Spiritual anorexia. An unhealthy, yet seemingly common, condition.
An anorexic is one who stops feeding self and becomes dangerously thin. Skin and bones. Flesh without meat.
The anorexic’s perception is skewed. When an anorexic sees self in the mirror, they see fat – fullness – breadth -weight. They see substance that is, in reality, not there. Unfortunately, there are many Christians who do the same.
In themselves they see “fatness”, spiritual health, substance – and they often want others to know of their great and divine girth. There’s boasting of more depth in their life, more knowledge, more revelation and insight. Greater relationship with God, greater “fullness of the Spirit”, greater capacity for the “meat” of the Word. These are the points for applause in their lives.
However, the great, spiritually fat and healthy picture that they see in the mirror is in contrast to what others see. In the life of a “full-blown” spiritual anorexic, their own words may be the only things that are, indeed, grand and swelling.
If the fruit borne in day-to-day living does not reflect the heart and character of God then the facade of spirituality is demolished. The supposed substance and meat are stripped off to reveal an unhealthy heart surrounded by diseased flesh and dry bones – an empty life disguised behind inflated words and a swelled head. And when the exterior is peeled away and the heart is truly laid bare, the inner health of a person is ultimately revealed through everyday life and actions.
James 1:22-24 speaks of a person who looks at himself in a mirror, steps away from the mirror, and immediately forgets what he really looks like. Why? Because he listens to “the Word” but chooses not to act on it. Thus he deceives himself. So goes the spiritual anorexic.
But at times we may all suffer from a degree of Spiritual Anorexia. We look into the mirror of scripture and we see the truth about ourselves but distractions, excuses, or personal choice causes us to immediately forget what we’ve seen. We pick and choose which parts we are willing to honestly see and obey. Thus we allow ourselves to be deceived and spiritual anorexia begins to seize our heart.
Is there a cure? Absolutely. But the cure is not a quick or pleasant fix. For to be cured we must be willing to examine beyond the outside, beyond the positive opinions of others, beyond the praise and affirmations that we may receive, beyond the self-elevating views that we’ve adopted.
We must delve into the depths of our own hearts, allowing the spotlight of the Holy Spirit to reveal even the deepest, darkest, innermost decaying chambers. We must be willing to look closely and to see… truth. And then we must be willing to repent. To humble ourselves, admit our pride and our gross exaggerations of self, and cry out to God for Him to heal the disease within.