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« The Offense of Christ | Main | Breaking Rules »

Dietary Supplements for the Soul

Vitamins and dietary supplements are all the rage today, due to the lack of quality in much of our food.  Our grocery shopping habits lead us to buy processed foods, foods with non-organic additives and produce from corporate farms that are more mindful of dollars than quality.  While we must continue to eat meats, vegetables and other primary foods, more and more we are supplementing these main courses with ingredients that have been stripped from them.  It’s a daunting task; the sheer array of choices staggers the mind (specialized stores exist that only sell food supplements), but with a little research and advice, we can usually figure out what we should get. 

But, what about our spiritual diet?  Far too many believers live in survival mode, eating only the main course of prayer, hearing preaching and attending church.   These necessities may keep them alive, but they need spiritual supplements to grow and thrive.  I compare them to patients in the hospitals versus workers in the factories and offices.  You may be spiritually alive—and not much more than that—but, you need to enhance your soul with some supplements that will give you what you may be missing.  Here are some suggestions to get you going.

Memorize the Word.  Committing the Word of God to memory serves as a pantry for your life.  The Bible passages remain on the shelf until the time comes when you need them.  Memorizing is easier than you think.  Get some help if you need to.  Time is never wasted when you memorize Bible verses.

Manage your days.  You wouldn’t eat anything at any time you have a whim; you eat certain things at certain times of the day.  Likewise, avoid chaotic consumption of spiritual junk in your daily life.  Planning may seem like drudgery, but you will love the end result and the feeling of accomplishment.

Witness.  Telling a hungry soul about Jesus injects purpose and enthusiasm into your life.  You have a story to tell, and you will spice up your own life each time you tell it.  It is the impact you have on others that makes you feel like a significant person.  Don’t withdraw from life; engage life by interacting with other people. 

Read a book.  Your life consists of the people you meet and the books you read.  Books feed your natural craving for knowledge.  They help you stay fresh, alive, alert and informed.  They keep you from being stale, dull and predictable.  The most interesting people are people who read.

Read a daily devotional.  Each day is different, so a specific thought or idea for any given day may be exactly what you need to keep you going.   

Subscribe to spiritual magazines.  Keeping up with current news, reading about concepts or events that are generating widespread interest, and gleaning ideas from the thoughts of writers will enrich your soul.  Often, you will find that the popular take on a story may not be accurate.  Stay plugged in.

Listen to recorded sermons.  Hundreds of CD’s and DVD’s are available to broaden your spiritual horizon.  Some preacher may address the very subject that has concerned or confused you.  Hearing the Word in sermon form allows you to feel the passion in the message as well as the words of the message.

Meditate.  You read for knowledge and information; you meditate for meaning and experience.  The Word used for knowledge is important, but you meditate on the Word, it soaks into the very fiber of your spirit and soul.  Meditation makes you slow down helps you to build bridges and discover connections with other passages of Scripture. 

Listen to spiritual music.  Music nourishes the soul.  It fulfills the emotional needs of your life in ways that the spoken word cannot.  Music in the background tends to fill in the cracks and the blank areas of your life.  It’s like a color photograph rather than a black-and-white picture.  Music may form the closest bond that the human spirit can have with the divine.

Write or keep a journal.  Thoughts are treasures.  Unless you preserve them, you will lose them.  How often have you had a profound thought that totally escapes you a day later?  Writing out your ideas gives them structure and substance.  Don’t worry about your grammar or sentence construction.  Those details are minor.  In this instance, it truly is the thought that counts.

Adopt a missionary friend and correspond with him/her.  Anytime you can identify a specific friend, you will develop a keen interest in that place.  Knowing what a missionary needs on a more personal basis will add a dimension to your life that general knowledge about a mission field cannot create.

Converse with others about your faith.   In a word, talk!  The reason many people don’t talk is that they don’t think anyone else is interested in what they have to say.  Not true!  Talk about your faith.  Talk about your experiences.  Ask questions about the other person and find out what they think or believe.  It will become the basis for dialogue and will make your life purposeful and inviting.

Get involved in a ministry.  Throw yourself into a ministry that will made demands on your time, finance and energy.  Failure to get involved leads to paralysis and isolation.  The default position for the uninvolved becomes selfish concerns.  When you get involved, however, you make contributions that highlight your skills and talents.  Using those attributes brings a huge amount of satisfaction to your spiritual well-being.

Do good deeds.  Look around you.  Even casual observation will notice needs, problems and sad situation that must have attention.  When you lift a hand to help, you will elevate your own spirit.  The only way to feel good about helping someone is to help someone!  There is no feeling without the actual accomplishment.

Encourage.  Be a lifter, an encourager, a person who strengthens.  Criticism should be a last resort in your dealings with others.  As you encourage, you will find that you have much more influence than you might have imagined. 

All or any one of these actions will make your world a better place, but they will have an even greater impact on you than others.  They will not replace the main course of spiritual meals in your life, but they will make you feel stronger, more alive and more useful in the kingdom of God.  Your goal should not be to live at a subsistence level.  Live revived and thriving!  You should feel challenged, your talents should be tapped to the limits, and your imprint on the world should be the result of all-out living for God! 

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