Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Constant Nourishment part 2

So at the bottom of the food guide pyramid we have bread grains, and of course water. Spiritually speaking Christ is the bread of life, He is living water, and both of these are used in the weekly sacrament meeting. He should be the foundation for our spiritual intake. Spiritually our daily diet should point to, teach of, increase light about, or testify of Christ. The first principles and ordinances of the Gospel I think were designed for this. Faith, Repentance, Baptism, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. These are always what our base spiritual diet should include. But what if these things are contaminated? They certainly have been in my experience, but no one really seems to want to point it out. So I'll at least attempt to.

If you can alter the principle in just such a way so as to strip it of it's power than the contamination is total, and we waste away with impurities. I think just such contamination cheats us of what we should have been receiving. If we center our spiritual faith in an institution, or in men, or in a charismatic leader, or in a philosophy not designed to ultimately lead us to God; we may be getting truth altering impurities and pseudo nourishment.

The day to day faith, the "Gospel at the Kitchen sink" the "Gospel in overalls" should be faith in none other than the Son of God, Jesus Christ. We can have more than prescribed beliefs, or a set of rules or moral standards to follow. We can have faith in someone that lives, moves and breathes. No one else, and certainly no thing, has salvation to offer. If and when a Priesthood key is used it's still God who is in charge of if, how, and the when as well as being the author. Our faith should therefore not become centered in a servant, even if it's one called by Him. We should consume spiritual food from and about Him, hence the scriptural teaching about living the commandments. They teach us His nature because He is the epitome of the commandments and God's will. He says to come and learn of Him..... says to Come and buy milk and honey without money and without price, he asks us to come, partake and delight in fatness. (2 Nephi 26:25) (2 Nephi 9:51) ...

Repentance fails to nourish if how it's taught is misleading, or is a method to further perfect your own ego and feel self satisfied compared to those around you. The cliche five or six R’s of repentance (recognition, remorse, restitution, reformation, resolution, etc.) so often heard can be meaningless steps that don't nourish the spirit. The nourishing kind of repentance in my experience always has one ingredient. And that is I learn something, usually something contrary to my culture, something I did not previously know or even have considered, it causes my eyebrows to raise and a whole new kind of thought or outlook. There's no forgetting lessons from the Spirit.  The personal change repentance calls us to make can be exciting and a joy.  I've experienced it, and it's not cliche. It truly nourishes.  I could tell God was pleased, and that brings joy this world simply cannot offer.  There are no words for it, except to tell someone to do what it takes to see for themself.   

Overcoming difficult personal or family challenges requires nourishment of a lasting nature. Learning like that is fun. It causes sense of a inward growth towards light, a shift in orientation, a purification of the heart, a profound moment of peace and rest, a shift or return to holiness. Hard to formalize and standardize that. And only we know what things deep down are truly amiss in our lives.  The Lord will show us how to overcome them through the process of repentance. Simply adhering to a code and trying harder when you mess up may eventually show you your weakness and lead to humility but learning, joy and added light should happen along the way if we want to be nourished spiritually.  Not just checking off boxes, or becomeing more self righteous. 

Baptism nourishes, and changes ones nature when done with both power and authority. But if you haven't repented, didn't know what it even meant when you were baptized, and more went along with family religious traditions instead of personal faith in Christ; it too will lack the right taste of truth and nourishment.  It's contaminated.  Taking the sacrament isn't the same as getting baptized. So trying to renew a baptism by a different ordianance may just strip the original ordinance of it's power. That too may further deprive us of nutrients if the baptism lacked ingredients and we then believe the common assumption going around that taking the sacrament substitutes for a re-baptism.

The gift of the Holy Ghost is clearly going to nourish when it's received. Spiritual gifts, healing, speaking in tongues, revelation, prophecy, etc.... these are nourishing. But how often do we see them from everyday members of the church? If we did, I think many would be fearful of them. We usually fear what we don't understand. Such would probably be the state of a people who are malnourished. We're probably deprived of spiritual nourishment if these are lacking in our experience. I've been inspired many times without being spiritually fed. Certain things in life are inspiring, or emotionally touching, but spiritual nourishment from the Gifts of the Spirit is something unique. They can be different for each person but the gifts are from God.

Probably more often than not those foundational elements to the Gospel are contaminated, and people endlessly rely on basics that aren't getting them pointed where everything in the Gospel is supposed to point. We as a people in effect are starving while thinking we are feasting on the basics.  It does work.  Whether it's by reading truth from the scriptures,music, an inspired talk or sermon, unexpected truth taught or delivered, daily prayer, service and pondering, we need constant nourishment. I believe the phrase I started the post with is true, we do need constant nourishment.  To both body and soul.  For me it's helped to recognize the impurities that exist in my "food" and get past them to the actual nourishment. When I do, it points me directly heavenward and I feel fed from on high.  It helps me establish a direct link to Christ, it helps me come to Him.  Not just rely on someone else's testiony, someone else's wittness, or the success of the Church.

Someone else's wittness will never feed us like our own burning knowledge of the truth will.

Finish this phrase in your mind. "Your probably spiritually malnourished when.....

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