Saturday, December 6, 2008

Pie Melon Spirituality

When I was a child, my Grandad grew a kind of melon he called a Pie Melon. It looked like a large watermelon, but the skin was much tougher. The flesh was white and had almost no flavor of its own. He planted them closer to the road than his watermelons, and one day a bunch of guys stopped and stole several melons.

Several weeks later, a man asked what kind of melons those by the road were. Since they looked like regular melons, only the thieves could know that they were not. Confronted, he admitted to having heled steal the melons, and said they had had a difficult time breaking the melon open, then were shocked to realize it didn't taste very good.

Fruit was scarce in the area, and pie melons were used to extend fruit in pies. Its texture and lack of flavor made it a very good filler. chopped in apple slice sized pieced, and baked in an apple pie, it would absorb the spices and apple flavor, and taste almost like an apple.

Chopping it more finely, and mixed with pineapple, it tasted almost like piuneapple and could be used to extend pineapple in pies or cakes. Boiled a little before being mixed with peaches, it would make a fair extender for peaches. It could also be used for making pickles.

While the taste was only slightly different thatn that of the fruit it replaced. the food value was very different. In fact, almost all the value came from the fruit and spices just as the taste did.

People who had never had a genuine apple pie would accept the pie melon as actual apples, and never realize it was a fake. The same is true of people who have never experienced or seen genuine spirituallity. Several years ago, on the tv program "Survivor", the show was set in Africa. A woman on the show made the statement thet just being there was such a Spiritual experience. Like many others, she had been decieved into believing that intense emotional experiences are spiritual.

In the same way, I have heard religious leaders advise people to go to Israel because it would benefit them so much Spiritually. This is exactly why many religions believe a pilgrimage to some holy site is neccessary. II Timothy 2:15 Makes it clear that simply studying the scripture is sufficient.

Such incorrect beliefs cause people to accept many things that, according to the scriptures, are in fact evidence of unspirituallity, and in some cases, even Satanic. The following are some examples Paul mentions in the book of I Corinthians. Unlike mistaking pie melon for apples, the consequences are severe for mistaking unspirituality for spirituality.

It is not uncommon for those who have been trained by one program or person to believe they ar esuperior to those who have not gone therough the same program, or been taught by the same teacher, reulting in conflicts in the church. I Corinthians 1:10-12 describes this very situation, instructing us not to get involved. I Corinthians 3:3 tells us that divisions between Christians are evidence of a carnal condition.

I Corinthians 5:1-2 teaches us that ignoring overt sin is not spiritual, but rather proves a prideful attitude. Many believe that toleration of such sin is evidence of spiritual maturity. Dealing with it in any way other than as the Bible instructs is also evidence of an unspiritual attitude.

I Corinthians 11: 1-15 discusses the subject of a man wearing long hair, or a woman wearing short hair. This issue became a standard that many used as indicating a spiritual or un spiritual condition. Verse 16 says " but if any man be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God. The verse makes it clear that the Apostles did not demand such a standard, nor do God's churches. Those who hold such standards are not under God's control. Paul goes on to condemn the church for their stance in verse 17.

Many believe that speaking in tongues is evidence of spirituallity. Paul gives guidelines for speaking in tongues in the church in ! Corinthians 14:26-28. Everything done in the Church is to be for the purpose of building up others. Thus, no more than 2 or 3 are to speak in tongues during a single service. They are to speak one at a time, and if no interpreter is available, they are not to speak at all. I Corinthians 14:37 tells us that a spiritual person will recognize these commands as coming from God. One who does not is ignorant of spiritual matters.

Mistaking these or other imitations for spirituality exposes the church, and the individual to serious risks. "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: ..." (John 6:63). Without the spirit, there is no life, no power. Defeat is inevitable.

This is probably the primary reason the church has such a small impact in today's world. Learn to identify true spirituality. Jesus tells us "by their fruit ye shall know them." Galatians 5:22-23 describes the fruit of the spirit. "But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." The Spirit will produce all of these if he is in control.

The passages dealing with qualifications for bishops in I Timothy 3:1-9 and Titus 1:5-9 are written to help the church determine who are spiritual men and who are not. It is critical, if the church is to please God, that leaders be spiritual. It is impossible to teach othere what one does not know himself.

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