Lesson 4: Life
Much of the lesson this week focused on what many would call “lifestyle,” and included thoughts on the Christian lifestyles physically, spiritually, and socially. I’ve found, as many, that my spiritual life and physical life are inexorably interwoven. This is true in that one often effects the other (and vice versa), but also that the way we treat one can give insight on how we should treat the other. Our physical and spiritual lives, in other words, are not only connected, but parallel.
For example, I recently spent three days in fasting and prayer. Fasting, of course, is an obvious intersection of the physical and spiritual. For me, however, the parallel nature of them was more interesting. While fasting, it is well documented that your body begins to rid itself of certain toxins. You begin to undo a lifetime of unhealthy and intemperate eating as you spiritually also cleanse yourself from worldly distractions and focus more intently on God. Indeed, that time for me was very spiritually powerful and well worth it. By the end of the third day, I broke my fast in the recommended fashion: fruit and vegetable juices, eventually followed by some fresh fruit.
There was, however, one exception to my otherwise model break-fast. I went to an event the next afternoon that had snacks, and I ended up indulging in some potato chips. Normally, I wouldn’t think twice about an occasional salty snack. But, as I felt the grease in my mouth, sliding down my throat, I realized I was undoing the toxic cleansing that had just taken place. I was resorting back. Sadly, the same was happening in my spiritual life. As the period of fasting ended, I let my guard down, started striving after God less. My eyes filling my mind with worldly things, my heart not in solemn prayer, my addiction to things I had avoided during the fast returning en force.
Many Adventists are great about taking care of their body. They are stringent on the things they put into the vessel God has entrusted them with. But what about the things of the world that your spirit ingests? The things you watch or listen to? The amount of time you spend in the presence of influences that subtly shape your character? Even the stray commercial on TV floods your mind with dozens of images and messages coercing you to indulge in consumerism, materialism, sexuality, and shallowness. What junk food and toxins are you feeding your spirit?