Last week, I shared that I felt I was in spiritual warfare with the devil. (I actually feel better physically, but I still feel the devil at the fringe of things.) This week starts a series on the lies that Satan would have us believe to keep us from having the victory of Christ in our lives. Each lie is one that I have believed at one time or another in my life, sometimes more than once in my lifetime — sometimes every hour of my life. I hope to offer encouragement to others, like me, who are “fighting the good fight.”
Lie #1: Your spiritual health has nothing to do with your physical health.
If you’ve never read the book of Daniel, I encourage you to read it now. With society’s penchant for reality television (and I love it, as well), the stories in the book of Daniel would have made for “must-see TV.” In chapter one, Daniel and other young Israelite men were brought to the court of King Nebuchadnezzar for “training.” The king instructed his staff to give these young men a diet of the richest foods and the finest wines.
Daniel wants nothing to do with this diet and strikes a deal for himself and three of his friends (Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah — AKA Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego). I don’t usually choose such a long passage of Scripture to make a point, but you must know the whole story in order to get the big picture.
Daniel made up his mind not to harm himself by eating the king’s rich food and drinking the king’s wine. So he asked the chief-of-staff for permission not to harm himself in this way. God made the chief-of-staff kind and compassionate toward Daniel. The chief-of-staff told Daniel, “I’m afraid of my master, the king. The king determined what you should eat and drink. If he sees that you look worse than the other young men your age, he would have my head cut off.” The chief-of-staff put a supervisor in charge of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Daniel said to the supervisor, “Please test us for ten days. Give us only vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare us to the young men who are eating the king’s rich food. Decide how to treat us on the basis of how we look.” The supervisor listened to them about this matter and tested them for ten days. After ten days they looked healthier and stronger than the young men who had been eating the king’s rich food. So the supervisor took away the king’s rich food and wine and gave them vegetables. God gave these four men knowledge, wisdom, and the ability to understand all kinds of literature. Daniel could also understand all kinds of visions and dreams. At the end of the three-year training period, the chief-of-staff brought all the young men to Nebuchadnezzar. The king talked to them and found no one like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah among all of them. Daniel 1: 8-19a (GOD’S WORD Translation)
I share this scripture because it directly refutes the lie that there is no connection between your spiritual and physical health. Vegetables and water instead of rich, fatty foods? There’s a concept that I’ve heard before. After ten days, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah looked healthier and stronger than any of the other Israelite men who were enjoying the king’s bounty. At the end of three years, none of the young men could equal these four.
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It does say a lot for a healthy diet filled with vegetables and water. What does it have to do with their spiritual health? Later on in the book of Daniel, Daniel was placed in a den of lions and his faith in God stopped the lions from eating him alive. With their new names (courtesy of King Nebuchadnezzar) Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked by faith into the fiery furnace and lived to tell the story. Those who were witnesses to this miracle said they saw not three, but four, men in the furnace and many biblical scholars have said that they were joined by Jesus, Himself.
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In a nutshell, I believe that if we keep ourselves in good health physically, we are better equipped and sharper spiritually. It just makes common sense that if you are not improving your physical health, you may be wide open for a spiritual attack. When I feel bad physically, I sometimes become lazy in prayer and Bible study. I have noticed that since losing eleven pounds, I have a bit more energy to do things with my family and for my God. Does it bother me that in the last two weeks I’ve not lost another ounce? Yes, it does. Have I entertained thoughts of just giving up and being satisfied with those eleven pounds — even though I need to lose at least another forty-four? Sure. I’ve contemplated it several times. But I refuse to give up or give in. I am stubborn, and if you don’t believe me, ask my husband. He says he’s married to the most stubborn woman he’s ever known. Sometimes, that’s not a good attribute. This time, however, it’s not only good, it’s necessary.
So, Satan — I hear your lie and I claim victory over it in the name of Jesus!
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What lie is the devil trying to get you to swallow today?
“Traits of the Tempter” http://elsiephoebe.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/traits-of-the-tempter/
“What to Remember When Living for Jesus Seems Impossible” http://pewtopractice.wordpress.com/2011/09/07/what-to-remember-when-living-for-jesus-seems-impossible/
“Bring It On! You Will Not Win!” http://aprilhawk.wordpress.com/2011/10/06/bring-it-on-you-will-not-win/