Saturday, June 13, 2009

spiritual eating disorders

Eating disorders are so sad. Perhaps even more sad is when you meet a spiritually anorexic or bulimic Christian.
This thought came to me when I was thinking about a common illustration about a man who held dog fights for people to bet on with his two dogs. The man would always place his own bet on the dogs and he always ended up winning. One time, someone asked him how he always knew which dog was going to win. The man replied, "It's simple, the dog I want to win this week, I will feed and the other I will starve. The one who has been fed always wins." This is a good story to illustrate the fight that's going on between our flesh and our spirit. The side we feed the most will win. If we want to please God in all our decisions then we need to starve the flesh and feed the spirit. We do this through prayer, Bible study, involvement in ministries etc...
So I was thinking about that story when I thought about how some people starve themselves spiritually. They refuse to pick up their Bible or pray or sometimes even go to church or be involved. And yet, they don't understand why they can't win the battle against sin. Jesus has already won the war, but there are battles to face every day. If we are starving our spirit, we will be too weak to win against the lusts of the flesh. Anorexia is when someone refuses to eat and is therefore holding an unhealthy weight that makes them sickly and weak. What a shame that we do that to our spirit.
I did a little research on eating disorders for this post... Did you know that when a person is starved for a longer period of time, their eyesight worsens. I thought this was interesting. The longer we go starving our spirit, the worse our spiritual eyesight will be. We will not have the ability to see danger coming or to see sin as it is. The starved person's taste buds often disappear as well. I thought this was symbolic of how, after a while a spiritually starved person would lose a "taste" for God's Word completely. The muscles of the body waste away. There is also a disinterest in what is going on around the person. "Listlessness, tiredness and apathy may also occur. Dull spirit, possible irritability, and poor memory" are likely as well, according to research. Sounds like the same things that can happen if we starve ourselves spiritually.
I have to admit, I've realized that I'm backsliding a little this summer. I've started taking relaxation to an extreme and become lazy.
Lord, Help me to stay strong in the Spirit and not "starve" myself.
I also thought of how some people are bulimic. They do eat but then they force their body to get rid of it; afraid of what it might do to their body (afraid it might make them fat). I think we can do this to our spirit too. Sometimes we are going to church and maybe even reading our Bible but what we take in we "throw back up". We don't allow it to nourish us and grow us. We hear what we should do or not do but we are afraid of what will happen if we listen so we take it in and then throw it up. (Excuse the crude language. I wasn't sure how else to say it). We need to stop being afraid of what God might ask of us or how it might change us and take in His Word. What is the point of reading our Bibles if we never hold on to it and let it change us?!?
James 1:23-25
23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

Just some thoughts. Don't starve your spirit and take in what He wants to tell you. Don't spit it back out.
May the Lord help me to do the same.


Tammy said...

Good analogy. We do need to not be anorexic or bulemic.

Jennifer said...

That is interesting how the symptoms of anorexia can be the same for our spirit! It is so sad to see people who starve themselves spiritually.

Anonymous said...

Great truth Jen. It explains a lot of the apathy in America and especially in our churches