It’s no secret. I love food. I really love a good bread. I’m not a fan of plain water, unless it’s purified. A well made bread provides most of what the body needs in terms of solid food. Amazingly, H2O is all the body needs in terms of liquids. Bread and water are basically all you need, in sufficient amounts, to live and be healthy. Scripture compares God’s word to bread and the Holy Spirit to water. There are some interesting parallels between what happens to your physical body when you go without bread or water, and what happens to your spiritual life. There are also some interesting parallels on a church level as well.
The symptoms of malnutrition (not getting a sufficient amount of healthy food) are fatigue and low energy, emotional irritability, and dizziness/lightheadedness. The effects of malnutrition are a weak immune system, poor wound healing, and muscle weakness. You can make the same claims about your spiritual life if you don’t “eat” right. If you don’t get enough of the word, if you don’t chew on it yourself, digest it, process it, allow it to fuel your life, you will be a weak and cranky Christian.
The symptoms of dehydration are dry, sticky mouth, sleepiness or tiredness, thirst, decreased urine output, few or no tears when crying, dry skin, headache, constipation, and dizziness or lightheadedness. Again, transpose those over to a person’s spiritual life. Without the Holy Spirit, these kinds of things will be true in your life, even the decreased urine output and constipation. What does that have to do with anything? It means that poisons or toxins that find their way into your “body” won’t be eliminated and will instead build up.
There are many Christians who are doing well in the food department but still feel like something is missing, and it’s because they are dehydrated spiritually. There are many Christians who are doing well in the water department, but have no solidity in their lives and it’s because they are malnourished in the area of the word. What is needed is a balance. We need bread and water in sufficient amounts, in balanced amounts, in order to be healthy, active, and productive followers of Jesus. Take a look at yourself on a personal level. Where are you weak? Are you malnourished? Are you dehydrated? Are you getting just enough of both to survive but not really thrive?
Some churches are very strong in the area of the word/bread. People know the word, they teach the word, they read the word, they get plenty of the word. But they are severely dehydrated. Other churches are very strong in the area of the Holy Spirit/water. The water flows, there is a lot of splashing going on, and no one is thirsty. But they suffer from severe malnutrition. In each case they usually don’t know what it is that they are missing so they keep filling themselves with either more food or more water, thinking that’s the answer. More Bible studies that have no power, or going deeper into the things of the Spirit without any substance. What is needed is a more balanced diet.
As I look at the church that I am a part of, and as I look at myself, I can see that I/we tend to lean toward the bread/word side of things. The thing is that the word, and only the word, is not enough. It needs the balance of water, of the Holy Spirit. We are dehydrated. I am dehydrated. I/We are tired, thirsty, dry, constipated, and crying but without tears. The answer is simple; drink. Pray for the refreshing and filling of the Spirit. When you get thirsty again you drink some more.
Eat, drink, and live. There is some depth in that simplicity.