Being ‘sick to your stomach’ expresses one’s ailment, where it may be coming from, or where it may be effecting. Bowel issues produce a sickness that isn’t some other ailment. A headache, the cold, or the flu are just some sicknesses that can, but do not always involve the stomach. It isn’t until one of these other infirmities worsens that it then effects the bowels. The expression is also employed when there is a physical reaction from heights, quick movements, or fear. Also, we get sick to our stomach’s when we see something grotesque either as a reaction to the cutting of flesh, seeing the inner anatomy, or in another instance when we see some heinous wickedness done. Even hearing the news of some evil done to someone, especially a loved one can produce a “gut reaction.” For some there is a great tolerance of these things for others they can’t ‘stomach it’. Nonetheless, the stomach becomes a measuring rod for what we can handle. Simply, the bowels are the table of our likes and dislikes.
The “belly” spiritually speaking is identical, in that, it is the table of our likes and dislikes; however, God has made them for His writing. His Word is to comprise the table of our bowels thus educate us on that which we like and dislike, that which we love and hate, that which is good and evil, etc. We learn about a spiritual infirmity in Paul’s epistles about being constrained in our bowels. This restriction stems from serving the belly. For some it becomes even worse, that is, their God is their belly. In Romans 12:1 we are “besought” to present our bodies by God’s mercies to reasonably serve God. This holy presentation of the son and daughter of God isn’t for conformity to the world, it isn’t for our own belly, nonetheless is for our best interest.
The Spirit of God has searched the deep things of God. The Spirit has interceded for us to receive God’s things. Thus, having the Spirit and knowing He leads us, we are to know that which He leads us in. He does not lead us in the sins of the flesh with all its vile affections and lusts of the flesh and eyes. These things are to be reckoned dead with our old man. Those things become our old conversation. And He teaches us, by the renewing of our mind, God’s deep glorious affections we are to set our own affection upon. Wherefore, by His Word He grants us new affections. Our bowels are to be enlarged to these new affections. These new bowels will produce a continence of our flesh. Yet, if we serve our belly we will be incontinent. We have been apprehended of Christ to be incontinent when it comes to the things of the Spirit. God’s grace to us, known by His Word, is to have free course within us. The flesh with all its waste is to be counted as what it is in truth – dung. If we do not and balk at the bowels of Jesus Christ we can easily be diagnosed with being constrained in our bowels.
Glorious as the operation of our new bowels may be many Christians remain constrained in their own bowels. They remain serving their own belly, although they are servants of God. There are two particular outcomes for this ailment; that is, 1) serving divers lusts, and 2) division between body members.
Forsaking the things of the Spirit can be destructive individually and corporately. In turn, indulging and dieting upon the nourishment of God’s things, things He ordained to our glory, will “let not sin reign in your mortal body” and, also cultivate a strong fellowship among members of Christ’s body, based upon love. Are you constrained in your own bowels? Do you know the bowels of Jesus Christ? Do you have them? Are your likes and dislikes, your preferences according to the revealed will of God in His Word? I pray we suffer not from this common spiritual ailment.
Josh Strelecki, Pastor-Teacher