A Fig Newton Christian – it’s what Jesus wants

Ooey, gooey, rich and chewy inside
Rich and golden, tender, flaky outside
Put the inside in the outside
Is it good?
Darn tootin’
It’s the big, fig newton.

fig newtonsIf you remember the commercial and the tune, there is a good chance that song will stay with you. If you keep reading, the song maybe become a reminder of life as a follower of Jesus. That remains to be seen.

Here’s the point – the outside of the Fig Newton is good, but it’s main purpose is not simply to be good. It’s main purpose is to hold the deliciousness of the fig filling so that you have a way to eat that sweet gooeyness. It’s the inside that matters the most, but if the outside isn’t up to decent standards, then the inside won’t really matter.

So it is in life. We spend a lot of time working on the outside wrapper of life. We find ways to excel at our jobs. We get our kids involved in activities where they can succeed. We spend time working on our skills and taking our children to special mentoring and coaching events to help them get better. And none of that is a bad thing.

But if the outside of the Fig Newton is really good and the inside isn’t really given as much thought, then the cookie just won’t be good. The same is true in life. Unless we find ways to connect our Spirit to the one who can make our life sweet and flavorful, then life will never be what we hope for. If we tend only to the outside things of life and not the inner spiritual things of life, then we’ll miss out.

Jesus saw religious people of his day spending more time worried about their outward appearance – they made sure everything they did was seen by others as righteous and good. They gave to their church, they went to worship, they took part in daily prayers. Jesus said they were spending too much time washing the outside of the cup and not paying attention to the inside. If Fig Newtons had been around back then, I’m thinking Jesus would have used that as his example. But that may be just me.

These days people in our churches aren’t as focused on religious practices (i.e., prayer, worship, reading and study of the Bible, service to others, etc.) as they are on cultural practices of activity overload. People are caught up in being involved in many things – caught up in the outside wrappings of life. Church attendance is dropping all around our country. The inner life, the spiritual connection with God, is less important these days. There is more value placed on having an activity that pleases me and my family than on time spent pleasing God and enjoying the blessing of God.

I get that. I still struggle with it myself. But really, the Fig Newton is really about the fig. Don’t let the Newton part get all the attention.

Holy high-five to you,
Mike

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