Many people around me have recently embarked upon new, healthy eating plans. A lot of these plans seem to fail unless there is additional accountability, whether through a friend, spouse, or organization. I've even told my husband that I have a hard time sticking to a diet unless I have a specific plan and someone to chart my progress.
Although I consider myself a healthy eater, I have periods where I forget to eat altogether. Other times I'll just grab whatever I see in front of me at work simply because it's free! Even worse, I'll eat an entire meal standing in the kitchen talking on the phone without even recognizing what I'm pouring into my body. Just before we started our family, I considered how I would change my diet if I became pregnant. In that moment, I heard the Holy Spirit say, "Why wait? I'm already living inside of you!"
Why is it that we can care enough to change when someone else is depending on us, yet our own well-being doesn't seem to be a strong enough reason to necessitate healthy habits? We are precious children of God! If we believe that the Holy Spirit truly dwells within us, then we are feeding more than ourselves, both physically and spiritually.
Don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? (1 Corinthians 6:19a)
I think it's safe to say that we all know how we should live and what we should eat; however, doing it is another story. In order to shift the focus in any area of our lives, we must first humble ourselves. If you're not willing to change for yourself, then consider the Holy Spirit who dwells within you and the healthy impact He craves to make in your life. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. (Deuteronomy 8:3)
The area of nutrition is only one area in life where many of us struggle. Safeguarding time for devotions is also a constant struggle in today's fast paced world. Though nutrition and spiritual disciplines may seem like two separate entities, I would argue that they are intrinsically related.
While I was pregnant, I desperately tried to keep a consistent morning routine. I knew that those foundations had to be set in place well before my baby arrived if I had any hopes of it continuing after the birth. Typically, that meant my morning devotions consisted of a prayer walk where I would recite my memory verses, and then a quiet time back home where I would read a passage from my Two Year Bible in the New Living Translation.
On paper, there seems to be nothing wrong with that combination. However, my Greek/Hebrew Key Word Study Bible remained untouched in my nightstand for longer than I care to admit. I used to pour through the derivations of each word I questioned and cross-reference scripture without concern of what time the clock read. As much as I appreciated the daily reading from a more modern translation, I realized that it wasn't nourishing me the way I needed to be fed.
Most of us don't have the time to pour ourselves into God's word for hours on end. Even if we did, that might not be the universal activity that everyone needs to be filled by the Holy Spirit. However, each of us ought to know exactly what we do need to be nourished spiritually and just how much of that spiritual food we need in order to 'get full'!
Think of it this way: once a baby transitions to solid food, it becomes very difficult to entice that same child with a bottle or pureed vegetables. Once the body and mind discover the variety that exists, coupled with the array of nutrients from the newly found foods, baby food simply doesn't satisfy anymore. Sure, it may continue to fulfill the basic needs of the body, but it won't stimulate growth in the same way.
I have learned to look at my devotion schedule in much the same way. While a routine may be satisfactory and contain all the necessary components, it may not be one that encourages growth in both faith and knowledge of God. Items like the Two Year Bible are great tools to encourage consistency in reading the Word of God, but I have learned it is not enough on its own to mature me into the woman Christ desires for me to be. Each of us have different spiritual tanks, and we need to discern the best type of fuel to fill them up with and never settle for less!
By studying God's Word, we nourish our spiritual appetite by learning the language through which we hear the Spirit. It's time to wean yourself off of the baby food and pull up a seat once again at the adult table.
Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:13-14)
Copyright © Samara J. Cone
Samara J. Cone has been writing daily devotions over the past four years. She is the Director of Cultural Arts for Northwood University, as well as an adjunct faculty member. Samara currently resides in Jupiter, FL with her husband, Rick, and daughter, Kariss.
(The article is available to general media, publications and webmasters under condition that the author's name and the link to www.paulmurphybooks.com will be provided under the article.)
* All scriptures from New International Version of Bible