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Care and Feeding of the Spirit

God intends to transform our inner man. He will not put a new patch on the old garment. It must die and be reborn. But our personal spirit never dies, although it does suffer the wounds of daily existence. God promises to heal these wounds, and He asks us to honor and care for our spirits as precious and eternal gifts.

A cheerful spirit is good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs
17:2212 VS

Our spirits have three primary needs: worship, relationship, and affection. Lacking these experiences, that part of us which takes in life is wounded and unable to sustain us. This lesson shares many ways parents can nurture the spirits of children. But these helps are not for children only. Just as we are to care for the temple of our bodies, we are also to engage in disciplines, which will strengthen our own spirits, enabling us to live life fully and serve God.

Forgiveness for the wounds to our spirit begins the Lord's work of healing. Other keys to healing are included at the end of this lesson.

The following are three basic functions and needs of the spirit.

o Worship our spirits feed upon their source.

o Relationship. We are fed by relating affectionately to God, others, self and nature.

o Sustain the body and heal it.

Our spirits require nurture and feeding just as our bodies do. Without spiritual food, our spirits wither and die to captivity to function. Parents may bless their children with healthy food for the body, instruction for the mind, but fail to give the daily nurture needed for spirits to thrive.
How to strengthen our children's spirits

o Worship with them in church, home devotions, flash prayers, intercession, thanksgiving at meal times, bedtime prayers, and prayer as daily conversations, for hurts, joy, etc.

o Pray blessings on them before school, bedtime, anytime.

o Expose them to beauty in nature, art, music, etc. Teach them to experience life with all of their senses.

o Share uplifting music.

o Help them to develop good reading habits i.e., poetry, stories of heroes, and saints. This will build strength of will and desire into the spirit.

o Provide opportunities for adventure trips, hiking, and exploring,

o Rave regular family gatherings, which extend family times, reunions to strengthen ties, revive roots, and build identifies.

o Encourage laughter.

o Make mealtime a celebration of life, family, and individuals. Play "One good thing & One bad thing" This game promotes communication and gives you insight to what is going on in your child's life, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and how they feel about what is going on around them. (If the bad is something that they have done in school that day, and you slam them instead of discuss and move on, they will be afraid to play the game any more, and won't trust you. It will feel like a set up. Keep it at a game and discussion level, not a badger and humiliation opportunity.) If it is something that needs correction let them be involved, by saying " Woe, that was a bad thing! What did we learn from that one, and how do we avoid that thing from happening again? And let them share. If they haven't quite gotten the gravity of the situation, you can say, "OK, well we will figure something out later," and move on.

o Work and play together.

o Discipline teaches truth, justice, peace, and healing. Hebrews 12:8-1 4

o Teach by example; not do as I say, not as I do. Pure affection for one another, by using appropriate language for communicating demonstrates that love for others. Self-sacrifice is that willingness to lay down your life for another.

The lack of nurturing caused by the absence of these things is the first and most damaging wounding done to the spirit. Few parents are aware of these needs and thus do not work to provide them. To the degree these things are lacking, the spirit withers from starvation. The wounded spirit is the primary cause for the sickness in the world today, emotional as well as physical.

Healing for the wounded spirit.

o Recognition: Explore family life until wounds are seen and understood.

o Forgiveness: Lead client to express forgiveness for the lack of nurture. Many will not feel or admit anger. They will rationalize their parent's actions (what appears to be protection of the parents, is really a way to avoid forgiving). The way that a Christian avoids having to forgive is to deny that there is anything to forgive. "Oh, that didn't make me angry it just hurt me. They couldn't help it, because when they were young...! Thus confession and healing must be achieved by faith and prayer aloud with another.

o Affection: Offer appropriate touch and affection. Men, if you are praying for a woman that was molested as a child, it would make her feel safer if you placed a small throw pillow on her lap as a barrier between you and she as you hold hands and pray. In this way you don't end up resting the back of your hands or arms on her legs. Let them know what you are doing. I say "from your history it appears as though every man you have come in contact with has defiled you in one way or another. This pillow is some protection for you. I want you to feel as safe as possible." You would be amazed at the look of appreciation that you will receive. This speaks volumes to the woman in the area of trust. If I am dealing with a homosexual, I do the same thing. I say essentially the same thing.

o Worship: Recommend regular attendance at church, fellowship with the Body and in small group meetings, i.e., life net, Bible studies, support groups etc.

o Sacraments: Communion is a special gift of spiritual food from our lord, This is not to become an empty ritual, but rather to be reverenced. John 6: 48-58

o Homework: As part of his/her homework have him or her choose life daily in prayer and in action.

A lifetime process

All the things that parents should do to strengthen the spirits of their children are things that we should continue to do for our spouses, our friends, and ourselves. It is a process that will take a lifetime to work through, layer upon layer. Once we have confessed, repented and forgiven, the process begins and will continue as long as we are able to recognize the habits, patterns and structures, and are willing to put them to death on the cross.

Some Christians are uncomfortable with some of the suggestions we offer for spirit-building, arguing that their non-Christian friends read and listen to music all the time, yet are still no closer to knowing God: "Shouldn't our sustenance be different from theirs?"

The answer is yes-and no. As Christians, our lives should be God-centered, and that focus informs all of our activities, making any experience different for us than for those who don't know Him. But we all-believers and nonbelievers, are given personal spirits, and the degree to which they receive nurture is the degree to which they are healthy, and capable of receiving life,

We have all known non-Christians who seem to be more "alive" than some Christians. Their souls are not saved, their characters not reborn in Him, yet they seem healthy and vibrant. These are the signs of a spirit, which was nurtured in childhood, and is now ripe for knowing the Lord. Matthew 5:45

Recommended reading for this lesson...
Healing the Wounded Spirit: chapter I
Waking the Slumbering Spirit chapters 3-5, 7 this is optional


Psalm 84:5 - Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.

Proverbs 17:22 - A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Isaiah 30:15-This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.

Isaiah 53:4-5 - Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed,


Matthew 5:45b - "He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

John 6:48-58 - I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my
flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?' Jesus said to them, " I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever."

Hebrews 12:8-14 - If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true Sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleas-ant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. "Make level paths for your feet," so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

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Site Last Updated: October 23,2023