Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spiritual Cleansing and Detox

Brian Shilhavy
     At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:3-7)
     We live in a very polluted environment these days, and much of our food is mass produced and altered in such a way that we end up consuming toxins that our body needs to process and eliminate in order for us to enjoy good physical health. There are a variety of cleansing and detoxification protocols and products used today for these physical cleansings of the body.
     But your spirit also is subject to spiritual toxins, and we are all in need of spiritual cleansing on a regular basis to keep our spiritual life healthy. The initial spiritual washing and renewal happens during our spiritual rebirth. As is written in the verses above in Paul’s letter to Titus, “He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” Without this spiritual rebirth and cleansing, we cannot enter the Kingdom of God and inherit eternal life, and the new future body that God has for each one who is a member of his spiritual kingdom.
     As this passage in Titus states, before we experience the spiritual rebirth we are “enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.” (Some translations say “lusts” instead of “pleasures.”)     
     These are the spiritual toxins in our life that cause us to live “in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.” When we are enslaved to our sinful nature and the passions and lusts of our sin nature, we produce many spiritual toxins. There are many lists recorded throughout the Bible that give us examples of these types of spiritual toxins. Read the words of Jesus himself:
     He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.' For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man "unclean.'" (Mark 7:20-23)
     So the first step in spiritual renewal and cleansing is the spiritual rebirth. When we repent and receive God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ, we receive a new spirit, and we are no longer slaves to our passions and lusts.
     But we still have the sinful nature, so spiritual cleansing and detoxification is a continual and ongoing process. Those who concentrate only on the physical body and physical health are missing an even greater opportunity to achieve real health, which first comes through the spirit, NOT the body. Your spirit will live forever, while your current body is decaying and growing old, and is only temporary.
     If one is truly born again spiritually and has the Holy Spirit living within them, then the spiritual cleansing and detoxification process is one of submitting to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and allowing him to work in and through our lives, rather than giving in to the passions and lusts of our flesh:
     So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. (Galatians 5:16-26)
     Notice the list of spiritual toxins that Paul wrote here in this letter to the Galatians, and its contrast to the fruit of the Holy Spirit. A spirit cleansed from these toxins can produce the spiritual fruit of the Holy Spirit which accomplishes God’s purpose in our lives.
     When we do fail to listen to the Holy Spirit, and instead give in to our sinful desires, we can experience immediate spiritual cleansing by confessing our sins to God:
     If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8-9)
     No one likes to think of themselves as a bad person, so our natural tendency is to deny our sins, or excuse them away. These are the spiritual toxins in our life. “Repentance” means “to change one’s mind,” to admit and confess the sins in our life. Truth must have its reign in our hearts and minds, leading us to spiritual renewal and cleansing.
     The first truth we must recognize and acknowledge is that evolution is a lie, and that there is a Creator God who created you and has a specific plan and purpose for your life. The second foundational truth we must recognize and acknowledge is that we are sinners before God, and that our only hope for spiritual renewal and life is through the forgiveness that Jesus Christ offers us through his death and resurrection.
     If you don’t have a clear understanding of these foundational truths, take some time today to read the foundation articles on this website that clearly explains these truths. Then take time each day to spend in prayer and reading God’s word to have your mind and spirit renewed, and find the spiritual cleansing and detoxification that leads to total health!
     Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)

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