According to a survey by the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. This statistic may seem startling but the reality is many of us are so used to living this way it has become normal. We live in an “on the go” society where we move from one thing to the next, constantly thriving on busyness with little thought to what our body needs to thrive. The same can be said about our spiritual lives.
The issue for so many believers is that they live their day to day life with a closed Bible. They go about their day in constant motion with little to no thought that their negligence of God’s Word is only perpetuating spiritual dehydration in their life.
Donald Whitney in his book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life writes, “No Spiritual Discipline is more important than the intake of God’s Word. Nothing can substitute for it. There simply is no healthy Christian life apart from a diet of the milk and meat of Scripture.”[i]
However, the danger is just how easy it is to choose substitutes for the Word. Just like we become weak without physical water, we spiritually become weak when we remove ourselves from the Word of God. When we’re weak we are vulnerable to grab anything that can satisfy us; social media, relationships, material possessions, etc. These things may seem innocent, but in reality they are cheap substitutes that only lead us further into spiritual drought.
Not only are we vulnerable to give way to cheap substitutes, we’re also vulnerable to sin. The more removed we are from scripture the easier it becomes to fall into sin’s deception. We can become too weak to notice its deception until it’s too late and we’ve begun to drink in sinful indulgences. We need God’s Word to illuminate and expose the sin in our lives so we can correct our thinking and walk in truth.
As believers we are not meant to live the Christian life dehydrated. I’ve met with many young girls who have expressed feeling stale in their walk with God, feeling the weight of anxiety or depression, feeling quickly frustrated by the people in their life, and the list goes on. Everytime this happens I kindly ask them how their time in God’s Word has been and the response is always the same, either they have barely opened their Bible or ceased to open it at all. To operate this way is to live spiritually dehydrated.
Jesus says in John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” To live spiritually drained is to fail to embrace the life offered us through Christ. In order for us to combat the spiritual dehydration in our lives we must do three things found in Psalm 119: acknowledge our thirst, understand why we’re thirsty, and run to our source.
Acknowledge Our Thirst
David writes in Psalm 119:131, “I open my mouth and pant…” Like the statistic stated above reveals, the reason why so many Christians live spiritually dehydrated lives is because they don’t even realize that they are living this way. We don’t acknowledge our thirst and maybe we have but we have chosen to ignore it. But the more we fail to acknowledge or ignore our thirst the more we will live spiritually dry lives susceptible to soaking up the things of this world. Just like someone who fools themselves into thinking they’re fine without water, we must not convince ourselves into thinking we can operate without the Word of God. David knows that he is thirsty and is longing to quench that thirst, but unlike so many of us, he knows why he is this way.
Understand Why We’re Thirsty
David continues in Psalm 119:131, “…because I long for your commandments.” He recognizes that the only thing that can bring him true sustainment is the Word of God. Nothing else will quench that thirst, nothing else will satisfy. The reason why we’re thirsty is because we are choosing things to satisfy us that are not made to. We were designed by God for God so anything else that offers us life fails us because they are not our source of life, God is. In Him is true satisfaction and His Word brings the nourishment we need to experience true and lasting life. Like the woman at the well who was searching for satisfaction when Living Water was in front of her, we must cease our pursuit of the things in this life and pursue the Lord and His everlasting Word.
Run To Our Source
It does no good to acknowledge we’re thirsty for God but not seek Him and His Word, we must drink our fill! We must run to our source of life over and over again. All throughout Psalm 119 David proclaims his constant pursuit of the Lord and His Word: “Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes! (v.5), with my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! (v.10), I will run in the way of your commandments, when you enlarge my heart! (v.32) We must have the same tenacity for God’s Word as David did and come to it everytime we begin to thirst again. Only then we will live satisfied and sustained lives who delight to choose the Word over the world.
[i] Donald Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2014), 22.