Wednesday, September 4, 2019

A Spiritual Whole30

Yesterday I felt defeated. I had worked and prayed for hours over a project only to realize that, although the work was sound, I had the wrong focus. Feelings of failure, inadequacy, and waste darkened my outlook. It was difficult to change gears, address immediate concerns, and remain disciplined. Everywhere I looked I saw my limitations and recognized my inability to do or complete what I set my hand to.

These are moments I need the gospel. I need to be reminded that I am always inadequate whether I feel like it or not. I am weak, limited, and unable to shape my world. It's a reminder that I need Jesus. I am not my own savior and never will be. God, in His grace, draws me back to Himself, working circumstances, relationships, even my stubborn heart, to seek and follow Him in spite of it all. He has seen my inadequacies and superseded them in Christ.

Yesterday was also the end of the Whole30 diet at our house. One should never end a diet the day after a holiday. I did not end well. One of my big take-aways is that there is a disconnect between my mouth and stomach. My stomach and body really don't care what food tastes like. Their needs and satisfaction depend on a different set of values than my taste buds. As long as they're fed and the quality is adequate, they work properly. Energy levels stay level. Thinking is clear. All systems are "go." My superficial desire for sugar, in all its forms, has no lasting value. It is, in fact, detrimental to my overall health and performance.

In the same way, we are quick to satisfy feelings and emotions, catering to their whimsical desires, when what brings balance is sound thinking and doing. Filling my mind with the reality of God and His promises affects my spiritual outlook and energy level, providing motivation and initiative apart from emotion. I can give in to quick bursts of emotional highs and seek them as a means of enjoying life, or I can settle in to the deeper truth of God and persevere based, not on my own desires, but God's.

What if we reset our spiritual appetite with thirty days of whole nutrition from God's Word--no podcasts, articles, zippy tunes, Facebook, Netflix, Youtube or Hulu. Instead, we would take a 30-day fast from modern interruptions of fast spiritual sugar and concentrate on the whole foods of Scripture, prayer, meditation, fellowship, worship, and evangelism. Could we do it? Would we? How quickly would we find ourselves reading other's thoughts, seeking regurgitated truth, longing for entertainment?

Just like daily eating, I must discipline myself, by the grace of God, to fix my eyes on a higher goal with an eternal perspective. My desires and wishes, on their own, are warped and self-centered. But a mind fixed on God's nature, goodness, holiness, and might changes my appetite and brings satisfaction. He alone has true value and worth.

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

You turn man to destruction,
And say, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday when it is past,
And like a watch in the night.
You carry them away like a flood;
They are like a sleep.
In the morning they are like grass which grows up:
In the morning it flourishes and grows up;
In the evening it is cut down and withers.

For we have been consumed by Your anger,
And by Your wrath we are terrified.
You have set our iniquities before You,
Our secret sins in the light of Your countenance.
For all our days have passed away in Your wrath;
We finish our years like a sigh.
The days of our lives are seventy years;
And if by reason of strength they are eighty years,
Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow;
For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
Who knows the power of Your anger?
For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath.
So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Return, O Lord!
How long?
And have compassion on Your servants.
Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy,
That we may rejoice and be glad all our days!
Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us,
The years in which we have seen evil.
Let Your work appear to Your servants,
And Your glory to their children.
And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands. Psalm 90

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