When I hear that question, it sends my mind whirling! If I am taking supplements it must mean that I believe I am lacking something. It suggests that I have perceived a deficiency of some kind. To supplement means I am seeking to make complete that which is incomplete.
I also think about “sin” when I hear the word “supplement.” As odd as that might sound, when I remember that sin is not something I do so much as something I believe about God, then I think about sin. Sin is an attitude that insists on accusing God and questions His goodness.
Sin is our effort to supplement what we believe are limits in God’s goodness. If I think He is not good enough in any area–I will seek to supplement where I believe He is falling short. What an insult to the One who is the definition of goodness–the source of all goodness!
At the heart of all sin is a lie. The lie says to all of us in our sin, “The act you are now doing, the desire or attitude you are now feeling is not very bad because there are much worse things, not very bad because everyone else experiences the same things, not very bad because you can’t help it, not very bad because there is no God, or, if that won’t work, God knows you are but frail and weak and he will tolerate and pity your sin.” There are a thousand distortions of the truth which sin brings with it into the human heart, so that Jeremiah cries out, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately corrupt; who can understand it?” (17:9). John Piper
When we listen to the lies of our hearts we will find ourselves “taking supplements.” We will find ourselves believing God is withholding the very thing that would make us complete. We will find ourselves feeling justified in taking the initiative to fill what is lacking by supplementing with self effort.
Rather than believing a lie, that I can supplement what is dangerously lacking within me, I cling to the truth that my real deficiency has been swallowed up by Christ’s sufficiency. I want to live in that truth with grateful faith rather than tarnishing the gift with counterfeit, useless supplements.
If self- effort supplements “worked”– wouldn’t we all be well satisfied by now? Isn’t it true that spiritual supplementing is just a nice word for idolatry? Remember the story of the golden calf?
Today, I would say, “No, I don’t take supplements because too often they end up taking me!”