Image "My Friend" by Helen Thomas Robson www.capturedmiracles.org (Used by Permission)
Minimalism from a Biblical Point of View —

Biblical Minimalism© is "a complete, whole-person release of anything unlike Jesus, a letting go of everything that hinders us from following Him wholeheartedly and single-mindedly, and a relinquishing of all that brings us under bondage to this earthly, very temporary life." Cheryl E. Smith

Friday, June 1, 2018

Minimizing The Physical ~ Part Two

If this is your first time visiting here, I'd like to extend a hearty welcome to you! If you have been faithfully following along, thank you from the bottom of my heart!  I hope this blog will inspire you to let go of this world and pursue a more eternity-focused life as you press closer to Jesus and the way He lived His life on earth.

Picking up from the last post, we will continue studying the Physical Slice of the Whole-Person Pieˆ©.


We already discussed how the Physical Slice can be divided into two categories —the Physical Body & Physical Possessions.


Today, I wanted to provide yet another pie chart to give a visual and divide the Physical Body category into seven areas that may have need of minimizing.


Before I say anything else, I want to say that there is NO judgment here. Everything said comes from a heart of love and from a person who is extremely broken. I am not, in any sense of the word, an expert, nor do I come close to having the answers. My only means of making it through this life is to cling, with everything I've got, to the mercy of God and to stay low at Jesus' feet. Nothing that is published on this blog is meant to condemn or to make anyone feel hopeless or judged. I speak as one who struggles and fails immeasurably and who is still learning what grace is all about.

Today is a new day, and even if you find that there are things in the physical "slice" of your life that desperately need to be minimized and/or cut off completely, don't lose hope. You are not alone! We are all in the same fallen, human condition, and our God is with you, He loves you intensely, and He is the chain breaker. There is nothing too hard for Him.

"And Jesus looking upon them said, With men, it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible." Mark 10:27

"Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for Me?" Jeremiah 32:27

"Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear." Isaiah 59:1

As you think of the seven physical body categories —what are the first things that come to your mind? Do you readily identify any excess? Are there any areas that need to be minimized to come into alignment with the way Jesus lived His life?

Addictions
We talked about several common addictions in the last post. Addiction is a powerful force that wreaks havoc on a physical body, destroys marriages, alters brain chemicals and personalities, prompts erratic and aggressive behavior, and has been the cause of innumerable untimely and premature deaths.

That sneaky, little thing called food, when overindulged in holds equal power to other addictions to land us in an early grave. To justify gluttony, try to invalidate and downplay its seriousness, and pretend it is less "sinful" than the other addictions is just plain denial.

Addictions become things/substances that control our lives. They are cruel taskmasters that bring us under bondage to their demands. We follow where they lead, and usually, without Divine intervention, we cannot overcome them on our own.

It takes a strong hand to undo a stronghold, but there is no addiction more powerful than the strong hand of our God.

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds." 2 Corinthians 10:3,4

When you feel like your situation is the exception to the rule and you see no way out of the chains of addiction, I'd like you to think of one thing. Remember the Old Testament Israelites? The bondage they were under was brutal and seemed impossible to escape. It had started years before and through no fault of their own when their ancestors, the sons of Jacob, sold their brother, Joseph, into slavery. From that point until 430 years later, they were bound under a cruel yoke to the Egyptians. If you want to read something that will give you hope and greatly increase your faith in God's ability to break chains, read Exodus chapter 13, especially verses 3, 9, 14, and 16 because these verses double down on and emphasize the strength of God's hand.

God can pull down ANY stronghold, no matter how long it has been a part of one's life or how severe the power it wields.

Habits
At first glance, habits sounded a lot like addictions to me. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that a habit is something that has become a routine from a consistent action. Habits do not necessarily dictate or control your life, and you can certainly live without them. Habits can be positive or negative; healthy or unhealthy; detrimental or helpful. You have the power to change them or stop doing them at any time, simply by ceasing or altering a certain pattern of behavior. It will take a measure of self-control to minimize habits that are not pleasing to God, and we need His help always, but a habit is not as hard to release or minimize as is an addiction.

Obesity
Excess body weight is an area that is WAY out of balance and in dire need of minimizing in my life. Since I am writing from a place of intense personal experience, I have a lot to say about this subject and will share the thoughts God is giving me in a future post. I can't wait to delve into all of it with you in case anyone else struggles in this area. We can not only struggle together through this process, but we can overcome together, too, by God's grace!

Hands & Feet
Where we go, how we use our bodies, our conduct and behavior —these all have to do with our hands and feet. Following Jesus brings about a change in every part of our lives.   2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

As a Christian striving to live an eternity-focused, Biblically minimal life, there are many things that have to be shed from our lives. The places we go, the things we do, the way we act and interact with others, and everything about our behavior should look like Jesus. A lofty ambition, I know, but required if we are to live a holy life.

"As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy." I Peter 1:14-16 (NIV)

"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these, the wrath of God is coming. In these, you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator." Colossians 3:1-10 (ESV)

Seeing
They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. That applies not only to a person looking into the eyes of another and seeing what is going on inside of them, but it is equally applicable to the fact that what we take in through our eyes directly affects our soul and spiritual walk. The things we watch, the things we read, the things we look at...are they things Jesus would watch, read, and look at? Would we allow ourselves to see them if He were in the room seated beside us? Could they be called "holy"? Do they edify our souls? Do they incite lustful thoughts? What reaction do they spark?

Hearing
What do music, slander, gossip, evil surmising, and preached sermons have in common? All of them enter our bodies, which are the temples of the Holy Spirit, by way of our sense of hearing. As we think of the type of music and lyrics and the conversations we allow ourselves to hear while communicating with others, how does it all line up with the things Jesus would listen to? Does anything need to be minimized or completely cut off from our lives? How is our spiritual "mood" affected after listening to our favorite type of music? Are we drawn closer to thoughts of God and worship, or do we feel more distanced from Him after allowing it to filter through our minds?

Speaking
Oh, the tongue! That little, tiny member of our bodies. Oh, the trouble it can cause! Oh, the blessing it can be! "Death and life are in the power of the tongue." Proverbs 18:21

James says it much more eloquently than I ever could. "For in many things we offend all. If any man offends not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they are so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so, the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh." James 3:2-12

What we allow our eyes to see, our ears to listen to, our routines/habits to include, our bodies to ingest and become addicted to, our tongues to speak, our hands to do, and where we allow our feet to carry us absolutely and widely affects the temple in which God dwells. Remember, as Christians, our bodies are not our own. Jesus Christ laid down His life and shed His blood by means of the most brutal, cruel means of death known to man to redeems us and enable us to live a holy life.
I Peter 1:18,19 says, "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life you inherited from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or spot." (Berean Study Bible)

If we will come before Him with an open and honest heart, He will faithfully shine His light upon our path, pointing out the areas that need to be pruned, minimized, and laid aside.


Remember this. You are not expected to do this alone. We are in this together, and our God is a Chain Breaker!

 

Stay tuned for the next post where I will be getting personal. That is never easy for me, but if we are going to make any progress, the first step is, to be honest and embrace reality. I hope you will take my hand and walk this journey with me!

12 comments:

  1. Awesome post dear Cheryl. Oh I struggle with several issues myself. I guess we all do. But my goal is to become more of him and less of me. The struggle is real. So glad I could pop over today and visit. Enjoyed this so much. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

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    1. Oh, Cindy! I am SO thankful for your visit and kind words! I share your desire for more of Him and less of me. Sending love and hugs to you, sweet sister!

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  2. This looks like a wonderful series!

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    1. Thank you so much, Linda! I am most grateful for your visit and encouragement. God bless you, and I hope you will come back often. :)

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  3. Wonderful post again, Cheryl. This made me think of the children's song I used to use in the years that I taught Sunday School to 3, 4 and 5 year olds - "O Be Careful Little Eyes What You See" going on with be careful little ears, little hands, little feet, little mouth - be careful in all ways that you live your lives. The children readily adopted this song and looked forward to acting it out on Sunday mornings too. This theory applies to children but also to us as adults. Your series is very inspirational dear friend.

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    1. Oh, thank you so much, sweet friend! I remember that little song, and oh, it is so true! You are right, it surely does apply to us, as adults, and may God help us to bring our every habit and action into alignment with His holiness. You are such a precious blessing to me. God bless you!

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  4. Cheryl, what an encouraging post that I plan to share with a few friends. This is a wonderful series and OUCH it applies to all believers! I must say like Paul the things I should do, I don’t do! Blessings on your Tuesday

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    1. Oh, how fitting that verse is to this post! Thank you so much for sharing that and for your dear, encouraging words! They truly mean so much, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing the post with your friends. May the dear Lord bless you as you have blessed me!

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  5. Good Morning Cheryl,
    I am really enjoying this series as it speaks to my heart. I need the road map of God's word to guide me. Seems just when there "appears" to be a lull in life we get hit from another direction. I suppose the devil sees that opening and strikes. Filling our minds, heart, soul and body with the word of Christ is the only way to find true happiness.
    You are such an articulate woman and I thank you for sharing your time and talents with us.
    Blessings and Hugs,
    Jemma

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    1. Oh, thank you so very much for your sweet visit and kind words, Jemma! I am so thankful for your encouragement on this journey, and you are so right..filling ourselves with the Word of Christ truly is the only way to find true happiness. May the Lord bless you in a special way for all you do!

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  6. Thank you for this, Cheryl. Love the Zach Williams song. Blessings, Kate W

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    1. Thanks for your visit, Kate! YES, that is one of our favorite songs! Glad you enjoyed it. Sending blessings to you, too, my friend!

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