Wait, what? Did you just say the Battle of Broccoli? I know what you are thinking – Is there a biblical reference for that? Well no there is not, yet the heart behind this battle is most definitely found in the Word of God.

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”

In Ephesians 6:12, the apostle Paul reminds us that Christianity is not a playground, rather Christianity is a battleground. There are many battles that we can be fighting – the battle of belief, the battle of belonging or even the battle of broccoli.

As a dad of 6 children I know all too well the Battle of Broccoli, and I am sure I am not the only parent who has had challenges getting their kids to eat this green, leafy vegetable. In fact, I think if you ask almost any kid if they want broccoli they will tell you with much enthusiasm that they would rather do household chores or their homework than eat broccoli.

Broccoli has long been touted as one of the healthiest veggies because of its nutritional makeup. This superfood is loaded with fiber, antioxidants to fight cancer, and vitamin C to aid in iron absorption. It is also a great source of calcium to help control blood pressure and build strong bones. Yet even when you tell kids how good broccoli is for them, they still don’t want to eat it. So what does that have to do with our spiritual growth.

Like broccoli, often what is good for us to grow as followers of Christ does not feel good for us – we don’t like the taste, we don’t like the smell, we don’t like how it makes us feel. As such we can often cry out to the Lord and say something like “I don’t want that God, give me something that tastes or feels good.”

Many parents will understand this battle. When I was a kid I didn’t like being corrected by my parents, no kids do in the moment. I know that my children don’t like it when my wife or myself have to correct them. Yet as I look back on my childhood I can see how that correction from my parents helped to shape and mould me to become the man and father that I am today. The correction didn’t feel good at the time, yet over the years I have realized it was really good for me.

The bible says it like this in Romans 5:3-5 – We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”

No one loves problems and trials, at least no one I know. People don’t tend to put their hand up and ask God for more problems and challenges and trials. Some people even see Him more like a cosmic vending machine, like he has to give us what we want and when we want it.

Yet problems and obstacles and unanswered prayers and all other types of “spiritual broccoli” are good for us, because they develop our character and help us to grow as followers of Christ.

The battle of broccoli is about seeing beyond the here and now and knowing that there is purpose in everything we go through, both good and bad. There is no waste in the Kingdom of God and as such He uses all things for good. And yes kids, that even includes broccoli.

Written by Wayne Hindson, ‘The Big Breakfast’ Show Host