in less time than it takes to watch a single episode of The Walking Dead.

But please, please, please remember that you can’t pop any of those resources into the multitasking microwave and end up with a steaming strong faith.

Yesterday, I shared this passage with the Time of Grace staff: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). I asked them to discuss how, in their experience, “growing in knowledge” actually happens. When did they actually increase their knowledge of the Word or their appreciation of grace?

Their answers all had this in common—Slow down.

Apparently, spiritual growth happens in a Crock-Pot, not a microwave.

Years ago, a professor of mine shared an insight that still sticks in my mind. His words went something like this—“Do you know what every Bible study, devotional guide, and spiritual growth plan has in common? They all are trying to get you to just slow down.”

So true.

The challenge of spiritual growth in the modern world is a multitasking mentality. We live stream the church service while doing the dishes. Or put on some worship music in the background as we fold the laundry. Or play a few podcasts while we shave and drive to work.

I do this on a daily basis. And it’s not wrong. In fact, there are sudden insights and moving moments of worship in the car. But I have to admit that I’m rarely challenged and changed when the Word is the white noise in the background of my day’s to-do list.

What does work, however, is when I slow down, close the door, put the phone on “do not disturb,” and dialogue with my God. When I hear his voice as I read the Word and then pray back to him my “I’m sorrys” and “Thank yous” and “Amens!” I have a feeling this is so challenging because the enemy knows how beneficial it can be.

This is what the psalmist was after when he wrote, “Blessed is the one . . . whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night” (Psalm 1:1,2).

Who is blessed? The one who meditates. The one who is mindful of the Word. The one who slows down and lets it simmer.

In Hebrew, the word we translate “meditate” is hagah. It literally means “to make a low, growling sound” and is used of lions as they savor their recently captured prey.

Think of a happy dog gnawing on a bone in the corner of the living room, and you get the idea.

So, my encouragement for you today is to chew on God’s truth. Budget an extra few minutes for that devotion. Interrogate it with a few questions. Dialogue with a friend over a single passage. Think until you are able to explain it. Ponder until you are able to apply it. Fix your eyes on Jesus until you see his love with 20/20 vision.

God would love to strengthen your faith today. Nothing would make him happier than to bless you as you meditate on the grace of your Savior.

Happy hagah-ing!

Pastor Mike Novotny has served God’s people in full-time ministry since 2007 in Madison and, most recently, at The CORE in Appleton, Wisconsin. He will also serve as the new lead speaker for Time of Grace after April 2019, where he will share the good news about Jesus through television, print, and online platforms. Mike loves seeing people grasp the depth of God’s amazing grace and unstoppable mercy. His wife continues to love him (despite plenty of reasons not to), and his two daughters open his eyes to the love of God for every Christian. When not talking about Jesus or dating his wife/girls, Mike loves playing soccer, running, and reading.

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