Monday, December 27, 2010

Step One Out Of THE CAVE - REST Your Physical Body

Over the last several posts we have seen from the life of Elijah the prophet what life is like in THE CAVE - the place where ministry becomes misery. Now it is time to see how Elijah got out of THE CAVE and to apply those same principles to our lives today. From the story of Elijah we see four steps out of THE CAVE. The first step is this:

REST Your Physical Body (1 Kings 19:5-7)

As Elijah is curled up in THE CAVE isolated, fearful, full of self-pity and hopeless, an angel appears to him and the first thing the angel says is, "Arise, eat" (1 Kings 19:5). The Bible then says:

"Then he (Elijah) looked and behold, there was at his head a bread cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again." (1 Kings 19:6).

The Bible goes on to say that the angel appeared to Elijah a second time with the same command. "Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you" (1 Kings 19:7). Then the Bible says:

"So he (Elijah) arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God. (1 Kings 19:8).

I find it more than interesting that the first command the angel gives Elijah in THE CAVE was to eat something. You will never find your way out of THE CAVE if you allow the ministry misery you are facing to affect the way you take care of your body. It is while you are in THE CAVE that it becomes easy to not sleep right (either too much or not enough sleep) and not eat right (stress eating, lack of nutritious eating, etc.). During a time in my ministry that I found myself in THE CAVE I made the determination not to stay there and I committed to the following physical disciplines:

I went on a balanced diet. For me this means eating several small and nutritious meals several times a day rather than two or three big meals. It also meant limiting my snacking at night to only two things which together did not exceed 200 calories.

I started exercising. I rode a stationary bike while I watched the news at night. I was disciplined to do this 3 to 4 times a week, 7.5 to 8 miles each night.

I refused to become lazy and over sleep. I limited myself to no more than 8 hours of sleep a night. If I went to bed at 11pm, I got up at 7am.

So if you find yourself in THE CAVE - then why not start taking steps today to come out. You can begin by RESTING your physical body. Take care of yourself. You will be amazed at how a healthy body can help give you a positive mind-set - even inside THE CAVE.

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