FEED THE SPIRIT STARVE THE FLESH
“The secret to staying alive and experiencing the true essence of life is to feed the Spirit & starve the flesh! Eat the fruit of the Spirit & throw away the junk food of the world. God’s best kept recipe!”
ARE YOU HUNGRY
Why is it that we have enough sense when we are physically hungry to go and fix a sandwich, cook a meal or go to a restaurant and buy a meal…yet we let our spiritual man cry out with starvation? I seldom hear someone say, “I’m too busy to eat.” Or go weeks saying “I have no desire to eat food.” Most people the moment they hear and feel their stomach growling, they react. They take “the time” to do what it takes to get food. They give their physical body what it wants. It’s not even a question of if they will get food but more of a matter of how soon they can get the food their body so desperately wants and needs. People do this because they know if they wait long periods of time to eat, they will develop unwanted symptoms. They will experience headaches, or become sluggish, tired, and lethargic. Their performance levels will decline because their physical body doesn’t have the optimal nutrients to carry out activities. Their senses will even decline in their acuity. Simple tasks like walking, or carrying certain items will become absolutely exhausting. Challenging tasks such as working out, running miles, and lifting weights become absolutely impossible!
In extreme cases such as someone going a VERY extensive period of time without eating, their body will eventually become used to not receiving outside nutrients. Their body consequently goes into starvation mode. It starts eating itself. The body begins to break down its own protein in hopes of salvaging some type of energy. As a result the muscles become weak and the body begins to fill up with toxic waste from muscle breakdown. So in a sense the individual is dying from the inside out. Horrific isn’t it?
Someone who has been in starvation mode for a long period of time will have a difficult time transitioning out of it once food is available to them again. This is because their body has trained itself to operate without outside food or nutrients. So the moment they go to put food into their system their body rejects it. It can’t tolerate it or digest the food. They have to slowly re-train themselves and their bodies to become used to eating again and receiving outside nutrients.
All these things happen when we don’t feed our physical man. Yet these things seldom happen in our physical being because we have “enough sense” to feed ourselves!! So think about what happens when we don’t FEED OUR SPIRIT? I want you to take everything I just said previously and now look at it from a spiritual perspective.
“Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” – John 6:35
For every true child of God, we received the gift of the Holy Spirit the moment we decided to obey God and put Christ on in baptism. Acts 2:38 “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” So we have the Spirit of God within us and as a result this Spirit desires to have the prominent role in our lives. He has a voice, He’s alive, and He has the desire for us to continually feed Him. So the moment a child of God stops feeding their spiritual man is the moment they start to commit spiritual starvation. It’s a slow process but boy oh boy the effects are seen immediately. It starts small…like skipping a day without reading the bible and not praying as much; then it changes to having continual evil and ungodly thoughts and those thoughts turning into actions. Then it progresses to skipping out on worship, hanging out with unspiritual individuals and going to unspiritual places. Finally it progresses to the point of continual indulgence in ungodly activities…ie drunk and wild parties, sex outside of marriage, lying, etc. All the while the Spirit is crying out! Saying, “Feed me! Nourish me!” Initially when we start to starve our Spirit His voice is loud…but the longer we go without feeding our Spirit…the voice becomes faint…and eventually silent. Every child of God should want the Spirit of God to be the loudest voice in their life at all times! The moment the Spirit of God becomes silent in our hearts and in our lives is an emergent situation and is a matter of life or death. We need to react and seek God with all our beings and run toward the spiritual food and nourishment that we need!
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” – Galations 5:16-17
FLESH VS SPIRIT
The bible lets us know that we are spirits. Our physical bodies are nothing but “dust suits!” The person you are is your spiritual man inside. So our top priority should be to take care of our souls and spirits. If we’re honest with ourselves, most of our spiritual beings are starving at the moment! Our spirits are absolutely emaciated! They are gasping for air! They want food! They need food! They are weak and in need of strength. So why aren’t we feeding our spirits? Why do we continue to starve them? Honestly I think most of us have gotten to the point where our spiritual man has become used to the starvation. We have become used to making excuses like “Man I’m too busy to study my bible.” Or “Man all that church and bible stuff is boring. I have better things I could be doing.” All the while we’re walking around looking like some spiritual skeletons! How foolish are we?
Imagine yourself going weeks without eating and one of your friends comes to you and says, “What’s wrong with you? You look horrible. Your eyes are sunken in, your rib cage is showing, you’re out of breath, and you look like you’re about to fall over just from walking!” And you reply, “I’m not eating.” Your friend looks at you completely flabbergasted! “What is wrong with you! Don’t you know you could kill yourself?” And you reply, “Well I really don’t have time to eat, I’m too busy. Or I just don’t feel like eating anymore, it’s boring.” Yea you see how foolish this story sounds and looks! Absolutely absurd…yet most of us do this to ourselves spiritually EVERY SINGLE DAY. When will we stop? When will we stop killing our spiritual man?
“Quench not the Spirit.” -1 Thessalonians 5:19
THE PROGRESSIVE NATURE OF SPIRITUAL STARVATION AND WEAKNESS
Physical weakness doesn’t happen overnight. It’s progressive. Each day the less we use a muscle the more it gets weak. Muscle fibers have to continue to be stretched to their capacity in order to grow and become stronger. As is the same spiritually. We have to constantly feed ourselves spiritually and stretch our spiritual muscles so they can become stronger. We have to stop making excuses and realize that saving and feeding our spiritual man is one of the most important things! We could have been spiritually strong at one point but if we don’t consistently feed our spiritual man on a daily basis…WE WILL BECOME WEAK! Just like when we’re physically hungry we react and make time to get the food that we want and need for our bodies. WE must develop that same attitude when it comes to our spiritual man. The moment our spirit cries out for food we must feed it and stop skipping out on meals. Make time to feed yourself spiritually. That 30 minutes of prayer and meditation before you go to work or school…you need that! That day of solitary confinement where you turn off everything and just commune and worship with the Lord…you need that! That godly fellowship with your brothers and sisters and Christ…you need that! Those moments of deep study with God and His word…you need that! Each time we feed our spiritual man we are strengthening ourselves in God and equipping ourselves to defeat and overcome the temptations of the enemy.
“Therefore rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” -1 Peter 2:1-2
TAKING SPIRITUAL RESPONSIBILITY
We can’t blame anyone else for our poor spiritual decisions and our spiritual starvation except ourselves. We have a choice to feed our flesh or to feed our spirit. Whichever one we feed the most in our lives will be the one that will be the strongest. If we choose not to feed our spirits it will be evident in our daily lives. So many times we have the nerve to get upset when we fall into temptation or we don’t have the strength to overcome life challenges. Duhh?! What else would we expect to happen? Our spirits have no strength to fight because we’ve starved it. You may think this is a bit comical but its real life. “We are what we feed!” You want to know why you are spiritually starving? Ask yourself , “What have I been eating and feeding? The flesh or the spirit?”
I remember many moments I fell into Satan’s traps were moments when I was spiritually weak. I hadn’t been studying the word like I should, I had slowly stopped indulging in spiritual fellowship and I had lost my desire to spiritually grow. It was then that Satan pounced on me like a ravaging lion! He absolutely ripped me to shreds and showed me no mercy. After it was all said and done he laughed about it while I cried in my pool of tears! I thought to myself, “How in the world did I get here? How did this happen? I never imagined I would sin in this way or do these things. This isn’t me.” My spiritual pitfalls brought great hurt but ultimately they helped me to see the importance of feasting on the word of God and communing with Him on a daily basis. I want to encourage you my friend that feeding your spirit is so crucial to your well-being! It’s truly a decision of life or death! There’s nothing more saddening than to waste life feeding the flesh and starving your spiritual man. For when we die it is our souls that will remain not our physical bodies and fleshy desires.
“You however are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.” –Romans 8:9-1
THE RECIPE FOR SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT
God’s proposed solution is to apply the concept of starvation to our fleshly and evil desires and only choose to respond to the hunger calls of our spiritual man. That’s what it means to truly live. That means every day we should crucify our flesh and only seek to feed our spiritual man with the fruit of the Lord. Consistency is key! So many times we start off good. We go a week or even two, reading our bibles daily, attending worship regularly, surrounding ourselves with godly fellowship, but then somehow we fall off. The key to developing consistency is making something a lifestyle and not just a momentary decision. Feeding our spirits should be a lifestyle. It should be so apart of us…that every part of our lives are affected. That means from the moment we open our eyes in the morning to the moment we lay down to close our eyes we should make every effort to look and even set out opportunities to feed our spirit. In those moments where our flesh tries to cry out…we should starve it…completely!
“Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what the nature desires, but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” -Romans 8:5
EAT SPIRITUAL FOOD AND THROW AWAY THE JUNK FOOD
If we want to truly remain alive in Christ we must eat the spiritual food that gives us life…which is the Word of God. God’s word is the very definition of life and nourishment. Without it we will spiritually die. That’s why it’s imperative for us to feast on it EVERY SINGLE DAY. We don’t skip any physical meals so there should be no reason why we skip spiritual meals. Just like we eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack throughout the day we need to have that same concept when it comes to our spiritual meals. That means we need to set aside time in our days to feast on God’s word and have full course meals with the Lord. Just like with full course meals there’s always an appetizer, an entrée, then a dessert…we have to make sure we get our FULL COURSE SPIRITUAL MEAL. The appetizer may be listening to your favorite spiritual song, the entrée may include studying a particular passage, topic, or chapter in the bible, and the dessert may include prayer and meditation time with the Lord. Your snacks can include looking at scriptures on your phone during your breaks at work or listening to a short sermon. Whatever it is, we just have to make sure we make time to get our spiritual grub on with the Lord.
We must also remember that if we want to remain spiritually nourished and healthy we have to throw away the junk food in our lives. Junk food may initially taste good, but it brings no true nourishment…only temporary pleasure and future tummy aches. Just like our body needs true nourishment our spirit needs the same. That means certain things we shouldn’t indulge in or feast on because they will cause us to become spiritually sick. Yes that means, certain music, certain tv shows, certain movies, certain conversations and certain physical company we cannot welcome in our lives. Trash in the mind means trash will come out the mind. So we have to eliminate anything in our lives that will not add to our spiritual health, well-being, and nourishment.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” –Galatians 5:22-25
DIGEST THE SPIRITUAL FOOD DON’T’ JUST REGURITATE THE SPRITIAUL FOOD
Last but not least, it’s important to not just read the word or just hear the word but truly digest the word of God in your life. True nourishment comes through our physical bodies when we take in the food and allow that food to be broken down and then digested in our bodies. Once the food is processed and digested… it is able to travel throughout the whole body and give optimal nourishment throughout our whole physical being. This concept applies to us spiritually. It takes more than just reading the bible and regurgitating and quoting scripture. True spiritual digestion takes place when we demonstrate spiritual application in our lives. Spiritual digestion takes place when we allow the Word of God to break down and work on our hearts. We have to meditate on it, and allow the word to truly transform us from the inside out. After we allow the Word of God to transform and nourish our hearts we can begin to reap the benefits of true spiritual nourishment. So we must always remember to actively live out the Word and practice the Word of the Lord in our daily lives.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” –James 1:22
MY ENCOURAGEMENT TO YOU
My encouragement to you is to NEVER let a day go by without feeding your spirit. God’s Spirit inside of you is the most important thing in life. If it dies, you aren’t alive. Every day wake up with the mindset that says, “I will kill the flesh, and give life to my spirit.” I’m praying for you! I know it may not be easy but God is faithful. Never stop feasting on the word of the Lord, for in due time He will give you your reward. Be encouraged my friend!
“No matter how tempting, don’t eat the junk food of the world. Feast on the Fruit of the Lord!”
“For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” -Romans 8:13