Jim Burns Homeword Daily Devotional for Parenting and Christian Family

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Empty Calories - HomeWord - September 5, 2017

Empty Calories
This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden

Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. —Hebrews 5:13-14

As I get older and my metabolism slows, I am starting to pay a little more attention to what is known as “empty calories.”  Empty calories are foods that offer little to no nutritional value. While I try to make arguments about the dairy found in ice cream or the protein found in the nuts of a Snickers bar, the most part of those foods offer nothing of nutritional value for the healthy maintenance of my body (although, I must say, at times, I do think they help my mental state!)

Empty calories leave us feeling full, but eventually they turn to fat and can lead to depriving ourselves of the minerals we truly need. At times, I am guilty of this even in my spiritual life. I go through the motions, skim off the top of a sermon, pray only when I need something, or simply sit and wait to be fed instead of seeking truth, digesting sermons, small group interaction, and spending quiet times with God in order to listen and grow in a healthy way.

Today’s passage from Hebrews was written to Jewish Christians who were considered immature believers because they did not “eat the proper food” to help them grow spiritually. Like children, they continued to rely on milk far past the time when they should have moved on to solid and more nutritious substances. Instead of applying the Scripture to their lives, learning discernment between right and wrong and beginning to teach others, they waited for someone to do it for them.

Part of growing as a Christian is reaching a point where you take responsibility for pursuing disciplines that lead to spiritual growth. It is not the church’s responsibility, nor another Christian’s, nor even a parent’s. You have to start taking steps to feed yourself instead of relying on others. And when you do, be careful not to consume the empty calories of things you already know. Instead, dig deeper, seek answers, teach others, and train yourself to distinguish good from evil. In this way, you will grow towards a deeper and more fulfilling walk with Christ.


1. What kind of spiritual food are you eating?  Evaluate whether or not you should be moving on to more “solid food.”

2. What steps can you take to keep yourself from only consuming “spiritual milk”?


1 Corinthians 3:2; Philippians 3:14-15; Ephesians 4:11-13

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