The Spiritual Diet Plan: It Works for Me

Influence,Spiritual Diet,Holy SpiritIf you’ve been following along this week, you will hopefully have noticed that we have a theme.  That theme is influence.

On Monday we talked about how the things that we choose to put into our bodies have an influence on us, either for good or for evil.  We discussed how even things that are normally good can influence us for evil, if we use them in the wrong way or in the wrong attitude.

On Tuesday we went a little bit deeper with the idea of influence and painted a mental picture of Jesus and all of the other things that we let influence us sitting around the table of our mind and heart.  As we drew the mental picture we came to the conclusion that Jesus must be first at the table of our mind and heart and that our other influences should support that arrangement.

If, over the last two days, the Holy Spirit has nudged you about certain influences in your life that are pulling you away from your relationship with God, then it might be time to take a look at a Spiritual Diet Plan.

The Spiritual Diet Plan encompasses all areas of our life.  It may indeed involve cutting out certain foods or drinks that are having a negative influence on our walk with God, but I suspect that for most of us, it’s in the realm of entertainment and social activities that the real work is to be done.

I shared a story on Monday about how my love of reading fiction novels was leading to an overindulgence of fantasy.  As the Holy Spirit revealed this to me, I made the decision to remove fiction books entirely from my life for a period of time so that I might focus more fully on the Lord.  As a result, my reading time now is focused on the Bible and on books that encourage and nourish me spiritually.  This was how I put the Spiritual Diet Plan into practice in my own life.

It has made a massive and wonderful difference.

As I began to spend more time in the Bible and in books that pointed me towards a fuller and deeper relationship with God, I found that I naturally became more focused on Him and His kingdom.  The influence exerted on me by my new choice in reading material was overwhelmingly positive and helpful whereas the influence exerted on me by my previous reading material mostly left me mentally muddled and distracted.

If you need a Spiritual Diet Plan, exactly how you implement it will be up to you and the Holy Spirit.  I have an overactive imagination and a love of fantasy so I am very careful to minimize my intake of those types of influences.  For you, it will likely be something completely different.

Certainly Facebook and other types of social media are easy to identify as a possible distraction for many people, but really it can be anything that you are allowing to influence you negatively.  Ask yourself this:  Is there anything that you consistently look forward to more than your relationship with the Lord and getting to know Him better?  If something just popped into your mind, that’s a sign that you might need to decrease something so that He might increase in your life.

The Spiritual Diet Plan then is the process by which we narrow and eliminate those distracting influences which get in the way of the type of relationship that the Lord wants to have with us.  In their place we must add and build up those things which will influence us for the good and support Christ as the center of our existence.  It’s past time that we as believers take a hard look at our own lives and proclaim loudly by our actions that absolutely nothing is more important to us than our Savior.

Is there anything that you have identified in your life this week that might need to be narrowed or eliminated so that you might have a stronger relationship to God?  And, what are you observing about other Believers around you?  What common distractions and negative influences might you help them overcome through your prayers and encouragement?


Who is Sitting at Your Table Tonight?

Jesus,Holy Spirit, Influence, quiet timeYesterday we discussed how everything that we put into our bodies influences us.  Today we will look at the things that we spend time with and how they influence us in return.  Let us paint a mental picture to hopefully make a point.

Having guests for dinner can be challenging.  You have to decide what to serve and when to serve and where to seat each guest.  Being a good host and practicing good hospitality is a skill and a blessing to everyone, when it’s done properly.

Get it wrong, however, and you end up with embarrassed and sometimes unhappy guests.  If you serve your vegan aunt a steak and your lactose intolerant friend a cheeseburger, they aren’t going to eat and will go hungry.  Likewise, serving food that is overcooked or getting cold because it’s been sitting out too long won’t make anyone happy.

How about that seating arrangement?  If you are fortunate enough to have friends and family where everyone gets along then you should be very thankful!  Many people don’t have that luxury and must be very careful about who sits next to whom or there will be grumbling and complaining if not outright hostility.  Some people just don’t mix well and it will be your job as host to make sure that anyone who causes a problem is asked to leave so that they don’t upset your other guests.

Do you remember all of those influences that we talked about yesterday?  The ones you let in your house?  They are now sitting at the table of your mind and your heart.  If you are saved (and I pray that you are!) then Jesus is also sitting at the table of your mind and your heart.  

How much time will you give each guest and how are you going to arrange them?  Will there be any guests that you simply must ask to leave?

I hope we agree that Jesus must be first at our table.  Jesus must get the best seat and the best that we have to offer.  Jesus is patient and kind, however, and will not force us to listen to Him or to spend any time with Him at all.  Jesus is the type of guest who brings more to the party than the host but will never force the host to take anything from Him.  Jesus wants to bless our table, every single day.

Jesus wants to sit quietly with us, talk, and let us discover who He is through intimate conversation.  Jesus will even feed us out of the good things that He has brought to our table if we will be humble enough to ask.  Jesus delights in nourishing His children, and his gifts are always perfect.

As for those others who we have invited in and now sit at our table?  As we make Jesus the head of our table and the focus of our gathering, it becomes more and more important that the other guests agree with our arrangement and support our effort.  One bad guest can ruin the entire party out of rudeness or hostility.  A good guest will recognize the guest of honor and defer to Him and not try to steal the glory or the spotlight.  The best guests will even join in the celebration and help to honor and glorify He who sits at the head of our table.  These types of guests are keepers, and should have a regular place at our table!

The moral is this:  It matters what we see and hear.  It matters who (Who) we spend our time with and what we spend our time doing.  It also matters how we spend time with our Lord and how we order our lives around Him.

How much time did you spend with the Lord today?  Did you do anything special during that time with Him?