A month or so ago I reached my target weight loss of 2.5 stones (35 lb). In order to achieve this I changed my daily diet. I ate less of some foods and more of others. I frequently had to say “No” to foods offered to me at social occasions. Each week at our church breakfast I would look longingly at the cinnamon whirls and know that they were not for me if I was ever to keep losing weight. Now that I have reached my target I still need to make choices in order to maintain what I have achieved.
It was for health reasons that I decided to tackle my weight. I did not want to jeopardise my health by constantly being overweight. For me it meant joining a weight loss group because I know that I do best with the accountability this brings.Even after reaching my target weight I am still going to the group because it helps me to stay on track.
This week I was in a meeting where we were asked “Where are you getting fed?”. This started me thinking about my attitude to my spiritual diet. Am I giving it the same attention as my physical diet? Our spiritual health is more important than our physical health but do we give it the same attention? If we are physically sick we normally go to the doctor but if our spiritual health isn’t so good what do we do?
Often I think, we ignore our spiritual diet or put off doing something about it until we have more time. Adopting a better physical diet is all about making good choices every day and saying “No” to things that will hinder our progress; the same is true of our spiritual diet if we put this off we don’t make any change at all.
Food and water are the essential elements of a diet. It’s just the same in the spiritual realm, we need the food of the word of God and the water of the Holy Spirit everyday. I know that for many of us time is a key issue. We feel we don’t have enough time or we can’t find the right time and we settle for something that is hit and miss, or have a feast every once in a while.
Perhaps this is because we don’t have a target or goal in mind so there is no sense of aiming for something.
Recently I read Gretchen Rubin’s book Better Than Before about creating good habits and breaking bad habits. One of the so-called manifesto statements of the book is “What we do everyday matters more than what we do once in a while”
You see what we do everyday dictates the course and quality of our life. If I choose to eat doughnuts every day and salad once a quarter, which is going to affect my health more?
Spiritually there are things I need to eat more of, things I need to eat less of and things to say NO to if I am to have a good diet.The most important change that I can make is to feed on God’s word everyday. Of course grace means that I am not obliged to do this but grace also means that I am free to make good choices for my life.
There is so much to be gained from reading God’s word; it strengthens us, renews us and transforms us but so much more than that we get to know God our Father and to fellowship with Him in it. As we read His word and talk to him about it we develop our relationship with Him. We begin to understand His ways, who He is and what He is like. It feeds us and we grow in our faith (faith comes by hearing the word of God Rom.10:17)
We cannot survive without water. In the Bible water is a symbol for the Holy Spirit. We need to be filled with Holy Spirit every day. “Be filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18)” is a command – there is action to take – it is not automatic. I ask the Holy Spirit to fill me everyday because I need to receive life-giving water from Him. In the Old Testament there are many pictures of deserts becoming places of life, or blossoming like roses. That is a picture of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives, as we receive His life-giving water we flourish, our dry and thirsty souls are replenished and we bear fruit.
Then there are things I need to eat less of – things that are not good for me. What are those things for you? Is it too much TV, social media, video games, Netflix, crime novels, etc.These things aren’t bad in and of themselves but just like cream cakes they don’t make for a good diet. If the things that I do everyday are significant then I don’t want to fill my time with these.
Finally there are things that I need to say “NO” to. There are things that hinder my progress and I need to choose to say No to them. What do I do rather than read my Bible? What is that thing that entices me away and distracts me? For me this can be something completely innocuous, just something that I feel I have to do first, and then there is something else and so on …. The answer is to say “No” and do it later.
One of the results of losing weight is that I feel so much better about myself. I knew I should have been doing something about it and I just couldn’t, but once I took control of myself and began to feel the benefit I began to positively enjoy my new regime. We can feel that we are failing or not good enough if we are not enjoying spending time in God’s word. We know we should but somehow we just never get around it. Once we begin to make changes, however, we begin to enjoy the benefits. We begin to look forward to our times in the word and in God’s presence. There is absolutely nothing like spending time with our Father.
Let me encourage you to make it your goal to feed on the word of God and to fellowship with the Holy Spirit everyday.
Do you have a good diet?
Cakes & doughnuts Unsplash
Desert flowers Pixabay