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Have you ever walked up to a water fountain or a soda machine dying of thirst only to find it did not work?
This can make you feel disappointed, frustrated, or even angry.
These emotions are what a spiritually thirsty child of God experiences when he or she walks away from an encounter with a spiritual leader who has not properly cared for their personal spiritual nurture. They may never express their feelings, but they are there in their spirit. “I was so longing for a drink from the Living Water but all I received was dusty Christian cliques.”
I have never personally met a spiritual leader who intentionally allowed their spirit to become a dry well. I have met many who felt their spirit was dry and they were passionately seeking a refreshing inner flow of the Holy Spirit.
I am certain we all know spiritual nurture is critically important to a leader. Spiritual nurture is not preparing a Sunday lesson, Bible study, or a sermon. Using that for our spiritual nourishment is like using appointments with friends and colleagues for dates with our wife or husband. You may be together, but the intimacy necessary for deep personal relationship is not present.
Here are three ways spiritual leaders remain nourished.
1. Take time for deep personal intimacy with Heavenly Father must be set aside each day.
These times should include personal worship, memorization of Scripture, meditation and study of the Word of God. Our body clock and time schedules differ greatly, so make it fit yours. Personal worship may include singing from your favorite hymnal; choruses that flow from your spirit; or worshiping with a favorite CD, Pandora or Spotify. Memorizing chapters and whole books of the Bible is much easier in your twenties. I find it critical for my life even in my sixties. Rumination of Scripture is such rich feeding for the soul. I enjoy putting myself to sleep at night rolling the Scripture through my mind; early morning meditation on these passages is like sweet morsels of a cinnamon roll with a cup of coffee.
2. Personal study of the Word
Personal study of God’s Word should include a reading program that will take you through the entire Bible on a regular basis. It should also include a regular study that alternates between a character-study, topical study, or a detailed study of a book of the Bible.
3. Study other spiritual leaders.
A good diet for the spirit should also include biographies of the famous men and women of God and men and women of history. You learn much from their successes, failures, and how they responded to adversity. Subscription to Christian periodicals, apart from your denomination’s newsletter or magazine, is also very important (i.e. “Biblical Archeology Review” and “Christianity Today”). Maintain a good knowledge of current events happening in the world through a variety of news sources. It is wise to exercise caution this reading and study does not overrun your time in reading, memorizing and study of the Word of God.
Nothing is more refreshing than to have conversation with a child of God whose spirit is overflowing with living water and whose words are the fresh Bread of Life.