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Day by Day - Apr. 20, 2009

April 20, 2009

Priorities of Spiritual Nourishment
by Charles R. Swindoll

1 Timothy 4:6Psalms 55:22

No one can deny the importance of nutrition. Our level of energy, our ability to cope with life's challenges, and even our mental attitude are directly linked to the proper intake of the right foods eaten regularly and in proper amounts.

We've all experienced times when we have not eaten a balanced diet or we've eaten too many sweets or we've been in a hurry and completely skipped a meal. Invariably, we have endured the consequences of feeling sick, light-headed, and occasionally depressed, or we became irritated and jumpy, sometimes we got a little shaky---in our family, we call that "getting the jitters." It's the body's way of letting us know that it's lacking nourishment. It's a fact: "optimal health requires optimal nutrition."

The same is true spiritually speaking. Without sufficient and regular nutrition, our inner life begins to suffer the consequences. Our souls long to be fed, nourished, and energized on a regular basis. When we fail to set aside time to absorb healthy spiritual food, it isn't long before the consequences kick in . . . and it's not a pretty sight. We start to operate in the flesh rather than under the control of God's Spirit. We get shallow and selfish, more demanding and less gentle, quick to react impatiently, rashly, angrily. These are all signs of inner malnutrition.

For the next few moments let's think about what's needed to maintain a healthy level of spiritual nutrition. It isn't rocket science.

1. We need a regular diet of God's Word. Just as we must eat each day, so we must take the time to read the Scriptures each day. Our souls must be "nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine" (1 Timothy 4:6).

2. We need to pray regularly. In reading the Bible, God speaks to us; in prayer, we speak to Him. Prayer helps us realign our lives to the Lord's timing and direction. It also shifts the load off our shoulders and onto His. David wrote, "Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you" (Psalm 55:22).

3. We need time to be still, to meditate on the things of God. Such moments of quietness calm our nerves, clear our thinking, and enable us to refocus. After directing Joshua to structure his life around God's truth, the Lord added, "you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it" (Joshua 1:8). Tragically, meditation is a lost art of the twenty-first century. How few truly take time to "cease striving and know that [He is] God" (Psalm 46:10). How seldom do we make deliberate plans "to do according to all" that we have observed.

Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.

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