Jessica Christine Musgrove

Author. Singer. Actress.
My King is a dragon-slayer.

Sustenance Given By the Holy Spirit

I just had an epiphany–a God-given one, that is. When I was younger, a dear Bible teacher (incredibly solid and rooted in Christ!) gave my class an analogy about sanctification. Picture two dogs fighting each other. They are owned by the same owner. Before the dog fight, the owner decides to feed one but not the other. Guess which dog wins? Of course it’s the dog that was fed! It’s a simple analogy, pointing to our battle between the flesh and the Spirit. Christ-followers have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We are saved from the penalty and power of sin. But we still live in a broken world. We are not sinless. We are imperfect creatures saved by grace through faith alone. Which means we still battle with sin and the lies of the enemy.

The analogy above paints a comparison that one dog represents flesh (sinful nature), and the other dog represents the Holy Spirit within us. And we are like the owner, choosing which “dog” to feed. When we feed ourselves with the fleeting pleasures of the world, it’s easy to become ensnared by sin. Overcome by the enemy. But when we feed the Spirit with God’s Word and starve the flesh, the Holy Spirit gives us strength to resist the enemy. To triumph.

I have loved this analogy for a long time. It’s good. It’s helpful. It makes one thing ABUNDANTLY clear: We are in a constant spiritual battle! And we can’t triumph over the enemy without God’s help and His ruling in our hearts. Okay, that’s two things made clear by this analogy.

However, yesterday, God shifted my perspective. Yes, we have a choice on whether to obey God’s commands or walk in our flesh and, as a result, carry out sin. But truthfully, it has nothing to do with feeding the Spirit or the flesh. If God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are Three in One, meaning they are all omniscient (All-knowing), omnipotent (All-powerful), and omnipresent (All-present)–the Holy Spirit is not like that dog that can be starved. Because God does not hunger. He has no needs. He does not lose battles. He’s already won the victory through Christ His Son, who has given us the Spirit in FULL–our Helper, Comforter, Sustainer, and Peace.

You see, in recognizing that Christ-followers already have the fullness of the Holy Spirit living within us, God showed me that in this analogy, we are not like the owner choosing which dog to feed, as though if and when we choose wrong, the enemy wins. Remember, the devil has already lost. We don’t choose to feed the Spirit as though if we don’t, He starves and is not at His full potential.

No, no, no. We’re the ones who are fed. We don’t do the feeding. We do the eating.

The better question is not “Which dog do you feed” but…What are you consuming?

The truth is, God is our owner. We are His children. As His children, we don’t have to be malnourished. The Bible is full of rich nutrients of wisdom for every season of life. Full of prayers in Psalm, warnings throughout the letters of Paul, testimonies of those who worshipped God through grief (Job, Hannah) or forgave the “unforgivable” (Joseph) or walked by faith (Abraham, Moses, Joshua). It’s full of more than one account of the Gospel of Jesus. It’s full of encouragement found in books like Philippians and Isaiah. It’s full of Christ-like beauty found in marriage (Song of Songs). God’s Word is enough! There is no other book or hymn that can compare to the Word’s richness. By ingesting God’s Truth, we are fed with the purest water, the sweetest bread; we are fed with LIFE.

Yet often, we look at His Truth like a child looks at asparagus (or as I look at asparagus). The world has its feasts. And Satan knows how to make sin look appealing to the eyes. You ever watch milk commercials, only to learn later that the reason the milk on screen looked so yummy was because the glass was filled with Elmer’s glue?

Satan knows that appearances matter. Taste matters, too. Think of the times you’ve eaten lots of sugar, experiencing so much joy in the moment, only to come crashing down later. You binge, and then you feel bad, perhaps even loathe yourself. But you keep binging. Because the binge relaxes you and gives you a quick fix (although not a lasting fix).

The Truth doesn’t always taste good. God doesn’t always provide pleasure. At times, He convicts. At times, He prunes. At times, He wounds to rebuild and to heal. His nourishment is not a quick fix; it’s a lasting fix. Steadfast. A slow burn.

When we exercise ourselves by consuming Truth, we are allowing the Holy Spirit within us to take the reins. To feed us. To speak to us. While we listen and lean in and learn and, yes, struggle. We’ll fall and get back up again, steadily building more muscle because we’re consuming the right things.

What are you allowing yourself to feed your thoughts, your emotions, your actions? What are you allowing in God’s temple (your very soul)? The world and all its fading pleasures? The devil and all his lies and doubts and fears? Your own flesh begging you to sleep in and avoid your Bible just one more day, because it promises to do better tomorrow, and then keeps making that promise without follow-through the next day and the next and the next?

You don’t have to ingest all that. Those are lies you don’t have to chew or swallow. You can spit them out. Because they’re not good for you. They won’t build strength. They won’t build endurance. They’ll provide momentary scenarios of false peace and empty joys that lead to crash-and-burns, chaos, lack of self-control, and pity parties.

You already have the fullness of the Spirit inside you. The One who is not weak or lazy or hungry or thirsty or tired or distressed or frenzied or panicked or anxious or depressed. He’s right there, waiting for you to call upon Him in your weakness and hunger and thirst and weariness and distress and anxiety and fear and depression. He’s waiting for you to pause and listen and open your mouth wide as that Bible flips open.

He’s waiting to feed you with the one thing that will truly sustain you…






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