How can we flood our lives with spiritual nutrition?
To illustrate, after a bout with physical sickness, like the flu, my immune system is run down. My physical protocol consists of extra rest, pound water, eat well, extra vitamin supplements…and lots of rest. I focus on what is most healthy because my body is depleted after fighting a virus. This focus towards physical health also brings my focus away from what undermines health. The amaz’n way God designed our brains is that whatever we focus our minds on grooves more deeply. “We become more like whatever we behold.”
Here’s another analogy.
To get into shape, most trainers will begin with our core muscles. Every top athlete knows that her or his base is essential, whether a tennis player or pitcher, quarterback or basketball player. We want to focus on establishing a strong base or core.
Since the physical often mirrors the spiritual, this is also crucial for spiritually. When we “put off” something that disrupts the normal focus of our spiritual life, we must quickly “put on” Christ and what is true and good. Nature abhors a vacuum. Something rushes in to fill any vacuum. The Spirit of God uses these choices to “renew our minds” (Ephesians 4:22-24). However, if we don’t refill the house after we have cleaned out the garbage, we unintentionally grant the dark forces of evil permission to return, even seven times stronger. Take Jesus’ words to heart (Luke 11:24-26 with the context in 11:14-23).
“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26 Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first” (Jesus in Luke 11:24-26, context 14
“Put on” by flooding your inner life with spiritual nutrition as an immediate event to fill the empty place where we “put off.” Then soak in spiritual nutrition as a daily focus and practice.
Especially after any intense spiritual battle, I give myself permission to rest in the Father, Son and Spirit…and even take a physical nap! Resting in His provision, even when I’m actively working, activates spiritual nutrition. I learned some time ago that God does not love me because I perform…although my forgetter also still kicks in! In the process of change, ask the three following questions.
Where am I now on my journey?
Where would I like to be?
How can I get there?
Over the years, I have gathered key passages that release life in me. I call these my spiritual nutrition rich “deep wells” of spiritual refreshment. I soak in these passages and ideas from God’s Love-Letter. These sow in me the culture Jesus brought with Him. Because God designed us to worship, “we become what we behold.” The NT calls us to intentionally set our minds on this rich body of spiritual nutrition to experience LifeChange (2 Corinthians 3:17-18 and Philippians 4:8 as examples).
The free PDF’s of the articles that follow on the linked web pages (Flood our Life with Spiritual Nutrition and Exchange God’s Truth for Your Lie) are suggestive, not exhaustive. Intentionally gather your own, although feel free to use mine while you invest the time and effort to make mine into your own. However, please don’t simply breeze through what I wrote, come away with a “that’s nice” and think you are now provisioned.
In such a case, you merely become my “echo.”
What is the difference between an “echo” and a “voice”? An echo is secondhand and hollow, distant and diminishing over time. Select one idea below and spend a week or two soaking in it. Make it your own refreshing spiritual well, an artesian well where the water naturally flows to the surface, cool and refreshing. I still return to these.
Spiritual maturity does not mean…
…we don’t struggle or struggle as much. The battlefields often change yet we are still in a war. Spiritual maturity means: (a) we notice more quickly and (b) respond to deal with it more promptly, pumping spiritual nutritious. A long drink from these cool, clear wells brings me times of refreshing spiritually.
Some of the articles below are “paradigms” or mental maps for life. By that, I mean they provide perspectives and responses that lay a solid foundation to overcome various attacks on our spiritual journey. Others simply help me to “come home” and rest quickly again in the presence of the Father, Son and Spirit, our Family-of-Three.
Do you have passages like this for yourself to build an inventory of spiritual nutrition?
My encouragement is to “master” each of these Ten Essential Elements. Begin with the first three first since they lay the framework. Then go to the one that you feel you might need most. Reread these until they become an integral part of how you think. My strong suggestion is to make all ten of the essentials your own before moving on to the other articles. This is part of what it means to renew or transform our minds. Do this now before you battle the winds and waves of trials. Sailors learn to sail in normal weather, so they are prepared for the storms.
Like with the illustration of spiritual allergies on the webpage, Bounce Well, immediately below are Ten Essential Elements for spiritual nutrition.
These big-picture questions guide our lives and provide a type of “catalog system” for our brain to file the “main & plain,” what is “clear & crucial.”
Read Genesis 1 from the perspective that what God creates flows from who God is. Read the chapter and summarize what creation reflects of the Creator.
Knowing how God sees us, our identity, is the second most crucial aspect of our life. Return to the beginning, to Genesis 1-2 to see God’s original and unchanging intent for humanity, even with the disaster of Genesis 3.
The New Testament points to an essential launch-point for change by challenging Jesus’ followers to renew and transform our mind so we think more like Jesus. Time soaking in and responding to God’s Love-Letter, the Bible, releases in us an eager desire to do His good and perfect will.
When we came to Christ, we entered a spiritual battle with the dark forces of evil. They actively deceive us to attempt to settle for far less than God intends for us. Yet God’s spiritual weapons are even more powerful as we grow in the three spiritual development cycles.
God fashioned us as lovers in Genesis 1-2. The story of the Bible is a love story where God woos His lovers back who have rejected Him. Now we can now learn to live loved by the most significant Persons in the universe.
When we begin to grasp the magnitude of the love of the Family-of-Three for each of us, we are stunned, mystified how He can love us so much. Since we have never fully experienced a love like this in our natural relationships (although some foretastes), many doubt God’s love. Yes, God really does see me like He does His Son, Jesus!
About now we are asking where we can look to see a model of such an extraordinary love. Jesus has come, not only as the Last Adam to permanently deal with our sin problem, but also as the Second Man. Jesus is the first fully human being since Adam sinned.
Gods’ part and our part. God initiates and we respond. Our enemy attempts to confuse us right here. Either to attempt to do God’s part and be discouraged when we fail or yield our part to God, which He won’t do. He respects our dignity as image-bearers to much.
We will be attacked in this world. That’s a given. How can we learn to spiral down less often and bounce more quickly? I suggest a practical, flexible model that begins with God’s presence and provision and provides answers for our problems.
…the following have been helpful for me to deal with specific arenas needing growth. Read these as you find a need to expand your spiritual foundation. These are my suggestions with links to the free PDF’s. Read the ones you most need first. Gather your own since these will impact where you are the most, or use mine, mark them up, and make them your own banquet of spiritual nutrition.
If you have an inward longing to grow spiritually, God’s Word, and especially the Gospels and rest of the New Testament (NT) are essential. God’s Love-Letter lays the strong, sure foundation for worship, for community and for evangelism.
How can we adequately describe how our infinite, eternal, unlimited God chooses to relate intimately with His created, still-in-process image-bearers? It’s ultimately beyond fully So, the NT gives us three powerful pictures to begin to describe these powerful pathways.
Psalm 139 is a magnificent Psalm that describes God’s greatness as David practically lives out life with its struggles. He shatters any lingering “boxes” we attempt to stuff God into.
What a marvelous chapter Isaiah 40 is. Israel needs comfort. Isaiah provides the pillars by describing God both as a gentle Shepherd and as a powerful ruler. God then interrupts to drive this truth home before Isaiah brings the practical application.
David “bookends” in his Psalm 8 reflection on humanity from Genesis 1 with God’s unrivaled majesty. Read this in the NASB…and be stunned by David’s conclusions!
Romans chapters 5-8 are my favorite extended passages on how awesome our salvation in Christ is, along with Ephesians 1-3.
Full-orbed forgiveness transforms us from center to circumference as we forgive from our hearts. Thanking God for our forgiveness from Him afresh each time we sin. Asking forgiveness of others when we sin against them. Forgiving unilaterally (just between us and God) when someone sins against us.
What a powerful mental map David provides for us in Psalm 13 to process life with complete honesty before God through a threefold movement.
Growth means renewal. Commit yourself to a flexible process of ongoing renewal to stay flexible and adaptable, not like an old wineskin, rigid, dogmatic and unchanging.
10. A Healthy View of Trials (from James 1:2-18)
James 1:2-18 provides a healthy view of how God intends us to approach trials. Such a perspective keeps us in His arms so a loving Father may change us.
Have you ever been in really tough times, perhaps so dire that you felt that even your father and mother had forsaken you? In Psalm 27, David provides powerful focal points of distilled truth that hold us firm in such storms.
Jerry Sittser wrote superb book called A Grace Disguised, He lost three generations of women in his family in one horrific automobile accident on a wintry night. What practical wisdom he offers for anyone suffering loss.
This simple lens is also quite powerful as we study God’s Word and as we progressively change. Awareness. Investigate. Do.
Today I often hear Christians say, “Jesus I love but I have no place for the church.” I feel sad! I love Jesus so I want to partner with what He is doing to deepen our relationship. He promises to build His church and the enemy cannot stand against such faith-communities. Today’s call is to return to the Gospels and discover afresh how Jesus built His church.
Jesus, the most brilliant person to ever live, sketches out a simple (yet not easy) way for each of us to thrive and influence others. I call Matthew 20:20-28 “Jesus’ 20-20 Vision on Influencing.”
Do you struggle with interpersonal relational problems? Personally, I have found no single passage more helpful for me in a broad range of relational responses as Matthew 7:1-12.
In Psalm 73, the Psalmist first chose inner turmoil, drinking from his “whine” glass as He complained to God. Then He rested in God’s presence and shifted to inner tranquility.
In any battle, it’s crucial that we know our enemies, yet not as essential at knowing our own resources and trust our good commanders. Arrayed against God’s people is the “unholy triad.” Our self-life or The world and its philosophies. The devil and his minions.
We live in the midst of warfare with the evil triad, the dark forces of the world, our flesh and the devil’s minions. We will experience spiritual battles, yet God has already delegated His authority in Christ for us to overcome.
Over time through a horrific one-time event or negative scripting over time, we develop inner negative spiritual fortresses. The Spirit provides us with powerful divine weapons to shatter these.
- Print out the free PDF of this page if you want to think more deeply on it (click here).
- Print out and spend significant time (perhaps several days) in each of the Biblical concepts above. Mark them up and make them your own now when life is smoother.
- Go to the parallel website, Exchange God’s Truth for you Lie. Glance over the topics quickly. If one is a current need, go there. If not, and you have another, then add a post as a suggestion.
- I also wrote several books to strengthen this spiritual foundation, available on Amazon.com. I have a list on my website under the tab “Freder’s Favorites,” “Available on Amazon.com.”