After my recent bout with COVID-19, a friend told me about a plasma donation center nearby. Blood plasma with COVID antibodies can apparently help those who have severe cases of the illness. This place also pays you for donating, which certainly helps this time of year.
If you have never given plasma before, it is an interesting process. It is just like giving blood, only your blood is then run through a machine that separates the red-blood cells from the plasma. Then they pump the red-blood cells back into your body. Overall, it is a pretty painless process; however, there is a risk.
When giving blood or plasma, there is always a risk of dehydration. They are literally taking fluids out of your body. Some people experience dizziness and weakness afterward. The staff at this location are really good about checking on you and giving you a Gatorade or two to help you recover. However, if you want to avoid all of that, you learn to hydrate before you go. When I gave the first time, the staff told me to drink lots of water or Gatorade the night and morning before giving plasma. This will help you give and recover more quickly.
The other night, I realized this was a great metaphor for the Christian life and the spiritual disciplines. Many times in the past, I would go through life spiritually dehydrated. When trials or temptation came my way, I would falter and stumble and give way to sin. This led to broken relationships as well as shame and guilt over my failures.
What took me much too long to figure out was that I need to stay spiritually hydrated. King Jesus is the living water that I need to make through the trials and temptations of life. When I start my day with Him through prayer and engaging in His Word, I find I am better able to navigate whatever comes my way. Even better, when I continually drink from His presence throughout the day, I am not only able to spiritually survive, but even thrive.
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”John 7:37-38 English Standard Version
I think it is safe to say that 2020 has left us all a bit dehydrated: mentally, spiritually, and physically. If we want to thrive in 2021, we need to come to the fountain of living water who is King Jesus, not just once but daily.
At my church, we are starting a campaign to encourage the three essential disciplines of the Christian life throughout the next year: Bible, Prayer, and Community. We are calling this campaign: Resolve 2021. Wherever you are, I ask you to join us. Make daily prayer and Bible engagement your habit. Make regular engagement with your church community a priority (more than once a week). Resolve to make 2021 a year of spiritual growth and obedience to King Jesus.