As I was tucking our seven year old, Sarah, into bed the other night, she asked me an insightful question. It might be a question many people have thought at one time or another but have never verbalized. It was a question on fasting.
She asked, "How does not eating make your prayers stronger?" Then, she added with a giggle, "It doesn't make any sense."
I explained that when we deny our flesh or "old man", that it makes our spirit or our "new man" stronger. And when our spirit is stronger, our prayers are stronger. (She understand her "old man" versus "new man" from great teaching by Paul Anne Swilley. Thanks Paul Anne!)
Sarah said that made sense and then said something I thought was very insightful for a seven year old...
She asked, "Does that mean if we eat too much that our flesh gets stronger?"
Wow! I replied, "Yes, it does! What we feed gets stronger. If we feed our spirit with the Word of God, it gets stronger. When we overeat or do things to feed our flesh, our carnal nature or "old man" gets stronger."
Now, of course we have to feed our bodies. We all need food. However, she reminded me of how what we consume physically through all our senses is tied to our spiritual lives. I think it is good to take a check every once in awhile to see what we are consuming.
Here are some examples of what feeds the "new man" or spirit: God's Word, recorded sermons, going to church, reading Christian books, listening to praise/worship music, prayer.
None of the above are necessarily bad in moderation (depends on the material). However, if that is all or even most of what we are consuming, then there is a major problem resulting in the flesh overruling our spirit. When our flesh overrules our spirit, the Holy Spirit's voice is diminished.
When we feed our spirit, the Holy Spirit's voice and our spirit get stronger and it helps us to lead a life centered on Christ, walking with the Lord. What we feed on determines the kind of fruit we produce.
If we are a tree, for example, and we want to produce beautiful plump shiny apples, we need the proper water and sunlight to produce good fruit. If we do not get the right nutrition, our apples will be small and dry or there may not be any apples on the tree at all!
I want my life to produce big plump juicy fruit. I want my spirit to be stronger than my flesh. I want to live a life that points to Christ. How about you?
Thank you seven year old Sarah for that reminder today!
"For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit." Romans 8:5
" For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." Romans 8:6
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 2 Cor 5;17