I’m looking over the labels on my daily vitamin supplements: calcium reduces the risk of osteoporosis; vitamin E promotes heart health; B Complex energizes metabolism and strengthens the nervous system. All important components for maintaining a healthy body. But what about my spiritual body? What keeps my walk with Christ from becoming as rigid and inflexible as calcified bones? What prevents the beat of irregular moods from setting off an emotional heart attack? How do I “keep going” like a Spiritual Energizer Bunny when circumstances have sapped my last ounce of faith?
Brother Lawrence offers some nutritional advice to help us avoid spiritual deficiency. He says that “we must nourish our souls with a lofty idea of God.…” Yet how do we intentionally do that? It seems a lot easier to cram our lives with the empty calories of mindless pleasure and busyness than to consume spirit-healthy nutrients.
A look at Psalm 103 may help us put Brother Lawrence’s encouragement into practice.
The psalmist begins by telling his soul to “Praise the Lord…and forget not all his benefits”— benefits like forgiveness, health, and redemption (verse 2); love and compassion, satisfaction of his desires, and even reinvigoration of his youth (verses 3-5). Acknowledging God’s specific benefits offers us a new menu, one that is rich in the life-giving forces of gratitude and humility.
But the psalmist doesn’t stop there. His personal experience of God’s goodness serves as a springboard of praise for who He is to all mankind. God’s righteousness and justice extends to all who are oppressed. He treats none of us as our sins deserve. His love for those who fear him reaches as “high as the heavens.” And in contrast to man’s quickly fading span on earth, the Lord—and his covenant—lasts forever (verses 6-17).
Lofty ideas of God? Indeed. Exhaustive? Not even a little bit. But it’s a fine place to start if we want to prioritize the nourishment of our souls. So the next time you’re tempted to indulge in “junk food” that robs you of spiritual vitality or consume media sources that “makes sin look normal,” resist! You have the choice to opt for a better diet, a choice to…
Taste and see that the Lord is good….