My Dental Cleaning
When I was in seminary I went for a scheduled dental cleaning. The hygienist looked in my mouth with tools in hand and a suction device in place and said, “I see you are afflicted by a tooth grinding demon.”
I mumbled something and when I checked out she asked, “What are you going to do about your demon.”
“I think I will cut back on caffeine.”
I had a problem that we both could see.
She thought the problem was demonic.
I thought that the problem was inside me- my lack of discipline with caffeine.
As we seek to grow spiritually and impact in our world for Christ we face opposition from three sources: the demonic, a broken world system, and our own broken and finite selves. Historically these are referred to as the devil, the world, and the flesh. The hygienist and I disagreed on the cause of my problem. (1 Peter 5:8-9; 1 John 2:15-17; Romans 6:12-13; 7:18-24; 8:13)
We live in a world that mocks any thought of the demonic. If we believe in spirit beings, they are only nice ones that help us. The spirit world is a reality accepted and seen in Scripture from the earliest chapters until the end.
Our broken and finite selves
We try to do good and we fail. Some people fail because their intentions are self-centered and perverse. Some people genuinely trying to do good but fail. They say the wrong things. They catch themselves in hateful, lustful, or divisive thoughts. These thoughts lead to actions that damage their closest relationships.
A broken world
Sometimes the world around us seems to be desperately broken. We look around and see the decisions of leaders and wonder where are world is headed. They claim to be trying to make a better world but all we see is violence, abuse, and hate. It seems to lead us away from good and reinforces our lesser selves.
What do we do?
We need to pursue what is good even when we are alone. We should be active in our local churches. Christians live in community. We do not face the world alone. We reach out in love to others and we need to seek to discipline our lustful and gluttonous desires.
Spiritual Basic Training
We need a spiritual basic training program. We need daily disciplines of prayer, service to others, self examination, and reflection on scripture. We need to look at God’s written Word and ask what do I like in my life that I should further and what needs to change.
We also need to ask how are we going to change. This leads us to spiritual disciplines such as scheduled times of prayer, Bible memorization and silence. It also leads us to disciplines such as fasting and limiting the things we watch on television, or how we use our computers. (Romans 12; 1 Timothy 6:11-12; Psalm 1; 119)
What is your spiritual training program?
What do you want to change in your life?
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