Written by: Laura Chambers (October 2, 2017)
Illusionist Brock Gill wants to encourage us to nurture our souls with good spiritual food, assuring us that we will strengthen our walk with God if we do. To do otherwise is to strengthen our fleshly sinful nature, no matter our good intentions. Gill’s book, Feed The Dog, offers seven spiritual disciplines (worship, Scripture reading, prayer, solitude, fasting, ministry, and community) we can begin with that will help us get started on the road to Christ-likeness. Each section is accompanied by Scripture verses and discussion questions that can be used to jumpstart group discussions, and there’s also teaching videos which accompany the chapters, showcasing some of Gill’s illusions to illustrate his points. It’s written with teenagers in mind, but it could apply to anyone wanting to grow in their relationship with Jesus.
Gill begins by demonstrating the difference between the Spirit and the flesh, and how feeding the latter rather than the former can leave you hungry, thirsty, and unsatisfied. He shares with us how worship goes beyond what usually comes to mind - music - and that if we cannot fully worship Him, this may be indicative of a more serious spiritual problem. He then recommends that we take the time to drench ourselves in the word of God in order to arm ourselves against spiritual attacks, derive wisdom for the challenges ahead, and obey His commands. Gill next reminds us of the power of prayer by defining what it is and is not intended to accomplish, as well as showing us how to pray and what to ask for.
Next, the book introduces us to the idea of spending quiet time alone in the presence of God, in order to listen to Him whisper to our hearts. He recommends fasting as a way to grow closer to God by reaching for Him when physical hunger sets in, rather than eating, in order to focus more fully on what the Lord is saying. (The author does give the caveat that those with medical issues ought to consult a doctor before doing so.) We are also encouraged to minister to others and create disciples for the kingdom by using our spiritual gifts as vehicles for bringing the Gospel to those we serve. Lastly, we must find a way to band together as believers and support each other in our struggles and triumphs alike.
In one particular passage, Gill describes a friend of his whose demeanor changes after watching television, emulating the show or film’s characters. (I’ve done that before many times) He uses it as an illustration of how our thoughts can be shaped by what we consume. Throughout the book, I found myself thinking about my own failure to practice these disciplines, recognizing my need to do better. Feed The Dog begs at our table like the titular canine, magnifying our need to spend time with the Lord, growing in His grace and wisdom.