In A Nutshell | January 7, 2022

Time to Trim the Excess and Fortify Our Faith in 2022

Another joyous Christmas holiday has come and gone, and once again I am feeling the effects of overindulgence. It usually begins with a Thanksgiving Day feast — complete with turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes — and concludes five or six weeks later with a hearty New Year’s Day entrée of pork and sauerkraut. Along the way, there are endless varieties of cookies, cakes, candies, and other snacks that challenge my resolve and ultimately tempt me into submission.

Don’t get me wrong; I am very thankful for the bountiful feasts and the seemingly endless selection of delicacies and other treats, but how much can one person consume in such a relatively short span of time with out popping a button on one’s shirt or finding the need to loosen one’s belt buckle by another notch?

If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking about getting back into a fitness center or joining an aerobics class at the local YMCA while cutting some unneeded calories this month. Exercise is wonderful because it yields a healthier lifestyle. Likewise, reducing one’s caloric intake can lead to a more disciplined diet with healthier choices.

Not surprisingly, a similar routine would pay significant dividends in our spiritual life as well. Exercising our faith through consistent worship, intentional devotion, regular prayer, and active service would almost certainly strengthen our faith and fortify our efforts to live a life of obedience. At the same time, reducing, if not eliminating, those
things that contaminate our spirit and pollute our soul would bring us closer in our
relationship with the Lord.

The Bible addresses the perils of overindulgence in numerous passages, perhaps nowhere more eloquently than in Galatians 5:16-21, which states: “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.   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. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

It is an ominous but insightful passage, which confirms that the Spirit and the flesh cannot live together in harmony. We must choose one over the other. So, now that we are one week into the new year, there’s still plenty of time to pursue that which is good and avoid that which is evil, not with futile resolutions, but instead through a renewed commitment to God’s Sacred, Holy, and Transformational Word.

We can make a difference in our lives and in the lives of others if we recommit to a life without worldly excess and replace it with spiritual abundance. This is an opportunity for us to rid ourselves of the waste and to embrace the benefits of spiritual nourishment and growth, and what better time than during the early days of the new year.

Until We Meet Again, Be Blessed! – Pastor John

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