A Balanced Spiritual Diet
Grace and peace! I pray that this message finds you all leaning on the Lord and confident of His steadfast love for you. I haven’t written anything in a couple of months and I’ve missed y’all!
With the summer being 1/2 over, with vaccinations steadily rising and Covid cases steadily declining (praise God!), we are coming out of this pandemic and things are pretty much opened up again. It’s been a year friends! Although we all have our own things to learn and observations to make, one thing that many of us have in common, post-pandemic, is that we done picked up a few pounds! Ha! So we’re fighting to get our energy and stamina back; trying to improve our overall physical condition. And we should be mindful and attentive to that. As 3 John 2 says “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” But with the spiritual being infinitely more important than the physical — for the physical is temporal and the spiritual is eternal — I ask how your spiritual condition is? Christian, did you come out of this thing blazing for Jesus or lukewarm? Just overall, how is the inner-man doing? Are you joyful in your trials? How is your endurance? Are you running well? Are you grateful for His provision, and therefore, giving generously?
As with the physical, our spiritual condition is contingent on getting all the essential nutrients we need to grow strong in the Lord and to mature. In fact, our physical health can be directly affected by our spiritual condition. Too many of God’s people are weak, defeated, unfulfilled, unfruitful, despondent and unable to bear witness because they are spiritually malnourished. Hebrews 5:12 says: “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food.” And on the other hand, many of those who profess to know Jesus are so pre-occupied and dangerously distracted with the world’s idea of fun and entertainment. If this is you, I want you to know that the enemy would love to pleasure you to spiritual death.
The Christian walk is not a “one-size-fits-all”, but there are some spiritual disciplines that we should all practice. I’m going to share my simple recipe for a BALANCED SPIRITUAL DIET….feel free to season to taste 🙂
START WITH GOD’S WORD: 1 Peter 2:2 says: As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow up into your salvation. No matter what stage we are in our Christian life, we must feed on God’s word in order to continue to grow and be healthy. As a baby starts on milk, so a babe in Christ will start with a fire in their spirit, but a limited understanding of God’s word and the things of God. Just as we transition our precious child from milk, to bread, to solid food, we must commit to reading, studying and being taught God’s word so that we can also go to the next stage in our spiritual development. The Word of God is our meat…our spiritual protein…and we need to be sure we are being taught properly. The single most important thing about a church service is the Sermon, and the most important part of the sermon is the scripture. If you are in the process of looking for a church to join, above all else, you want to focus on what is being fed to the sheep. I know somebody is saying “so how will I know if I’m actually being properly fed?” For starters, is the preacher preaching God’s word from the bible? If the word, which is sharper than any double-edged sword, is being proclaimed, some Sunday’s you will leave the building cut! If you leave Sunday after Sunday after Sunday on an emotional high but never leave saying “I am missing the mark!” If the sermon never convicts you or challenges you to make some changes, then my friend, you are eating spiritual fast food which holds no nutritional value and you need to change your diet.
ADD PRAYER: Romans 12:12 tells us to “Rejoice in hope, be patient in affliction, be persistent in prayer.“ Prayer is absolutely essential to a balanced spiritual life. In fact, without it, there is no spiritual life. Prayer is the primary way that we establish a relationship with the Lord…it is our communication with Him. Imagine a relationship where you never talk to each other…? Exactly! Our prayers are not only when we thank Him, adore Him and exalt Him, but it is our time to confess our sins and humble our hearts before Him so that He can occupy a clean vessel; it’s our time to get to know Him on an intimate level. We can know God’s word and have it in our minds, but without the “communion” there will be no real relationship. I think this is just one reason why so many of God’s people make terrible decision after terrible decision or have no idea what they are supposed to be doing. It’s the relationship that helps us to hear and discern what God is telling us to do or not do! We need to know if He is saying “go” “stop” “wait” “turn around”. We are to pray without ceasing, which means our hearts and minds are inclined to the Lord as we live and work and serve and enjoy our blessings. Prayer fuels our spiritual navigation system!
MIX IN SERVICE: Mark 10:45 says: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Because Jesus came to serve, His followers must have servant’s hearts. Without serving alongside others, your spiritual growth will be stunted. However, when serve, we experience spiritual growth spurts. Although God sometimes gives us isolated assignments, more often than not, our service to the Lord involves other people…and that affords God many opportunities to perfect so many things in us. It is in our service that we get stretched and pruned in the areas of humility and compassion, two of the Lord’s most beautiful attributes and what should be two marks of the Christian. After all folks, our goal is to be more like Jesus! Anybody in favor of being more like Jesus? The maturation process for a follower of Christ must include serving God, His people and those whom He wants to draw to Himself. Service also creates amazing witness opportunities, and as His representative, we want to preach Christ and image Christ to everyone that God allows to cross our path. 2 Corinthians 5:20 says “We are therefore Christ’s Ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us!” Wow!
ENJOY THE FRUIT! John 15:8 says: “My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples.” After all is said and done, a fruitful life brings joy to us and glory to God! Loved ones, we want our lives to bear the fruits of the spirit — love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) — but John says that we are to bear “much” fruit, so all will know that we are Christ’s disciples. Which means that we should be living in a way that influences those around us. As a result of watching us, somebody on our job now wants to read the bible or go to church with you; somebody watched you trust God instead of signing divorce papers and now they’re believing that their difficult marriage can be restored too; somebody watched you be steadfast despite attacks and all kinds of challenges and now they are encouraged to stand firm; your family sees first-hand the transforming work of the Lord in your life and the gospel has become real to them! This is MUCH fruit!
We are all in different stages of our spiritual life, but we are all pressing toward the same mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14). I know that some of you go to church, study your word and are serving, but you haven’t established intimacy with the Lord through a disciplined prayer life so trusting Him in difficult situations is hard for you, and consequently, you come unraveled when a trial hits your life. Or, perhaps you pray and read your word, but you haven’t humbled yourself by getting down in the trenches with your fellow Christian soldiers and serving. Or, you go to church, serve and pray, but you don’t study God’s word so you’re ignorant of the ways of God, and consequently, incapable of operating in his will…for his word is where his will is found.
Beloved, spiritual imbalance can cause your life to be dry, unfulfilled, unfruitful, lacking joy and peace and ultimately not bring glory to God. I’m praying that this message will cause you/me to begin to develop a more robust spiritual life. Maybe it’s depth you lack and it’s time for you to stop settling for the “low-hanging fruit” and step it up a notch. We want to go from one degree of glory to the next. As I write this message, and as you read it, our adversary the devil is not happy and is going to try and steal and distract. But we are not ignorant of his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11), so we resist and continue to stay focused and press.
My friends, let us be intentional about feasting on the word of God! Let us strengthen our spiritual muscle by studying our bibles, embracing our trials while praying constantly, serving along other believers in humility — and the joy, freedom and goodness that the Lord has reserved for His people can be ours to enjoy in abundance!
In Him is all,