It’s never good to get too big for your britches. Physically or spiritually. I personally have struggled with both this summer. Thinking myself to be more important than I am. Thinking that my wants and wishes are above what God’s design for my life is. Feeding myself instead of my soul and failing to stay in the center of His will. I jam forever on the edge; never quite making it to the center. Can you identify?
John 3:30 says
He must increase, but I must decrease.
For successful Christian living there has got to be more of God and less of you in your day. Oh I try, but deed, I’m never very far into the day before that increase is on the wrong side of success. So what’s a Jesus Chick (or Rooster) to do when your spiritual life is malnourished?
PUT THE FLESH ON A DIET!
I don’t for two seconds think it was a coincidence that God likened Himself to food and drink throughout the scriptures. He knew 2017 would be filled with bread and pasta and how very weak my flesh was when it came to those tasty treats in the battle of depression. But whether it’s food, or any other earthly pleasure that we invest more effort into than God, we have to look for a healthy balance for a truly happy and fulfilled life. Oh… I’m preachin’ to the choir this morning. I should have worn work boots to write this blog because I’m all over my own toes. But I usually am, that’s how God works on this wretched heart.
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
That’s an awesome truth on its own. But seeing that truth in the context for which it was written is even awesomer! I know that’s not a word, but it should be. Every successful diet has a foundation from which it starts. Exercise, protein, vegetables, juices… things to build on and things to omit. The spiritual diet is no different.
Work the Work
28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
While I could hug Paul’s neck for saying to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:8 “bodily exercise profiteth little,” that too is a verse out of context. Exercise alone won’t fix the flab of the flesh, but it certainly won’t hurt. And when it comes to serving Christ, although the work of salvation is done, there is still work to do! Staying focused on the plan is key to the success of our spiritual wellbeing.
For me, I am called to serve God as a career. You may or may not be called to serve in such an exclusive manner. I personally keep trying to forget. Not because I don’t want to serve God, but because it takes discipline and sacrifice… just like exercise. It’s not always prosperous in the earthly sense of finances, so in the flesh if I can often get discouraged because in our lives work = $. That is necessarily so in the work of the Lord.
30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? 31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. 32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
It is for certain not without compensation, it’s just often not with the compensation of earthly standards. And when I in the flesh get hungry, be it for food or for stuff, my desire often wins out over the actual need. It is then that the mission becomes cloudy. Not because it’s not still there in the very same form it was when God gave it to me many years ago. But because I’m not focused on the plan. If I’m busy doing ministry work, I seldom think of what I have not. Because the work satisfies my soul. That’s how God created me. But if I wake up in the morning and immediately start feeding my desires with food, social media, music, etc., rather than feeding my soul with the manna from Heaven, I’m spiritually malnourished and weak; which leads to the flesh having the greater power.
Work His Will
34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. 35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. 36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. 37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Staying in the center of God’s will is not easy, but it was not only our design, it was Christ’s as well. Christ understands the flesh, He too battled it; however ~ He battled it victoriously. Me… not so much. Christ’s purpose for coming to earth was to make a way for us to get to Heaven. And even on my days of failure, I can’t stop that. That is awesomer too! But I need to stay focused on the plan that God created me for, and so do you, so that you and I can be spiritually successful saints of the Savior!