What’s on your plate?

wordswag_1489749291097A few weeks ago my physician advised me to make some adjustments in my diet to address some potential issues with my health. Her advice? Less salt, less saturated fat, more fruit, and fewer calories overall! This was not a new idea to me but her words got my attention- “Jerry, unless you take steps to change your lifestyle now, your risk of having a heart attack will increase with each passing year.”  While I am well aware that life does not go on forever, I would like to enjoy the best health possible until that day when I join my lovely in Heaven. I have made some changes, some a little more challenging than others. Most important, I am paying attention to what is on my plate.

How do you feed your soul, friend?
Are you living on ‘junk food’ and empty calories?

At lunch time it is so convenient for me to just stop and grab a couple of slices of pizza and wash it down with a bottle of soda. Occasionally, that won’t hurt me but a daily diet of the salty, fatty, sugary stuff in that lunch will affect my health.

In our lives, crammed with activities, we may be tempted to offer up hurried ‘bless me, Lord’ prayers, to replace time in the Scripture with a little inspiration off of the internet or from the “Daily Bread,” to pass on getting to church to worship and hear the Word replacing it with a few minutes with a TV pastor on Sunday morning. We may choose to read only those authors that fit neatly into our worldview, dismissing those who make us think too hard as unnecessary.  Those choices will make us ‘heart sick’ as surely as a daily diet of pizza and burgers will make us sickly in body!

Spiritual health does not require some weird lifestyle, monastic deprivation, or travel to spend time with an advisor.  The choices are basic and need to made every day.

What are they?

  • Spend time in thoughtful prayer.Slow down long enough to listen for God’s voice.  If you spend 15 minutes a day in focused prayer, it will make an amazing difference.
  • Pick up your Bible and read something other than a Psalm or a few words from a favorite passage. Pick a book in the Scripture and read through it, one passage at a time. Study it, asking God to speak to you.
  • Replace some of your ‘TV time’ with good books that contain some solid soul food.  (a couple of suggestions – Celebration of Discipline, Foster; Prodigal God, Keller; Not A Fan, Idleman)
  • Practice ‘discipling.’  Make choices for self-discipline, for self-control, to become aware of what’s going on inside of you. Engage with other Christians, even with some that are not like you. Learn, listen, grow.

The Word speaks to the need to grow spiritually.  “You need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.” (Hebrews 5:12-14, NLT)

Here is a word from the Word. “For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. … So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.” (1 Peter 1:23, 2:1-3, NLT)

 Lord, help us to choose spiritual health, for Christ’s sake. Amen.

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