Those of you who are avid health aficionados and who are familiar with the detoxing process of the body have inevitably faced a healing crisis. What is meant by the "crisis" is a temporary worsening of a persons health condition in order to bring about a cleansing effect and a healthier you. The crisis begins as the body rids itself of negative and toxic substances. These substances are released into the body which were once pent up and they begin their journey out of the body. In this process the toxins can actually manifest several symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, slight malaise, sleeplessness, flu like symptoms, nausea and so on. The symptoms are short lived however and are a welcome change to the toxic state the body had been operating under. Most recognize this temporary set back as a positive step in the right direction and deal with the discomfort for they know the condition the body is heading for and they embrace this process of healing.
So what exactly does this have to do with spiritual health?
The same theory can be applied to the state of the soul and spirit. As we take in more of the toxic environment and social context surrounding our spirit bodies we come face to face with a spiritual life in need of a resetting or a recharging. This realization is a healthy step for our spirits but it will not come without a short-lived worsening of our spiritual state. As you begin to allow God to work in your spirit to cleanse it from all unrighteousness (1 Jn. 1:9) you may be reminded of a particular lingering sin or pattern of behavior. As this sin is cleansed from your spirit and as your pattern of behavior is transformed a period of grief may come over you. You may feel convicted of your sin and this may cause you to feel defeated. What is important here is that you do not just throw in the towel and cease the healing process that has begun. You must press through this healing crisis of the soul and put your trust and process in the hands of God. If you confess your sins to God you have nothing to fear for He is faithful and just to forgive your sins and as referenced above He will cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 Jn. 1:9). This cleansing process is what theologians refer to as sanctification. This process is the life-long journey of the believer in which God draws you closer to Him and further away from sin and corruption. This setting apart of the Christian is completed in full at the second coming of Christ or the at the death of the believer (whichever occurs first). At this point the believer is glorified and takes part in the inheritance that was prepared for them before the foundations of this world (Matt. 25:34).
So is your soul in need of a detox? Have you been faltering in your devotion to Christlikeness? Do you feel ashamed of a pattern of behavior in your life? Are you feeling more removed from God? Is your prayer time non-existent or non-effective? Are you feeling readers block when you spend time reading God's Word?
If you answered yes it may be time for a spiritual detox.
I want to suggest a great read for you on this topic as you begin your journey to a renewed spirit. Dallas Willard has written a classic of the spiritual life entitled Renovation of the Heart and I highly recommend using this as a guide to spiritual health and renewing.
Whatever resource you choose make sure you allow yourself grace and a time of spiritual rest. Just like with a physical detox it may cause you to become fatigued or weary, but be gentle on your soul and put its health in the trust of the Savior. He knows what you need and will guide you through the healing crisis to the spiritual health you have always desired and were designed for.