Inside and Out

My daughter BJ has been working on a science project the past two weeks. We make her take vitamins every day (twice a day) and she sometimes gets a little frustrated with our constant reminder, “BJ…did you take your vitamins this morning?” So for her science experiment, she decided to test whether or not the quality of our vitamins merited her consumption. She was trying to weasel out of taking them.

She asked Traci, and looked online to find a suitable test. One test we’ve done, and one she found on YouTube, suggested testing the value and potency of the antioxidants in a vitamin. You do this by cutting up an apple and drop it in a jar with water. The apple represents a human cell, and by cutting it and placing it in the water, you expose it to oxidizing elements. In the jar, you place your vitamin and test the following:

  1. Does the vitamin dissolve?
  2. Does the vitamin offer any protection to the apple?

So Traci and BJ visited the local grocery store and purchased the only other children’s chewable vitamins they could find; Flintstones and Centrum. They filled four jars with water, put in our family vitamin in one, placed the other two vitamins in jars and then had one jar as a control sample (just water and apple, no vitamin). After that, BJ began observing the changes.

We believe in vitamins and supplements. In fact, we believe in our family vitamins so much that my wife works for the company as an independent distributor for them — we had a lot on the line. So as BJ began her test, we felt confident of what she would discover, but I have to admit, I was a little worried about what might unfold.

Within hours it became very apparent that one nutritional supplement was superior to the other two. By the end of a week, two of the apples were black and covered in “vomitous goo” (that’s a scientific term my daughter coined), the one in water was brown and nasty (like when you leave a cut apple on counter) and the one with the family vitamin still looked mostly edible. (In order: Flintstones, USANA, Centrum, water)

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4

BJ has become a vitamin zealot now, because she’s seen how well her vitamin protects her body’s cells.

As Traci and I were helping her put the finishing touches on her display for today’s presentation, I started thinking about how easy it is to focus on caring for our physical bodies, while neglecting the more important spiritual self; our very souls. Just like my daughter has had a visual on how well her vitamins protect her cells from those crazy-good-for-nothing Free Radicals (sounds like a 70’s band), I’ve seen how important it is to have a steady diet of spiritual care in our lives.

This became most evident to me when we moved to Michigan and we suddenly found ourselves in the unenviable position of trying to find a church. For five months we hopped from church to church, trying to find a good fit for our family. Without a doubt, we missed being spiritually connected to a church that was spiritually connected to us. Hebrews 10:25 reminds us, “Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching” (the Message).

We all need a spiritual connection. As a pastor, I used to remind people of the five components of a healthy spiritual diet. You can dress them up anyway you want, but at the end of the day your soul will be healthiest when all five of these are included in your life:

  1. Daily time reading God’s Word. Today I was in Judges 17 preparing for next Sunday, and in Psalm 103 as I memorize along with my pastor.
  2. Developing a habit of being with God in prayer, throughout the day. Not just a one time, “rubba-dub-dub, thanks for the grub” at meals, but rather, being connected to God all day.
  3. Being a giver of your financial resources. Yes, this is a habit you need to keep a healthy soul!
  4. Hanging out with other Christians. Of course, I’m not talking about living in a commune and excluding non-Christians. I’m talking about daily interacting with people who are also trying to pursue a life with God.
  5. Serving those in need. Our greatest hypocrisy as Christians is that we don’t practice what we preach. We talk about the poor and needy, the broken-hearted and the depressed and we can sympathetically nod our heads at the plight of the widow and imprisoned while doing nothing. Service has to be a habit of true soul-care.

So be sure and take your vitamins. In fact, take the vitamins that will be best for your body. But even more, take care of your soul today. Could you begin a new habit today? After all, habits begin on the first day you start them, so what could you add to your regular routine today? Some Bible time? Generous giving? Service? Prayer? Friendship with other believers? The Overboard Life demands daily attention.

Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!

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