Abstinent Today:

I am a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more* day at a time.  †

I was considering how I might display my love for God, and it occurred to me that I cannot hug my unseen God.  Expressions of love common to humans seems impossible in a relationship with a God who is Spirit.  Then all the Scripture references that refer to loving and encouraging one another washed into my mind, as I considered all the people around me conduits of love toward God, each one an opportunity to touch the face of Him, to hug the neck of the One who saves me.  I was renewed with joy, power and purpose, as this realization really dawned on me.  Even as I write it, it seems elementary in its spiritual truth, but it was overwhelming as the reality of it was birthed in my soul.

40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ (Matthew 25:40, NASB)

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“The list is long and growing daily.… I am blessed with the power of choice; an ‘attitude of gratitude’ is the one that serves me best.” — Abstinence, p. 157

I am a kid at heart who loves being a daddy, so when it comes to lessons like this, occasionally my brain recalls Veggietales episodes I have watched with my kids.  The choice of gratitude conjures up the plump, self-indulgent Madame Blueberry, who was convinced her feelings of emptiness could be satiated with more stuff from Stuff-Mart.  She learned gratitude from a sweet little girl (an onion shoot maybe?) who demonstrated she could be thankful even with little, because the day was filled with things for which to be thankful if she made the choice to be.

From Proverbs 11, NIV:

The integrity of the upright guides them,
but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.

I visited a church I don’t normally attend this morning, to participate in a blessing of my precious bride and the people with whom she works.  While I observed the goings-on during the first portion of the service, I was dismayed by the resources and energy spent to create a sensational experience.  My ears and eyes received a workout from all the stimulus of lights, camera and action.  Even the pounding of the rhythm on my skin were entertaining to the point of distraction as I wondered if it is possible for the senses of our flesh to be so entertained that our spirit’s ability to discern the move of God is diminished.  As I worshipped in my way as best I could in the midst of what I can only describe as “a joyful noise” I saw the line drawn just a little more distinctly between the physical and the spiritual realms, and I hurt for those whose experiences were merely physical.  The irony of the morning was that the preacher of that church taught on the importance of nurturing the spiritual and denying the physical.  It was to me a confirmation of the Holy Spirit’s teaching point to me.  I was troubled by the enigma of man, who becomes confused trying to serve both spirit and flesh.  It is this duplicity of mankind, the wanting something higher but never sacrificing the lower, that destroys them.  Satan doesn’t need us to serve him; he is content to have us serve ourselves.  Like a frightened child on a sinking ship who will not let go of his “security” until the weight of the wreck draws him to a crushing death, we humans tend to hold too tightly to the circumstantial trappings and the mirage of security we have developed around us to fully grasp the spiritual deliverance that awaits.

From my reading through the Bible, currently in James 4, NIV:

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

As if to answer the dilemma of duplicitous man, this spiritual salvation of God comes just in time!  Relationship with God through submission which leads to purification is the answer to all my human faults, frailties and fears.  James put the distinction more directly than in just this passage, in verse 4 he accused the duplicitous man who serves both self and spirit as “adulterous,” and any friend of this world “an enemy of God”.  Those seem like harsh words, but it takes harsh to break through the think head of this human.

Thank You, Heavenly Father, for coming near to me though I am filthy with the stain of this world.  Please wash me so that I will be clean and acceptable to join You in Your presence.  Rebuke the devourer from off my life, family and home, and bring me to a unified purpose by Your Spirit, to purify my spirit and serve the spirits of those with whom I have contact.  Help me not become distracted by the things of earth while I wait for perfect unity with You.

From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous page84:

The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it.

 

Footnotes:

*Abstinence began for me on May 11th, 2010.

† For the sake of accountability, the details of my eating are posted in my online food log.

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