“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace
because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the
power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
- “What will you have today, dear?” **I’ll just have a slice of Jesus……………..
- “And what would you like to drink with that?” **“Oh…I guess I’ll have an extra large _______ with just a tiny bit of the Holy Spirit sprinkled in there. You know, actually, we’d also better make that diet, okay?”
- “And for dessert?” **Maybe just a sliver of God on the side…..I don’t really know if I have room for any more.”
Have you ever approached the Lord and the priority you make Him in your life in this way? I am sad to admit that I did until just a few years ago. And I still can end up here at times if I get distracted by the things of this world.
For most of my life, I thought I could just fold Jesus into my heart, mind and behaviors in ways that suited me to fit my own situation and agenda of the day. I’d cry out to Him when I needed help, go to church once in a while because it was the right thing to do, and remember my Savior fondly at Christmas time when I’d see all the little manger scenes everywhere that contained figurines of my sweet baby Jesus.
I felt love for Jesus, but I didn’t show Him very much of it. I didn’t bother to talk to Him a whole lot, certainly was a fair-weather friend at best, and pretty much just took for granted overall that He’d just be there for me whenever I decided to call upon Him. I didn’t make Him the center of my life, just an underlying part of it. He was the One who was there in the back -behind everything. He was the One I thought I could conjure up whenever I so desired, and then leave in the dust the rest of the time. He was the One I liked to hide away for a rainy day.
It breaks my heart to even think about it as I write about it right now.
Aside from how very wrong that is, how very sad and heartbreaking it is that I was that lame of a friend, child, lamb, follower (ha!) of my magnificent Savior; I also actually believed that as long as I brought Him into my life in some way, that I would be sufficiently nourished and could go on living just how I wanted to live without suffering any real consequences.
Revolving buffet of Holiness anyone? Ensued the cycle of binging/deprivation: The unhealthy over-stuffing, then inevitable follow-up starvation attempts. The empty spiritual calories; the shame; the hiding behind of everything unhealthy and unstable. And YES, the consequences of a life lived in such a way as this.
- “You aren’t going to get a full, well-rounded meal today, Annie?” **“No…I am still really full from the extra-large platter of Magnificent Self that I had for dinner last night. Besides, today’s meal needs to be on the lighter side…I am starting to feel pretty heavy.”
Ahhh ~ the twisted mind of someone who has battled serious issues with food and weight management. And the REALLY screwed up mind of one who only peppered in the Lord to suit their own fancies or tastes for the day, circumstance, or period in their life they happened to be going through at the time.
Yep, that was me, my friends. I lived it. Sadly, I did.
Yes…this paints a very true picture of how I lived out my spiritual life and treated my relationship with my Savior. This is how I approached receiving my nourishment from the Lord. I’d binge a couple of times a year at most, and usually in the wrong ways…..
- “Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree…… la la la la,la laaa laaaa”
- “And let’s go to Easter service” (cuz we should)
And then I’d go right back to ignoring Him for daily sustenance and communion.
And worship? Praise? Gratefulness? We weren’t even going to go there! Who had room for that?
If I could make room in my tummy after gorging upon myself at the last meal, I would graciously then sprinkle a little of Him in there at the next one – just to stoke my energy and keep my metabolism going – just to make sure I was “doing the right thing” and taking a balanced approach overall.
- “There, there...that makes me feel better about myself.” Ug
But the weight wouldn’t come off – neither physically nor spiritually. The heaviness continued for a very, very long time.
I realize now that I was actually depriving myself of Him. I was fattening myself up with all of the wrong things and stuffing Him down. I was hiding beneath the rolls of stuff that kept me warm and comfortable and which offered an alluring, but ever-deceitful false sense of truth and love. Those “rolls” felt safe, but they were ugly, not necessary, and definitely put me at risk of death.
Who has room in a set up like that for God the Father, Jesus the Savior, and the Holy Spirit to be the All of their life? Yet another reminder of my flawed thinking: They are One….a package deal….and I was burying the whole of God, and any part of Him, really – right out of my life.
I am human, and limited in my capacity; I have a puny little brain. So, I will be the first to say that when it comes to the Trinity, I simply cannot do it justice to write about it – at least not yet. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that I believe the truth and awesomeness that our God is All –
- He is our Father, the Creator of all, and sooooo much more than that.
- Jesus Christ, the Father’s only son is the Redeemer, my Savior and sooooo much more than that.
- And we have been blessed too by and with the Holy Spirit, the Helper, the voice of wisdom, and soooooo much more than that.
- Three in One, my friends….Three in One.
With all of my heart, I desire for the Lord to reveal to me even more of an understanding of all that He is…as much as He desires…as much as He wants to help me to expand my feeble mind, heart, everything; to know more of Him. A fast way to ensure this doesn’t happen at all, is to continue to merely sprinkle the Him into our lives, rather than open ourselves to His will and submit so that He can fill us up with Him entirely.
We have the privilege of feasting upon the Lord if we have accepted the gift of salvation offered to us through Jesus Christ, and we truly ask for Him to be the absolute Lord and center of our lives. If we want to eat clean and gain true nourishment; be fit, and be healthy – we cannot eat only once a day. And we certainly can’t make that meal one that is laden with bad stuff of no nutritional value to us whatsoever. It creates a false sense of fullness, and leads to so many awful things.
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Matthew 4:4
You know, I have also found that bigger doesn’t always mean stronger for we humans. I am literally just over 100 pounds lighter than I was a couple of years ago, and I assure you that I am FAR stronger than I was back then. Just look at David and Goliath for proof that smaller can definitely be stronger….and it’s because of God.
God though? God is not small. Yet He works through small all the time. He works through weak. He works through frail. He works through meek, low, and broken. God’s greatness works through it all. That is why He is often so dearly referred to as our Awesome God. He has it all under control.
And strong and powerful as He is, and weak and sinful as we can be, He can, and does meet us where we are at, and He is always good for us.
Now that I am healthy, I have found that I actually prefer vegetables and lean meats more than all that other junk I used to stuff myself with. They are more dense, they give me more energy, and they just plain taste better. The more I eat of them, the more I want to continue to fill my body with these wonderful things.
The same goes with God, and all that is holy living. The same goes with being in His word, being in fellowship with Him, and listening to and living by the Spirit. The same goes of obeying the commands He has set forth instead of living for the junk of this world.The same goes in keeping my eyes fixed upon Jesus, the cross, and the full and beautiful knowledge and hope that He is risen, and one day, we will reign with Him forever!
This, is now more than simply my “preference”. This, I now crave. I find myself wanting more and more of Him and His nourishment with every passing day. These aren’t icky veggies, my friends. The “meat” lies in the veggies. Just when I think I am full to the brim, I want more. And you know what? That’s a sign of a very healthy metabolism. I want my spiritual metabolism to work the way it was intended to all along – I am so thankful to see that it’s even possible! It’s really true when He tells us………..
“For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37
Who says that the treats in life can only be the stuff that is just plain bad for us? I am grateful for the change the Lord has created in reference to my taste buds.
When I look at the growth He has brought about within my spiritual self over that same period of time I was getting fit and healthy physically, I notice how both things ran parallel to one another. That’s a thing of God too! The smaller I have become, (focus on SELF), the more room there has been for Him to live inside of me and truly become the center of my life. (more of HIM)
Although I am 100 pounds lighter, I now feel more spiritually full and stronger in the Lord than ever. I am standing on the strongest foundation one can – built upon Jesus Christ and all that He is and all that we have in Him. I think it might also have to do with the fact that I stopped buffet-type eating when it comes to my spiritual nourishment, and now I just order the Jesus special at every single meal. I even snack!
But make no mistake: I get off track and start to sprinkle in too much self, even when I don’t realize I am doing it. And God has been faithful in showing me when this is starting to happen. I love the fact that the voice of the Holy Spirit keeps me in check that way. I love that God has my back. And I love that He makes it clear when more discipline and obedience are called for – and He gently reminds me that I will need His help every step of the way.
I have also noticed that I am far more thirsty than I used to be if I don’t drink enough water. Water and hydration is so crucial. I think that the more fit you are, and the more you exercise, and the more efficient your body is at processing and purging toxins, the more water you actually need. The more you crave. And the Lord promises us that he will quench our thirst too – He really is the only true hydrator. Awesome again! He even tells us we will never be thirsty again if we remember to drink of Him….
“but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14
Although the wrong approach to the Lord dominated my life for years, just like everything else I said, the quantity does not outweigh the quality. Self may have more time under it’s belt, and self may have more years of my life that have been centered on Jesus, but self has not won by any stretch of the imagination. What the Lord has done in the recent time of my life holds far more power than four dumb decades do.
He works through that too, you know. He works through “fake big.” His big gets bigger in us as we get smaller. His big shows up in us as we move through times of weakness and times of triumph. His big is always big, no matter where we are at. And He shows up when we ask for Him to show up – then, everyone else, including ourselves can see. Instead of being buried under the rolls of deceit, He is there…always, guiding us, leading us, and feeding us. And not with empty spiritual calories.
So have a feast today, my friends – not one of magnificent self, either. Let’s fill ourselves to the brim with the Lord – and watch how He will work to grow us, but not to make us any bigger than we need to be. Let’s have quantity and quality in Jesus!
And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. John 6:35
This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. John 6:50