I’m just going to start this out with a warning – you might not like this topic! I surely did not like the idea of writing it though got into the swing of it once God started unveiling truths! But if you are easily offended by people (or God) raising the bar, defensive by nature (needing to explain why you do what you do) or don’t like “in your face” teachings, you might consider stopping now! I knew this one was going to get crazy truthful when God told me Christians needed to eat like cows!
As I began to pray and wait on the Lord, I was reminded of my first pregnancy. Soon before the birth of our son I was slightly concerned about exactly how this was going to go down! Okay, I was more than slightly concerned. I was filled with panic much of the time because even though we had taken birthing classes and I knew “technically” what was going to happen, the horror stories I heard about giving birth were foremost in my thought processes. I mean, what if we were out and about and couldn’t get to the hospital in time. My husband assured me all was well! As a teenager he worked on a farm and helped to birth many calves. If he could birth a calf, he could surely help me in giving birth to a child with or without a doctor present. Hmmm….. I did NOT appreciate being compared to a “cow” especially when I was fifty pounds heavier at that moment and very much felt like a “cow”. He assured me that was not what he meant but of course I didn’t “hear” his comforting words. So when Holy Spirit told me the body of Christ needed to eat like cows I naturally moved right into defensive mode instead of “hearing” His comforting words.
Once I began researching the eating habits of cows however, the comparisons to Christians came rather easily as Holy Spirit revealed truths. In fact there is so much to talk about we won’t have room in just one blog. Thus, I get to take my time meandering through the similarities so we can learn and apply spiritual truths from the eating habits and digestion of cows. Which is apropos when looking at how cows meander through their days eating and digesting!
First of all, cows eat like pigs! I mean they eat a lot! They consume anywhere from 45-90 pounds of food every day and drink between 25-50 gallons of water. That is a lot of consumption! Much of their daily intake is dependent on their weight and also on the moisture content in the forage (food) they are eating.
Not only do cows eat a lot but they spend a lot of time eating, averaging six and a half hours a day. And they take huge bites of food chewing very little before swallowing. In other words they just get it in! They aren’t worried about proper etiquette or anything. They just want the food!
When it comes to our relationship with the Word of God and drinking from the well of life, we likewise ought to eat and drink like pigs – I mean – cows – a lot and often! The first image that comes to mind is from Song of Solomon 2:4 “He brought me to the banquet hall, and His banner over me is love.” What a beautiful picture of feasting in His love! Can we even begin to imagine God’s banquet hall? (It’s a fun thing to do in your free time!) Beloved, His banner over you is love! This banner is not a “sign” hanging over the doorway to the hall. It is actually a large military standard inferring there is strength found in His love. We have opportunity to bask in His love daily as we get stronger in Him! We are invited to gorge ourselves in His love taking huge bites of His Word! Don’t worry about understanding it. (we’ll get to that in the next blog) Just get it in!
Some people have said the Bible is God’s love letter to us. Though it IS a love letter it is so much more as it exudes LOVE from beginning to end! Therefore soaking in it often every day softens us for the Spirit of God to mold us. Five minute devotions do not cut it folks! If He has brought you into His banquet hall, there is no need to leave hungry. Psalm 34:8 “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” Eating and drinking from the Word and from Jesus is true life as Christians. Luke 4:4 “But Jesus answered him, saying, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’” John 7:37 “….Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.”
We simply cannot exist and live the victorious life without Him! Because He is our life we cannot help but consume Him every day, all day! Cows eat on and off all day. We ought to do the same, not settling for a few minutes in the morning and evening, but taking in as much as possible during our active hours throughout the day. In other words, we must eat as much as possible when we are awake and busy with life because He IS our life! I love this section in Colossians which proves our life IS Christ! Colossians 3:1-4 “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”
If you remember I mentioned the amount of food intake is largely dependent on the size of the cow (pun intended) and on the moisture in the food. These are two important key points when it comes to Christians eating like cows. The larger we get in our faith walk in Jesus the more we need to eat from Him to maintain and grow larger. This is NOT about works righteousness or about being better than anyone else. This is about seeking God and His truths, His will, His presence, HIM!!!! The more we get of Him the more we want of Him and the more we want of Him the more we get of Him!
Our daily consumption increases the heavier we get in His Word and in His presence. If five minutes of bible reading fills us up today, keep doing it because pretty soon our bodies, minds, souls, and spirits are not satisfied with five minutes a day. We will need and want more! As we increase our time in Him, He increases in us and as He increases in us, we decrease in ourselves. It is a beautiful thing that happens! God gets bigger and we get smaller, yet our appetite increases and we need more!
And the more we saturate ourselves in God and His Word, the heavier we become because His Word drips with His presence and power! Then we are filled and satisfied with the heaviness of His glory! When this happens we stop looking at the clock when we open His Word, and an hour later we have only read and studied three verses but have gained so much insight into God we cannot contain it so call a friend and share the Word with them. Or we are worshipping in church when the worship team suddenly ends and we wonder how five minutes went so fast but in reality, thirty minutes of praise and worship has occurred but we barely noticed because we were so caught up with God. It went by too quickly and we beg for more. Less is More in this scenario! We simply can’t get enough of God! So -Let’s eat like cows – a lot and often! It is easy to do when we learn something else about cows!
They have a natural habit called “grazing” and if we will “Be like cows” in this way, it will position and create in us a desire to eat like cows (a lot and often). In agriculture, grazing is extremely important because as cows roam their fields eating the grass and other plants, the forage (food) they take in is converted into meat, milk, and other products. So if we want God and His Word to transform and renew us we must develop the art of grazing in Him! We want to be producers therefore we must roam in the field He has placed us, spend our time eating, and know our grazing results in transformation and renewal.
Where are our fields? First and foremost is the Word of God! It is a huge field. Graze often and eat heartily in the Bible Field. Combine that with the fields of worship, praise, prayer, and bible studies and we will be producers of the Gospel! We must fully partake and devote ourselves to a life of grazing in Jesus! In fact Romans 12:1-2 explains perfectly the depth of this grazing through our presentation of ourselves to Him, in service to Him, acceptable to Him, and living in Him! We must refuse to graze in the world (conformed to it) but graze in His renewing mind and be transformed by His will. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Our church field is the perfect place for renewing our minds! Every time we gather to praise and worship in church, our lives should look drastically different because we are changed in His presence. But in order for this transformation to occur we must choose to graze in His presence. I am always at church early because I get to sing with the praise team. But even if I didn’t get to lead the saints into the presence of our Holy God, I would still get to church early because I love to graze. Sometimes when we are finished with our pre-worship worship and prayer, I get to sit quietly and ponder the privilege of being in the house of God. But that “stillness” can be easily interrupted by people wanting to talk, children running, and all the other things that happen on a Sunday morning. It isn’t that these things are necessarily wrong, but if we never get to the part of “grazing” we will likely miss the presence of God.
Sometimes I simply sit and observe all that is going on around me at church. Kids are running and screaming (I’m certain they are excited to be in the house of God). People are scurrying everywhere, drinking coffee, hugging, “catching up” on their weeks. Some people are sharing their woes, how sick they have been, while others try to encourage them through prayer. It is a body of people alive with activity. Wonderful to watch and partake! But once the worship starts and the Word is preached one would expect people to enter into the spirit of worship with the same excitement and enthusiasm they were showing with each other. But that is rarely the case as often our likes and dislikes play heavily on whether we will even show up for worship or once there, if we will stay in worship. I see people walk in and out of church so often it sometimes seems like there must be a revolving door in the back. People taking potty or smoking breaks, people chatting out in foyers while the pastor brings the Word, kids determining whether their parents will take part or not (through their misbehavior). No matter what church I have attended many people refuse to enter into the spirit of worship by following the lead of the pastor or worship team.
Oh, I know. People can worship in their heads! I always wonder what would happen if we were to try to eat a meal just in our head. Or play a game of monopoly just in our head. Or have a picnic with family and friends just in our head. I’m not sure why we think we can or should only worship God in our head or hearts and not expressed in our body language. But, nonetheless, it is and people will rarely move beyond where they are comfortable. Which then gets me wondering what Peter would have discovered about himself had he not gotten out of the boat (not much); or Abraham if he wouldn’t have left everything to go to a land he didn’t know (not much); or Moses as he led the people out of Egypt (not much); or the Israelites who totally moved out of their comfort zone(they didn’t learn). I don’t know – Comfort zones seem more like prisons to me than places of security.
The point being we should not do what is “comfortable” to us but what is Godly. There is a reason we have leaders. Follow them! When they lead you to green pastures, graze! We should stop being in a hurry to get out or avoid worship and the Word. If it isn’t our “style” we should try it on anyway. We might be surprised! Developing the art of grazing will create more desire to bask in His presence, bask in His Word, bask in Him! We have the privilege of knowing God – our Savior, Redeemer, Healer, King! He is everything! It is always a sacred and holy time when we meet with the Lord of our lives whether in public assemblies or in our prayer closets! We ought to discover the art of “grazing” in the Church! Sure, we can use the excuse we are not cows and we have work to do. But we best get serious about our faith and eat the Word now before we can’t. Yes, that time may come in the world where it is not as readily available. Will we know how to graze in Him when the world has nothing left to offer us?
Our “big” bites of food consist of sermons, bible studies, books, conferences, worship and praying the Word, and the like. We need to “get these in” our spirits, like cows get food into their first stomach and then comes the next amazing act of eating – re- chewing it! Tune in to the next blog to see exactly how we get to chew on His Word like cows chew their cud!