Sunday, January 01, 2012

Spiritual Ingestion

I don’t like the taste of water. Have I ever mentioned that before? It has no flavor and, depending on what city you’re in, it can even taste vile (just try any tap on the Florida coast for example). I work outside, so I need to stay hydrated, especially in the summer of course. This combination always posed a problem until I started drinking a popular “fitness water”, Propel. It’s pretty heavily flavored and always did the trick. Not too long ago they started making this drink in the little powder packs that you can add right into your bottled water. Brilliant! The thing is though, for over a year I fought with getting the packets open enough to pour them out and then, when you finally get it torn open, the contents dissolve poorly. Extreme shaking and great patience is a must!

In a chat with a grocery cashier last week, with my usual boxes of Propel packs in my basket, she asked “Have you ever tried Mio?” What’s this Mio, I wondered? She went on to tell me how she used to be a Propel girl and then started using these Mio drops instead. It’s a liquid where you put as much, or as little, of it in your individual water bottle as you desire - instantly dissolving! Could this be? So, as you might imagine, I purchased a bottle of this mystery liquid and began to experiment a bit with it for several days. I quickly discovered that the recommended “2 squirts” of the stuff just didn’t even come close to providing the flavor that I desire so I was immediately disappointed. I kept increasing how much I added before deciding that “6 squirts” is more my style.

After four or five days of using the stuff, I had a thought regarding it as I was driving to work one morning. My thought pattern went something like this. Do I have any idea what’s in this mystery liquid that I’m adding to my water and ingesting throughout the day? I never read the label, looked into the ingredients or anything yet I was adding it, quite liberally, to my water for days. Somewhere in this thought pattern, God began to speak and injected some wisdom to me for this upcoming year. I’d like to share a small part of it for you to ponder on as we move into a new year.

In keeping with the theme of the last two paragraphs, the primary thing that the LORD is speaking is to be aware of what I’m ingesting. Although few people walk in this reality, we live in a supernaturally-active world. Darkness moves to and fro, spewing deception in every direction. I guess the enemy has achieved his goal quite effectively because it would seem that people ignorantly assume that darkness has to take some obvious form that anyone could readily notice. Much of this deception however is masquerading as light and so many within the Body of Christ are blindly gorging themselves upon it. The “if it looks good it must be good” mindset runs rampant and spiritual discernment has got to be nearing an all-time low. Those called according to the purpose of Christ, reborn into a new creation and called to mature into His likeness are without excuse. We must be spiritually alert in this upcoming year. I feel this is going to be of utmost importance in 2012. 1 Timothy is teeming with wisdom on this matter.

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars… But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come… Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.

As I stand back and examine the Body of Christ, I wonder, are we paying close attention to anything eternal? These days I choose to lay aside my extreme displeasure and disappointment with The Church and focus on the only member of the Body that I have any real likelihood of changing, myself. The Scriptures are full of prophecies of where The Church is headed before the church age as we know it ends. Few will desire to seek out and walk upon the narrow way, I understand that now. But along the way, as we all journey ahead, can we still not spur one another on to sit back and inspect our spiritual lives? I desire to daily examine all that I know, all that I seek after and sift it until only what is godly and spiritually beneficial remains.

So do you know what you’re ingesting, spiritually speaking? What is your spiritual food? What is your source? Are you simply eating off of another’s table? Are you picking over a plate, choosing only what you desire and discarding all else? Are you walking in the awareness of what you consume on a moment-by-moment basis? Do you seek the wisdom that only the Spirit can give in regards to what you ingest as well as its source? If you’re born from above - regenerated - eating of the tables of this world should just no longer satisfy (in fact, even being seated at them should turn our spiritual stomachs).

One of my favorite books is “Eating Jesus” by Eric Mumford. He creatively explains the simple fact that every person is consuming something. He elaborately discusses possessing a spiritual hunger for righteousness and a longing to feast upon the spiritual characteristics of Christ (as John chapter 6 explains “ingesting” the flesh and blood of the Son, spiritually speaking.) Just as in the natural, what we eat shapes who we become. If I eat of this world and the ways of men, I will be worldly. It really is that simple. Even if it’s clothed in religious doctrines, traditions and denominations it’s a worldly pattern that is incapable of producing Kingdom fruit. Even a simple study of the religious elite that had Jesus put to death makes this crystal clear. On the outside they were seemingly a perfect example of godliness but on the inside, they were evil, feasting on their own ways in order to satisfy their selfish cravings.

We must be careful that we’re not found doing likewise. Christianity has become so effortless that anyone can go through the motions and pull it off completely unnoticed. How many times have we seen someone “fall” publicly within church membership and everyone is in such shock over it? It’s because we’re not being wise with what we consume and ingest. Nor are we walking spiritually enlightened to spiritual matters that are lurking beneath the veiled surface. It’s our obligation to one another as Believers to challenge one another instead of ignorantly assuming that everyone is somehow spiritually thriving. This is simply not the case. Once we begin to actively and routinely evaluate our own spiritual intake, we can appropriately assist others in doing likewise, as Paul often did.

So in this upcoming year, I want to assess and examine everything that I ingest. I don’t want to go for even just a few days without examining my intake, as I did with the “water enhancing drops”. I desire to walk in a constant awareness of the spiritual activity around me. The source of all things that come into my life is of utmost importance. May we who are called according to the name of Christ live up to our moniker and walk as Christ walked – hearing, seeing, listening to the voice of the Father.
Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:14-16


Anonymous said...

Excellent post Joel. It has been a trying few days for me. My flesh would like to shake awake some people I love. But I must confront those areas of my life which are slumbering first (that means the others are pretty safe) Truly the darkness is dark and truly we must be willing to yield our lives so that He might shine through us. I felt compelled yesterday to put my New Year's Facebook Prezi up - I hope the message gets through to some.


Joel Spencer said...

Susan: Good to "see" you. :) I can't tell you how many times the words "be alert to what you're ingesting" has bounced around in me over the last couple of days. As you said, starting with who I see in the mirror is always the best place.

Anonymous said...

If you are worried that the drops you are taking appear to be entirely artificial maybe these will interest you.

Please note that I live in a foreign country and have no connection to and no financial interest in this product or company.

My interest is solely in your health.

A thought! Isn't the problem with us that we are always flavoring and coloring the pure water of the Spirit rather than learning to acquire the right taste? Sort of like the israelites despising manna?

Drewe said...

Thanks for the thoughts. It's funny how we sometimes 'justify' our intake as well. I LOVE potato chips. Yes I do. And so, I justify my consumption of them because of my undying love (ok, it's not that bad, but you know what I am saying).

How many things are we doing that with our spiritual lives, with our minds? I know I've removed many things from my list of 'edibles', like some authors I used to read, but there is always so much more. Thanks for the good reminder :D