I have been working for a year to improve my health. Tired of feeling tired and overweight (and on the advice of my doctor) I changed my dietary habits and have been eating more salads and vegetables, cutting out unhealthy, fatty foods. Because of this I am feeling much more energetic and healthier.
On Super Bowl Sunday I allowed myself to indulge in some fun foods – chowing down on chips and fatty meats. When I was done I felt sick.
It was very clear to me that if I went back to my old eating habits I would go back to feeling bad again. I need to keep avoiding those things that are not good for me.
Such good advice goes beyond eating. In his letter to the Romans Paul gives advice on spiritual health. What will happen if we live by the sinful nature? What happens if we put the sinful nature to death? What is said of those who live by the Spirit?
The Lenten journey is a journey toward perfection in Christ. The common practice of giving something up for Lent is an attempt to deny the sinful nature of our human side. We are to choose something to give up that we enjoy but that is not good for us. In so doing we are rejecting the sinful life.
In its place we should turn to God. When we find ourselves craving or desiring what we have denied ourselves we should go to the Lord in prayer and have the Spirit give us strength. This is a practice in denying the sinful nature and replacing it with a life that follows the Spirit.
The step must be made, however, from the tangible, real world into the spiritual world. Lent is more than just abandoning chocolate for forty days. It is a journey to develop the spiritual ability to resist our temptation to sin and become more devout and strong in our faith. It is less about food and more about the soul.
As we draw near to Easter let us work to walk in the Spirit, becoming children of God, and defy the control of our sinful nature.
DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you put to death the sinful nature?