(6) John Owen: Appetite For Spiritual Mindedness


We are almost at the end of Owen’s reflections on Spiritual Mindedness. Maybe just a post or two left. In chapter 20 Owen turns to the analogy of appetite; specifically reflecting on the lack of appetite we often have for thinking spiritually.

“When people have found a joy in the suitability of spiritual truth to themselves, they will long for more of it, especially at those times when such delight seems more difficult to feel. Illness of body can make us loose our physical appetite. So, too, in the case of the health of our souls, if some sinfulness has made us spiritually sick, then we will lose the sweetness of spiritual things. But believers experience a longing for the return to health and to the former enjoyment of former experiences when spiritual duties and truths seemed so good.”

If you are suffering lack of “spiritual appetite”, might this be the reason? I regularly talk myself through a little “self-diagnosis”, seeking out possible causes for my lack of spiritual appetite. Of course there are many things that can cause us to loose our appetite. Knowing that it is not sin alone that can plague us, Owen also offers the following encouragement…

“There are times when because of weakness or tiredness it is unusually hard to concentrate the thoughts. Let me say that if you cannot succeed in meditation, do not stop trying! Return to the task again and again during the day. Take comfort from a Scripture passage like Romans 8:23-26. If you neglect the habit for any length of time, it will soon evade you altogether. And what is worse, you will become content with other things instead of spiritual things.”

Reading Owen at this point, I’m personally wondering If I need to take more stepts to avoid loosing my appetite in the first place. Some of my tiredness is self-inflicted. How might my appetite for thinking spiritual things, be improved by some strategically possitioned moments of rest?


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