Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Spiritual Food 4

Spiritual Food 4:
Spiritual Detoxing!

So much dieting advice! The Internet is full of it and a lot involves big promises about quick results but often with little to back up the claims. Detoxing is very popular with numerous pills, teas and super foods all said to rid your body of toxins accumulated from eating poorly and just from living in a polluted world…Many people follow prescribed detoxing rituals with the aim of cleansing their physical bodies, but is there a spiritual equivalent?

What about spiritual detoxing?  

Spiritual detoxing is a personal attempt with the help of God, to rid one’s life of any ‘toxins’ which can be hindering their closeness with Jesus. Spiritual detoxing is actually as old (and even older) than the Christian Church, when we consider the Jewish purification rituals (see Paul in Acts 21:26), and even in the account of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10) giving away his tax collections, for example. Spiritual detoxing today can be recognised in personal testimonies from people giving an account of ridding their home of pornography, occult items, illicit drugs, alcohol and many other things which are not compatible with living a life of purity (which is the biblical definition of a redeemed follower of Jesus Christ, also known as a Christian).

For many Christians, Spiritual detoxing is an experience they go through during their early days of following Jesus. This can be for some a wonderful time, or a painful time, or even both as they push through to engage with God in this transformative work. This is a time when The Lord helps us to sort through our diet and spiritual baggage. It is a cleansing process that takes time, as growth is not always immediate. However this is not just a one-off event for new Christians. Spiritual detoxing is necessary throughout the Christian life, as a part of sanctification (becoming more like Jesus) and growing in faith.

Indeed, Spiritual detoxing is more than ridding one’s life of physical things; it can be shedding old and unloving attitudes and sometimes long-held, comfortable beliefs that are not biblically compatible or sound. It can be intentionally fasting and seeking God through prayer and scripture in isolation. It can take different forms for different people, but the desire is the same – A heart connected closer to Jesus and changed because of this.

In Part 3, 'Artificial Preservatives', we discussed how there are so many teachings and philosophies out there in the world that promise answers such as a meaning to life. Some of them even sound quite Biblical and yet are twisted in some way to make them more pleasing to the ear while leaving them empty of any power to nourish and grow us. Like food that is full of artificial preservatives, these things may seem good on the surface and appear to satisfy our needs but are ultimately harmful. In some cases they may give a false understanding of God and what His will is, or even lead people away from Him altogether. Even those who consider themselves mature Christians can sometimes take on board ideas that seem godly and yet have nothing to do with true Christianity. The sad truth is there are false teachers out there in the world who claim to be preaching God’s word and yet only present a distorted version of it.

So how do we know if we need to have a Spiritual detox?

There are several factors to consider:

  • When we find we are lacking humility and love, or we’re elevating ourselves above our brothers and sisters, and/or spouse.
  •      When we seem to have not enough time for prayer and scripture in our day.
  • When we’re being plagued with negative thoughts, unscriptural ideas, and worldly desires.
  • When we find ourselves getting back into old unhealthy habits, or new interests which could lead us away from Christ being number one in our lives.
  • When we find ourselves not attending church services and lacking the desire to serve the body of Christ due to being hurt or harbouring unforgiveness.

A Spiritual detox is a wonderful way to connect closer to Jesus and allow Him to minister to our hearts. He is the Only One with the skill to do this work. A detox can be exactly what we need to rekindle or boost our Christian practices, of taking in His wisdom and love through prayer and scripture. A detox can be what we need to get our ‘diet’ back on track.

Remember, by sticking to the food God intended for us which is His Word and prayerfully digesting it daily we will become more Christ-like. Digesting God’s Word daily reminds us of His character, His promises, and of His great love for us. Knowing scripture truly enables us to know Jesus. His actions, words, and the way in which He interacted with all whom He met while on earth, shows us who He truly is and how we should be as His followers. 

Also, when we become familiar with Him we can more easily identify false teachings about Him. It will also help rid us of any falsehood that we have already taken on board. This all happens through the work of God’s Holy Spirit who lives in those who have accepted Jesus into their lives. He reveals truth and through this we are set free from the lies of the enemy.

Spiritual detoxing isn’t anything new. It’s just a catchy title and analogy for the intentional practice of making Jesus’ teachings the first priority in one’s life.

You see, oftentimes we have to let go of our own wilfulness and sinful autonomous direction, and this takes intentional effort to overcome. It is a discipline to let go and let God have His way in our lives and this is a constant ongoing practice that we sometimes need to simply give more attention to when we find ourselves becoming more independent and self-reliant. Jesus who was perfect as a human being knew how much He needed to spend time in prayer and relationship with The Father, so how much more do we?

Study Time ~

Luke 5:1-16.  Jesus spending time alone with The Father after helping others.
Luke 19:1-10.  The story of the transformed tax collector Zacchaeus, after spending time with Jesus.

After reading, now take some time to consider the following questions.

Q1. Have you ever experienced a 'Spiritual detox' and if so, what did you gain?

Q2. In the Luke 5 reading, Jesus took time out after His work. Are you taking enough time-out after serving busily or could you replacing the personal encounter with 'good deeds'?

Q3. When was the last time (if any) that you really felt God's love permeate you?

Q4. In the example of Zacchaeus can you see the power of Jesus to change a life with one encounter? Do you believe this can be true for you also?

If you've missed the other posts in this series, just click on these links below:
Spiritual Food 1: Becoming what we eat! 
Spiritual Food 2: Taste & See! 
Spiritual Food 3: Artificial Preservatives! 

We truly hope you've been enriched with this post! Enter you email towards the top right of the blog page to not miss our final post in the  'Spiritual Food' series 'The Lord's Table', as we believe this series is a very important and relevant topic for faithful Christian living. If you have any queries please remember you can email Richard and Melanie at zealhouse@mail.com

Richard & Melanie.

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