August 17, 2017 | Spiritual Metabolism

“For they disciplined us for a short time based on what seemed good to them, but He does it for our benefit,
so that we can share His holiness.”
[Hebrews 12:10 HCSB]
Hebrews 12 teaches that because God is a disciplining Father, Christians know we are accepted as sons. That adoption includes this incredible blessing – we “share His holiness.”What a fascinating phrase in verse 10! What does it mean that we share in God’s holiness?
“Share” in v. 10 is a form of μεταλαμβάνωmetalambano [met al uhm’ ban oh], a Greek word meaning to participate or have a share in. It’s the same term from which we get our word “metabolism.”
As a reminder from 7th grade Life Science class, metabolism is the combination of physical and chemical processes that go on in living organisms and cells. It’s the natural physical process of life. Metabolism involves Anabolism – taking in food and building it into tissue. Metabolism also includes Catabolism – expending stored food for needed energy.
And that understanding gives us a pretty good idea what Hebrews 12 is describing. The natural spiritual process is holiness.
  • We share in holiness by what we can call spiritual anabolism: taking in the disciplines of God and building health from it.
  • Spiritual catabolism is also part of the metabolism of our shared holiness: turning what we have absorbed into energy for running the race.
That is how we share in holiness. Taking in God’s disciplines and living them out.
Spiritual anabolism
There are times in our lives when we are not making effective use of this birthright. We stagnate in our spiritual disciplines, especially Bible intake. We slowly fade away from accountability, reflection, and joyful engagement with God.
If that is your situation today, please take the steps that will change your life. Go to church. Pray. Engage in small group fellowship. Rest. Build health in your soul so that you will have “metabolic” reserves needed in the days of expenditure to come.
Friends, if your church is full of shallow Christians…if theology and Bible study are avoided…if heresy and division are sprouting up in the body – you need to lead the way by showing how to practice spiritual anabolism.
Spiritual catabolism
There are of course other seasons in our lives when we are vegetating in our shared holiness because we have stopped or slowed our necessary expenditure of energy. We conveniently cancel commitments, see self-love as the highest good, or expect others to do all the hard things.
If that is your situation today, please take the steps that will change your life. Serve! Dedicate yourself for a year to teach children at your church. Teach or host a Life Group. Give your church more money than the mere 3% “tipping” that is normal for American Christians. Exercise your gifts for the Lord.
Friends, if your church needs servant-leaders in the children’s ministry…if your fellowship is seriously underfunded…if people are sitting in a pew only and not engaging in ministry life – you need to lead the way by showing how to practice spiritual catabolism.