Spiritual Life Struggling? Here’s Why:

two dogs

Imagine you are holding two leashes. At the end of each leash is a puppy.

Now imagine that each time you feed one of the puppies, give it attention, and focus your energy on it, that puppy grows significantly.

One of the puppies is a little easier to feed than the other. It begins to grow, and as it grows it becomes more docile and easy going.

It starts to grow bigger and bigger, it’s not a puppy anymore, it’s a full grown pit bull. It’s stronger than the other dog, and begins to pull on you harder than the other dog.

Next thing you know this dog is leading you, dragging you where it thinks you should go, you’ve lost all control, it’s the boss now.

Galatians 6:8 makes this promise: “For he who sows to his own flesh (lower nature, sensuality) will from the flesh reap decay and ruin and destruction, but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

A lot of us Christians have heard that scripture and think we understand it.

But we’ve been missing it.

We read that scripture in our heads thinking that “sowing to flesh and reaping destruction” means if I get drunk, party, do drugs, have sex outside marriage and go crazy, then yes I’ll reap destruction and ruin.

That viewpoint is easy to swallow, that’s easy to grasp. We get that.

BUT, allow me to shed some new light on this scripture.

 

“Sowing to your flesh” simply means doing things that please your flesh, your carnal mind, your emotions.

You are making the decision to do things for the sole purpose of your pleasure.

In the illustration above, imagine that one of those puppies is named “flesh” and the other is named “spirit.”

The one you feed, grows stronger.

Here’s what feeding your flesh looks like in most of our lives:

We constantly consume music that speaks opposite of the Word, we constantly consume shows, movies, and books that may not be “that bad” for us, as we’ve become numb to the cussing, the racy scenes, the violent murders etc…so we just tell ourselves “they aren’t that big of a deal.”

Think about shows like “King of Queens” with Kevin James, watching that show basically plops you right in the middle of a horrible, disrespectful, untrusting marriage, but then spins this all-too-common reality as a comedy, and we all laugh at it, because somehow that’s funny, and then half of all marriages end in divorce.

When we watch things like that, it sinks in a little bit, it does just a little bit of damage to your spirit life.

Movies with inappropriate jokes and adult humor, nudity = feeding your flesh.

Reading fiction novels and books = feeding your flesh.

Coarse and dirty jokes = feeding your flesh.

Binge watching netflix = feeding your flesh.

Zoning out to facebook on your phone for an hour = feeding your flesh.

You get the point.

Each time you partake in one of those activities your “flesh” is growing stronger and bigger.

Feed it too much and it will beat out your spirit man every time.

The bigger it grows, the more attention it demands, the more strength and pull it has in your life, and the more you feed it, the more you WANT to feed it. It feels good to feed it.

Think about it, the more you zone out on the couch to old episodes of Seinfeld or rewatch the first 5 seasons of The Bachelor, it gets easier to do it again tomorrow night.

Several years ago, there were crazy snow storms that I let prevent me from going to church. Perhaps the first Sunday was justified, I couldn’t even get out of my driveway. “I’ll just watch service online this week,” I thought to myself.

Well the following Sunday there was another small snow storm, and I just thought, “I’ll just watch service online this week.” I’m sure I could probably make it out but…I’ll just stay in, it’ll be fine.

By the next week, the snow had pretty much melted, but when Sunday rolled around, I thought of how nice and cozy it would be to stay in, watch the service from my laptop, drink coffee, get breakfast, never get out of my PJs…

The more I gave way to this comfort, THE EASIER IT BECAME. I remember recognizing this and then forcing myself to go to church just to break out of this mindset! I remember how hard it was, which is crazy because I LOVE going to church and I know the power in physically being at your local church.

You see things like that don’t seem like that “big of a deal.”

But one of these days, you’ll look up and realize that you are in a place you never wanted to be.

You are doing things you thought you’d never do.

You’re saying things you never thought you’d say, and making decisions you said you’d never make.

There was a time when you were at church every time the doors were open. All you wanted to do was be at church and sit under God’s word.

All you thought about, all you spoke about was faith and the great things of God.

What happened?

Your flesh became your boss and you didn’t realize it.

Now I’m not saying you can’t partake in watching (appropriate) movies or reading books and enjoying some relax time.  I cruise Facebook and Instagram, I’ll pop in some Garth Brooks from time to time.

But we HAVE to make “feeding our spirit” a priority.

It must get fed first, and it must get fed the most.

At the bare minimum if you want to protect yourself from the trap of falling under control of your flesh, then you have to keep the ratio AT LEAST 60/40.

60% of your time feeding your spirit, 40% your flesh. Your spirit must have the priority if you want to live a life of fulfillment, peace, prosperity, and true enjoyment!

There’s no way around it, it’s the only way you’ll have a life of peace and prosperity.

How to stop the struggle

Here’s your game plan: I want you to inventory your time for one week.

Track how much time you spend in:

  • Prayer
  • Reading the Word
  • Listen to faith based podcasts
  • Listening to praise and worship music
  • At church serving
  • At church just listening and taking notes
  • Reading faith based books that help you grow in your spiritual life

Next track how much time you spend:

  • Listening to secular music (including your drive to work)
  • Watching rated R movies
  • Watching TV shows (including Netflix!)
  • Scrolling on Facebook
  • Talking bad about someone
  • Complaining about work or your circumstances
  • Reading books for entertainment value
  • Sleeping in

I’m serious, really do this. This isn’t just a good idea, this WILL change your life.

If you KNOW that you are not where you should be spiritually, I GUARANTEE you are giving your flesh priority.

You’re feeding it without even knowing it, you may not be doing anything “really bad” but you are feeding it little by little, day after day, by doing the things listed above, by living a life of constant comfort and convenience.

It’s grown bigger than you’ve realized. It has more power than you know.

Get started now!

Start by just replacing ONE of those things on the “flesh list” with one thing from the “spirit list.”

Tonight when you find yourself plopping down on the couch after work, and instinctively pulling out your phone to see what’s up on Facebook, catch yourself and replace that activity with listening to a podcast.

Tomorrow, replace sleeping in till the last possible second, with putting on some praise and worship and praying for just 5 minutes.

Start small, start recognizing these things that feed your flesh and replace them one by one.

Here’s the secret:

The one you feed most, becomes the one you WANT to feed. It becomes easier to feed, you will look forward to feeding it!

When you start feeding your spirit, your flesh will scream at you, you won’t want to feed your spirit at first. This is normal.

Remember you’re used to giving your flesh whatever it wants, so all of a sudden when it’s not getting the attention it’s used to, it will reach out and try to grab you!

Press on, go against your flesh. It will be hard for about three days, But on that fourth day, things will start to flip, you’ll start craving time alone with God, you’ll WANT to feed your spirit!

Trust me, I’ve made this transition myself. (And still working on it!)  You can do this, and it is MORE than worth it. Make sowing to your spirit a habit.

You’ll reap true, everlasting life and your spiritual life will be stronger than you’ve ever imagined, and when your spirit life is strong, that’s when LIFE GETS REALLY GOOD.

You guys are awesome.

Talk soon,

-Travis

Here’s what to read next:  “Why I Tithe.” 

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