Detoxify Your Soul
- Thursday, April 05, 2012
Editor's note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Craig Groeschel's new book, Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World (Zondervan, 2012).
You wouldn’t intentionally eat or drink poison that could harm or destroy your body. Yet you may be consuming poison that’s hazardous to your soul without even realizing it.
Toxic attitudes, behaviors, and cultural influences that you allow into your life put your soul in danger. You can’t avoid contact with such toxins in this fallen world, but you don’t have to be contaminated by them. You can detoxify your soul and start experiencing the pure life that God wants you to enjoy. Here’s how:
Realize that everything counts. Absolutely everything that you allow into your mind and life has on impact on how you grow or don’t grow spiritually. The little choices that you make every day add up to a significant effect on your soul. So take your everyday decisions seriously.
Identify the lies that have deceived you, and replace them with the truth. Examine your life for toxic: behaviors (what you do that harms your spiritual effectiveness or distracts you from God’s purposes for your life), emotions (feelings that lead you away from God’s truth), and consumptions (media you consume and people you spend time with). Ask God to give you the wisdom you need to discern which of all of those are toxic to you.
Clean up your thoughts. Since spiritual battles are ultimately either won or lost in the mind, it’s crucial to pay attention to what thoughts you focus on. Your thoughts shape what kind of person you become. If you think unhealthy thoughts, you’ll become an unhealthy person. But if you think healthy thoughts that reflect God’s truth, you’ll become more like Jesus, as God intends you to become. Regularly pray for the ability to view the situations you encounter as God sees them so you can have the right perspective on them. Every day, ask God to show you which thoughts that enter your mind are unholy and displeasing to Him. Whenever you identify wrong thoughts, take action to replace them with right ones. Choose to focus only on thoughts about what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. Spend time meditating on God’s wonderful qualities; the more you think about God, the more peace will enter your mind.
Choose positive words and avoid negative words. Recognize the incredible power of words to bring about either good or evil. Positive words create and heal, while negative words harm and destroy. So throughout each day when you’re speaking or writing, choose to communicate positive words to others as much as possible. When you hear the words that other people communicate to you, carefully analyze them to determine whether or not they actually reflect what’s true – and if so, embrace them, but if not, reject them. Pay attention to your self-talk as well, and ask God to help you say positive words to yourself in your mind.
Uncover your hidden sins. No sin is ever hidden from God, no matter how much you may deny it in your life or try to hide it from other people. God knows all of your sins and chooses to love you anyway, and He is always hoping that you will confess and repent of your sins so you can keep growing spiritually. So regularly confess your sins (to God and other Christians) and repent of them so you can receive forgiveness and healing.
Dig up bitter roots from your soul. When you allow bitterness to take root in your soul, it poisons you and blocks you from experiencing the grace God wants to give you. So get rid of bitterness by following God’s command to forgive people who have hurt you. You can rely on the strength that God will give you to forgive.
Get rid of envy. Envying people who have what you want but don’t have will only poison you. So stop comparing yourself and your life with other people and their lives. Instead, make a daily habit of noticing the many blessings that God brings into your life, and thanking God for them. Ask God to help you be content in all circumstances and trust that, in His great love and wisdom, He will always give you what’s best for you.
Express anger productively rather than destructively. It’s fine to feel angry, as long as you don’t sin because of the way you express your anger. Pray for the wisdom you need to discern the difference between constructive and destructive anger, and for the self-control you need to let go of destructive anger (anger that causes you to sin by hurting yourself and others). You can control your anger by making choices such as carefully listening and thinking to messages others are communicating to you before responding, so you calm down and respond without sinning. You can also redirect your anger by using anger as Jesus did: to fight injustice and work for righteousness. Ask God to make you angry about what angers Him, and then to use that anger to help bring about justice in the world.
Break free of fear. Whenever you feel afraid, remind yourself that fear never comes from God; it comes from evil. God gives you a spirit of power, love, and peace – not fear. Rather than placing your faith in all the “what-ifs” of life and feeling afraid of what may or may not happen, place your faith in God who is in charge of your future and wants what’s best for you. Pay attention to specific, persistent fears in your life, because they reveal the areas in which you’re trusting God the least. Pray about each area you identify as a problem, surrendering each one specifically to God and asking Him to help you trust Him more with it. Then be diligent about seeking God so you can consistently grow closer to Him. The closer you become to God, the less you’ll struggle with fear.
Get rid of toxic influences on your life. Break free of materialism and look to God (instead of money and possessions) to meet your needs for happiness, significance, and security. Whenever you consume media of any kind (from television shows and songs to Internet articles and books), honestly ask yourself: “Am I being entertained by sin?”, Is this pleasing to God?”, and “Does this lure me away from Jesus?”. Then stop consuming media that you recognize is toxic to you. Since bad company corrupts good character, set boundaries to protect yourself from being influenced by unhealthy people, and cut off unhealthy relationships with people who are dangerous to your spiritual growth but won’t change. Ask God to show you when religion is corrupting the purity of the Gospel in your life, and to help you focus not on external behavior to try to earn God’s love, but on responding to the love that God has already given you by trusting Him in every part of your life.
Craig Groeschel is the founding and senior pastor of LifeChurch.tv, a pace-setting multi-campus church and creators of the popular and free YouVersion Bible App. He is the author of several books including Weird, The Christian Atheist and It. Craig, his wife, Amy, and their six children live in Edmond, Oklahoma. Visit his church’s website at: http://www.lifechurch.tv/.
Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles (http://angels.about.com/). Contact Whitney at: email@example.com to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer.
Publication date: April 5, 2012
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