Detox – Body
When God designed humankind, He first created the body (“from the dust of the ground”), and then filled that body with a spirit and a soul. The body God made for you is both the place of your personal presence and a temple where the Holy Spirit lives within you. So it’s important to learn how to use it well when living out your faith. Just as your physical body needs the occasional removal of toxins, poisons, and other unhealthy or hazardous substances, so also does our spiritual body need a detox.
Bottom Line: Starve it, Feed it.
Something To Talk About:
As I discussed in my message on Sunday, there are numerous temptations that face us as Christians today. The apostle Paul discusses some of the temptations that all people struggle against: “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” (Galatians 5:19-21). It can be frustrating to intensely want to overcome a temptation and then fail again and again. This can be especially hard if you are a Christian and feel discouraged because you want to grow in the Lord. So how do we overcome sinful temptations? Do we try harder? Or work at it longer? Or fight with more intensity? No. Because no matter how macho, religious or strong we think we are, it just isn’t enough. We need God’s help. Only the Holy Spirit can produce righteousness in us and through us.
Many of us are struggling with the flesh over and over because we have done nothing to defend or protect ourselves. On Sunday, I talked about three practical steps that will help you when you are tempted. “…that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable…” (1 Thessalonians 4:4-5)
- Feed yourself honesty: If I asked you to do an evaluation of yourself as a person and as a Christian, would they be the same or would they be two different, distinct evaluations? Taking inventory or a self-evaluation is a continuing responsibility for every Christian. In Galatians 6:3-4 (MSG) Paul wrote, “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” The responsibility to “make a careful exploration” is the responsibility to evaluate one’s own deeds and actions as a means of coming to grips with our weaknesses and faults and as protection against self-deceit. We need to be honest about our struggles and the times we are most at risk.
- Feed yourself discipline: There is no such thing as instant godliness. There are no “one minute,” “thirty days,” or “three easy steps” to a life of righteousness that pleases God. That is not the way God planned our sanctification. We have spent a lifetime developing patterns of sinful attitudes, thinking and behaviors. These habits will not be broken and replaced with godly behavior and thinking without commitment and discipline. Discipline is that determined effort on our part that corrects, molds and perfects our character. Discipline puts into daily practice our commitment to live a godly life. Once we develop those disciplines, they can lead to vital behaviors. Vital behaviors tell you what to do when you are at risk. They are the guardrails that keep you from getting too close to danger.
- Feed yourself focus: This simply means to change the way we think and to change the way we act. Or said another way, “I’m not going to change what the Word is telling me, but allow the word to change my way of thinking.” If your thinking is in line with the Bible then your actions would follow suit to your thinking. But, the opposite is true; if your thinking doesn’t line up with the word then your action, emotions and/or decisions come into play. We have to get our thoughts lined-up with God’s thoughts; we must have our minds lined up with God’s mind. “Let the Spirit change your way of thinking” (Ephesians 4:23 CEV). Romans 12-2 (NLT) tells us, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Better focus leads to better choices. What will my life look like in 20 years if I don’t make any changes? If I don’t fight this addiction, this relationship problem, dealing with my child, etc., what will my life look like in 20 years. The answer may be both sobering and motivating.
- Honest, regular assessment of our spiritual lives is crucial. How would you do a spiritual self-evaluation? What would you use as a baseline?
- If you knew you had one year to live, how would your evaluation be different? How about one month? One week?
- How would you rate discipline in your self-evaluation? What disciplines in your life do you see as needing improvement?
- How do we find the balance between being disciplined and being driven?
- Read Romans 7:15-20: What is this passage of scripture telling you?
- How can we get better at improving our focus (changing our thinking)?
- Pray and ask God to give you the tools to overcome the temptations of life.
Take One Thing Home with You
To remove toxins from our body, and our spirit and soul for that matter, we have to keep our eye on the prize. Hebrews 2:1 tells us, “We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.“ It is easy to drift, allowing little compromises to allow toxins in our life. No one wakes up saying, “I’m going to open the door and let sone toxins into my life today.” No. The toxins seep in little by little because we have not kept our eye on the prize.
The purpose of the Detox series was to help you identify the toxins in your being and then help you remove them. My prayer is that you have put into practice the ideas of how to remove toxins in your life. My prayer is also that you keep your eyes focused on “winning the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)
Maybe you are at the point where you think the toxins have taken over in your life. Maybe you are at the point of no return so you took your eye off the prize. Maybe you have been fighting the toxins for a long time. Maybe you stumbled, and failed in your attempts to remove the toxins. Here is the good news. There’s a Savior to serve and a prize to be won. Run in such a way as to finish the race and win the prize. We’ve talked about getting rid of the things that hold you back, putting your past behind you and moving forward in God’s grace. Pray and ask for God’s help to remove the toxins and return your body, spirit and soul to pressing toward the prize.