Starvation Diet

As I’ve mentioned, I’m memorizing a Scripture passage, Colossians 3:1-17. In doing so, it has me thinking about the meaning of certain words and phrases, prompting me to dig deeper.

In verse 5, Paul says,

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” (NIV)

As I was reading and reciting this verse again, I wondered what he meant by “Put to death.” How am I supposed to kill whatever belongs to my earthly nature? The devotional book I’m reading that partners with the memorization explains it well this morning.

James Bryan Smith in his devotional “Hidden In Christ” explains that the phrase “put to death” is translated in the King James as “mortify”. It has the same root in Greek (and Latin) as mortgage. “Mort-” means death. A mortgage is the slow death of your home’s debt. When we mortify or put to death our earthly nature, it is a slow death. It is not done overnight. It takes time. It is intentional. It takes purposeful planning.

I’ve often heard that our spiritual nature and our earthly nature (our spirit and our flesh) are like two dogs. The one we feed is the one which survives. If we starve the earthly dog, our flesh, it will eventually die off. This takes planning and intent. It takes time.

There are sins that a few of us struggle with every day. We’ve struggled with them for years and they keep tripping us up. You would consider them “besetting” sins. These are the sins that have been “fed” over and over again, and to be free, now require intentional planning. Will power never works. But doing your part by planning to avoid the situations where they begin tempting you is the beginning. Avoid the temptation and you avoid the sin. (See James 1:14-15)

In our strategy, in addition to starving our flesh, we must also feed our spirits. We have the Holy Spirit inside us and He desires to show Himself more and more. However, He is a gentleman and won’t force Himself on you. You must invite Him into your life by prayer and reading His Holy Word, the Bible. The more you “feed” your spiritual nature, the more your spiritual nature will grow.

Something else to remember: If you are in Christ, then you are a child of God who has Christ dwelling within you and you live in the unshakeable Kingdom of God. You were bought at an extreme price, by the death of Jesus, God’s Son. You are priceless in the eyes of God.

Frankly, sin is beneath you. Kingdom living is your right and inheritance. Walk in it. Revel in it. Experience the joy and wonder of eternal life right now while participating in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).

Abundant living is waiting.


Several years ago, while playing in a church softball league game, I slid into home plate. To be honest, I don’t remember if I was safe or out. What I remember is that a metal bat the batter had used was still lying across home plate as I slid with the catcher’s feet holding the bat in place.

When I slid into home plate and into the bat anchored by the catcher’s feet, I came to an abrupt halt and landed awkwardly on my right wrist, breaking it. One of my friends, Gary Reed, gave me a ride to the emergency room and I was taken into surgery, put under anesthesia, and my wrist was then set into place.

Of course, while under anesthesia, I don’t remember a thing about the procedure. After the procedure, I was in the recovery area, and Dr. Burgess came to see me, asking how I was. I can remember asking him when I was going in to have my wrist set and he laughingly replied that it had already been done.

He went on to say that anesthesia does strange things to people. He said that most people curse under anesthesia. I never knew that. But then he said that I didn’t curse; in fact, he said that I quoted Scripture. I was amazed. I praise God for that.

There are a few passages in the Bible about reading Scripture as a spiritual discipline. Psalm 119 is entirely about God’s Word. Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly…” They talk about more than just reading it, though. They imply that we should ingest and digest it, allowing it to feed us, and shape and mold us. After all, Jesus is called the “Logos” in the first verses of John’s Gospel, which, as you probably know, means “The Word”. As we ingest God’s Word into our lives by reading, studying, and memorizing Scripture, we are allowing Jesus to fill us more and more.

I’ve always loved reading and studying the Bible. I wholeheartedly believe in memorizing Scripture verses. It has the power to transform as God’s Word comes alive within. To that end, during my devotional time this morning, I have been prompted to commit to memorize Colossians 3:1-17. It’s a long passage and most likely, will take a month to complete. But in those thirty days, I’m believing that God will do something marvelous.

Besides, you never know when you’ll be under anesthesia.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:1-2)