Thursday, 21 July 2011

How To Nourish Your Soul

The problem I have with discussing eating to be nourished is that it is such a foreign concept to most of us. Most of the time my eating is for pleasure rather than nourishment. While I've fasted a day here and there recently and experienced mild tummy grumbling, the notion of what two-thirds of the world calls "hunger" is largely an alien concept. But if I can be allowed the forgiveness to discuss the need for 'nourishment' I should like to draw from what our bodies may experience to what our soul's need.
Nourish. The Scriptures paints a delightfully insightful snapshot of our soul's need and ability to be nourished. With the right kind of nourishment, weariness gives way to strength. With the right kind of nourishment, gloom is exchanged for encouragement. With the right kind of nourishment, loneliness is turned to contentment. With the right kind of nourishment, problems are turned to opportunities. And weariness, gloom, loneliness, and despair are all conditions of the soul. If we can learn to nourish our souls, we can learn how to respond to these soul-depleting afflictions.

Our souls need nourishment even more than our bodies do. A malnourished body can be dramatically revitalised by nourishment as Jonathan's was when he ate the honey that his father had banned his starving troops from eating while in long pursuit. Then Jonathan said, "My father has troubled the land. See how my eyes have become bright because I tasted a little of this honey (1Sam. 14:29). Jonathan's weary body was nourished and restored from eating wild honey. A nourished soul is a restored soul. In Psalm 23, David describes God as restoring souls ("He restores my soul...") and concludes with a picture of God's restoration of a soul as a banquet table set to to nourish ("You prepare a table before cup overflows..."). Souls need nourishing.

In John 4, Jesus sends His disciples on ahead to get food while He waited by a Samaritan well. He soon strikes up a conversation with a woman about her parched and malnourished soul and offers her water. When the disciples return, they offer their hungry Lord some food but He declines because He has just eaten and nourished His soul. The disciples are curious about this. Christ reveals the source of His soul's nourishment as doing the will of My Father-
John 4:34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work."
Jesus knew how to nourish His soul. The way He did it was almost counter-intuitive. Do you know how to nourish your soul?

As with any nourishment, the immediate result is a sense of satisfaction. This is why food always tastes better to a hungry person (Prov. 27:7).
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!Psalm 34:8
God is the only true Source of our soul's nourishment. Our spiritual fellowship with Him is the only sustainable means of finding nourishment. And there is much that connects our soul with Him - such as wonder at His creation, admiration of what He has inspired. I know of a man who would go to an art gallery each week and sit for an hour or so in front of a painting which the artist had done to the glory of God. This man found his soul nourished as a result. 

As parents of four children, Kim and I have found ou souls nourished as we as a family have attended church and sought to instill in our children a love for the House of God. Eric Liddell, an Olypic Gold Medalist and a devout follower of Christ, found nourishment for his soul when he used the gifts and talents God had given him. "When I run, I feel His pleasure" he said. Sometimes, nourishment for our soul comes from counter-intuitive avenues of God's grace. When you're weary, staying home from the House of the Lord seems more nourishing than making the effort to get up, get ready for Church, and go to Sunday worship. But assembling together on Sundays to be a part of the church's witness, to worship Christ together, to partake of the nourishment of the Lord's Table, to receive the Bread of Life through preaching, and to be immersed in revitalising Christian fellowship is all (at times) counter-intuitive nourishment for our souls.

There is of course a nourshment for your soul that you can enjoy now. Our soul's know full well that there is a world of difference between being still and doing nothing (Psalm 46:10).Our souls also know that when we cast all our cares onto Him, there is a divine care that nourishes our souls in return (1Peter 5:7). And the soul of the Psalmist knew that since beholding God brought the only true nourishment that our souls could receive, that it would only be by ensuring our eternal destiny by making peace with God, that we stood any chance of finding that ultimate nourishment that could bring ultimate satisfaction.
Psa. 17:15 ¶ But because I have done what is right, I will see you.
When I awake, I will be fully satisfied,
for I will see you face to face
Father, help us to be nourished by You. May we experience Your nourishing grace through wonder, amazement, adoration, and appreciation of what You have both done and inspired. As we gather as Your House in Your House, Sunday by Sunday and through the week in our various homes, may we have our souls nourished as a result. Help us to be a means of spiritual nourishment to those You place in our lives. In Jesus Name', Amen.
Eph. 3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ps. Andrew

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