Feed Your Faith: Are You on a Spiritual Diet?

Great men are they who see that spiritual is stronger than any material force – that thoughts rule the world. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

At this time of year, we seem to think about food more often than normal. From Thanksgiving feast to Christmas dinner, we spend a lot of time buying, fixing, eating and cleaning up the kitchen. The holidays can be a stressful time, as well as an enjoyable one.

People ask me how I stay peaceful and calm, no matter what is happening in my life. I have to tell them it was a hard-won lesson, simple in theory but challenging to maintain consistently. Now, however, it has become a lifestyle that I practice daily. Would you like to know more?

You have probably noticed that the more you feed your body, the bigger it gets. Too much of the wrong foods create obesity, lethargy and health problems. It is virtually impossible, however, to consume too much of the good-for-you foods.

Since the physical world mirrors the spiritual one, the same is true with spiritual food. If you constantly feed your thoughts and emotions with fear, doubt, anger, despondency and guilt, you sap your spiritual power. Your faith becomes lethargic and ineffective.

Athletes, when training, eat specific foods to produce certain effects in their bodies. Dieters know to avoid processed foods and eat more fruits and vegetables. We know about these physical laws and, hopefully, use them to our benefit.

The dictionary defines the word, diet, as “food and drink regularly consumed”. Adapting the original meaning, our cultural interpretation now means deprivation of certain foods – like candy, salty snacks, sugary drinks.

You’ve probably been ‘on a diet’ a dozen times or more. The problem with the current interpretation is that once your diet is over, you can go right back to your old habits. We both know that won’t work. Permanent improvement requires lifestyle transformation.

Be ye transformed …

… ‘by the renewing of your mind’ (Rom 12:2). You feed your body through your mouth. You feed your spirit through the gates of your soul, your eyes and ears. The question is, “What are you feeding your spirit and mind?” Mental candy (aka television, novels, news media, etc) the spiritual power of God’s Word? Whatever you want to change –transform – needs to start with His wisdom. Read the Bible. Study His Word. Listen to strong Biblical teachers. Strengthen your inner man (Eph. 3:6).

Transformation simply means the act or process of change. You don’t have to accept every thought that flits through your mind. Cast down imaginations, as Paul instructed. Don’t give place to those negative emotions. They’re ‘death food’ to your spirit. A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body (Prov. 14:30 NLT). As you transform your spiritual self through the Word of God, you’ll also discover more peace, joy and health for your physical body and soul (mind, will and emotions).

Pray continually …

Prayer is spiritual exercise, an opportunity to practice what you have fed into your spirit. Affirm His Word over your life. Speak it out loud, ‘calling things that be not as though they were (Rom. 4:17). Take your stand on His promises. Work it … until it works.

Prayer is also conversation with God. No matter what’s going on, He‘s got wisdom to impart, so pray without ceasing (I Thess. 5:17). Talk to Him about everything – then be alert for His answers. He’s with you – in you – all day long. Jesus told us to “ask, see and knock”. We’ve been invited to bend God’s ear!

I was in a hurry the other day, and at the traffic light, something (Someone!) prompted me to turn right instead of left. There was the parking space I needed! Those little nudges are the Holy Spirit leading and guiding your day. Watch and listen for them.

Be joyful always …

The Bible declares ‘The joy of the Lord is your strength’ (Neh. 8:10) Look for the good in every circumstance. Rejoice in the Lord, knowing He has a good plan for you. Like a good athlete intent on honing a specific skill, practice joy until it becomes automatic.

Joy is an inner strength, an expectation that you will be or have the thing you seek. Since the Bible says to ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness’ (Matt. 6:33), you can always find reasons to be joyful!

You can also rejoice on purpose, by faith. Take the high road of faith. Trust God’s promises and rejoice in them before you ever see results. Like any parent, God delights in our enjoyment. He wants us to have not just a good life but a great one. God … giveth us richly ALL things to enjoy! (I Tim. 6:17). Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. (Ps. 37:4). And Psalm 35 says He has pleasure in our prosperity! That should give you plenty to be joyful about.

In everything, give thanks …

Gratitude is one of God’s most powerful spiritual tools. Thank God that He has given you a way out of every test, trial and temptation (I Cor. 10:13). Be grateful for His mercy, peace, joy, love, patience. Since praise songs and recite Bible verses of thanksgiving. You cannot stay miserable when your spirit is full of thanksgiving.

A body cannot survive without food and exercise. Your spirit is the same. If you feed yourself a steady diet of mental junk food – worry, anger, fear – your mind and spirit won’t be strong enough to override the stresses in your life. If your faith is anemic, change it!

When stresses come against me, I have learned to look inward first. I listen for a Bible verse or some positive thought to “come to mind”. I expect some guidance or prompting on how to react. I exercise my faith at every opportunity, knowing the more I use it, the stronger it gets.

Of course, there are levels of faith. If you want powerful faith – mountain-moving faith – you will have to commit to more than Sunday-morning ‘school’. You feed your body daily. Give your spirit the same attention. Your body turns physical food into energy and power. Your spirit does the same with the Word of God.

You can have strong faith with the right diet and exercise. Create a spiritual diet plan and stick to it. Make it a life-long commitment, not just a crash diet. Feed your faith well. You’ll see results sooner than you think.

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