Posted by: tucsonjefe | July 31, 2010

Growth is Very Simple

I had the privilege last week of working alongside an old friend in ministry.  We had not seen each other in 15 years.  He told me that a year ago he was ready to quit.  He couldn’t do ministry anymore because of his health.  His back hurt so bad he could barely move. He spent much time and effort on doctors. , but they gave him little hope. They gave him strong pain medication, but it made his mind so cloudy he hated it.  He couldn’t move much, and his weight ballooned to nearly 400 pounds.  His blood-sugar sky rocketed.  He was diabetic. He was near death.  Then he decided to take another course.  He joined a gym.  He altered his diet radically.  After 8 months he is down 80 pounds.  His sugar is normal.  He is clear in mind and drug free.  The man who could not bend over to lace his shoes is now working out 6 days a week and talking about the endorphin high that makes him more productive and energetic.  Maybe best of all, a church family that thought they were losing their beloved mentor of 30 years are now relieved and cheering his every victory.

This one is almost too simple. I talk to people all the time who are suffering a spiritual condition very similar to the physical condition that had my friend in its grip.  They are weighed down with all kinds of things that sap their spiritual energy.  They feel depressed.  They don’t want to do anything.  Life is just not worth living.  When I talk to them long enough I find that they are partaking of a lot of spiritual and mental junk food.  Instead of feasting on the Word of God, they are using entertainment devices to dull their senses.  Their hearts are fat and insensitive to the prompting of the Spirit.  They give hours to fluffy diversions, but can’t find time to pray, or energy to offer  themselves in service to others. The answer to their problem is the same as the answer to my friend’s:  Change your diet and begin to exercise.  Here’s my prescription:

  1. Turn off the TV, or the computer, or whatever your favorite source of spiritual comfort food.
  2. Take time to pray at least 15 minutes every day.  Pray for all the people and things you can think of that need it. Then,
  3. Open your Bible and  read for 15 minutes.  I don’t care if you don’t understand it.  Take it slow at first and think about it. Ask God to open it up to you. Then get up and
  4. Look for one opportunity to be a blessing to another person.  Volunteer somewhere, in the church or in the community.  Do something even if it seems difficult at first.  Just do it!

Scripture Reading:   If you explain these things to the brothers and sisters, Timothy, you will be a worthy servant of Christ Jesus, one who is nourished by the message of faith and the good teaching you have followed.  (7)  Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly.  (8)  “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”  (9)  This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it.  1 Timothy 4:6-9 NLT

Somebody said:  There art two cardinal sins from which all others spring: Impatience and Laziness.    — Franz Kafka

Most of us are looking for a shortcut to spiritual health and a pill to give us happiness.  Neither of these things exist.  The search is futile. To start an exercise and diet program requires doing a few things consistently until the soreness goes away and strength begins to increase. I do it when I don’t feel like it.  I continue when I can’t see the results.  Then one day someone says “are you losing weight? “ I notice I can do things I couldn’t do before. I like it! Spiritual things are no different.  It always works because that is the way God built the system.



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