By Steven Shaw
We have all heard this saying, “You are what you eat”, and it’s true when we are talking about our physical appearance and overall health. What I would like to talk about is how this also applies to our spiritual life.
The world we live in is filled with uncertainty, violence and turmoil. These things feed our souls and soon we find ourselves malnourished, starving and sick in body, mind and spirit. God has created us with a physical body as well as a spiritual body. Although Paul is speaking about the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:44 he does say that there is both a natural body and a spiritual body. Both are important and our physical and spiritual bodies need the right kind of nutrition to survive and thrive. What we are watching, hearing, reading and doing plays a huge part in the ongoing formation of our spiritual bodies and will no doubt determine our future. Unfortunately most of the world is overly focused on the physical body (size, shape, strength) and there is no attention given to the spiritual body, let alone any thought of a healthy one. It would be a shame to spend your life working on a physical body to please yourself and others, and yet when your life is over, your spiritual body is not fit for the God who made you.
This may sound like I am talking about earning your salvation, but let me be clear I am simply restating what Paul taught to the church who again and again only focused on their physical bodies and not their spiritual bodies. Being fit for Christ can only happen by His choosing us and us submitting our lives to Him through His work on the cross and nothing else. Again I quote Paul when he says to the church in Corinth, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6: 19-20).
Spiritual Malnourishment from the World
Let me first define what I mean by “the world”.
I am talking about the world system- the inventions and thoughts of man without God, all kinds of thinking and imaginations that do not line up with the truth of Scripture. The systems of belief and man-made religious thought that are in direct opposition to the word of the God. That world system (one void of God and His truth) offers “soul food” that is no better then the rotting, stinking garbage found in a dumpster behind your local grocery store. The so-called truth the world offers literally poisons the mind, body and soul and if eaten daily will destroy you.
The problem is the position the world takes when it comes to a “live and let live” attitude or the path many take to blindly accept anything that comes along simply because it is satisfying to the flesh and makes us feel good. Just like Adam and Eve, we are drawn (even mesmerized) by what is pleasing to the eye and we are fall into spiritual sickness when we choose to eat poison. I have ventured down those roads, nay, have experienced every earthly pleasure and it’s dark. Every time those choices led me to a place that was diseased, filled with compromise, blindness and despair. Yes, Christians can also be deceived and sucked back into the world system- this reality is not only for those who are not yet saved. Paul explains in Romans how and why this happens:
“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind and to things that should not be done. They were filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, craftiness, they are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, rebellious toward parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. They know God’s decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die—yet they not only do them but even applaud others who practice them.” (Romans 1:28-32, NASB).
One of the scariest and saddest places to be is left by God. But it’s our own choice. When we “do not see fit” to acknowledge God, we are given over to spiritual disease. In today’s world we see the above things DAILY and if we try to extend a warning or use the Bible to show why there is spiritual disease many times the response is, “don’t judge me”, or “”you can’t tell me what to do”. It is an all too common state of mind that mirrors what Paul was communicating to the Romans. As the spiritual disease spreads, society becomes desensitized to the wickedness around them and soon massacres, abortion, murders, child abuse, rape and even terrorist activities become part of the norm.
THIS IS SPIRITUAL MALNOURISHMENT…
The Most Deadly “Food”:
There is something that is even more dangerous than what is obvious and seen- the lies that are wrapped in truth. The most dangerous lie is the one that contains a mixture of both the truth and a lie. These can be found within the teachings of popular television evangelist’s, the latest and greatest pop-Christian radio songs, and books that profess Jesus yet clearly distort His words. These cleverly produced lies are dangerous and when ingested can produce spiritual disease that spreads worse than any physical disease. If you’re consuming garbage, then you will become what you eat. This will lead to a false assurance of your salvation and you will be deceived.
Let us not trade the truth for a lie!
True Nutrition Leads to Spiritual Health
What is spiritual food and where can we find it?
Jesus said: “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh” (John 6:51).
Paul said, “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread”
(I Corinthians 10:16).
Jesus said, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
David said, “For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good” (Psalm 107:9).
Our spiritual nourishment is Christ and is also found in God’s word! The Scriptures (God’s truth) and the presence of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in our lives is what feeds our body, soul and spirit. Of course we have to eat healthy, nutritious food and I believe we will make better choices to do so when we are truly living as temples of the Holy Spirit. God will strengthen us and give us the wisdom and willpower to make those healthy choices when we turn to Him and ask for His help. This is called congruency, which means there is no double-mindedness and compromise because we are living a balanced life in Christ, both on the inside and the outside. We are feasting on God’s word and that is creating the firm foundation that we need to make it in this crazy world and to not wander off into the garbage dump.
The word of God has power it is LIVING. I never understood that until I picked up my bible and read it from cover to cover. I wasn’t even a quarter of the way through when it hit me like a ton of bricks. As I kept reading, I completely understood the power that God’s perfect book contains. It has changed me from the inside out and now I am compelled to spread His word and help others. I no longer feed on a compromised, weak and selfish version of Christianity. As I have ingested God’s word I’ve caught glimpses of His glory and that has changed and continues to change me on a daily basis. My soul is finally getting the nutrients it needs! I am getting stronger with each meal and now I must share. I can’t shut up about Christ and no can shut me up. We must have more of Christ and less of the world. We are what we eat!
Please don’t let my word be the final word on this. Pick up the Bible, read Gospel-saturated books by good authors, read good commentaries on the Bible, pick up Wayne Grudem’s “Systematic Theology”, read the 1689 London Baptist confession of faith and learn from a man’s lifetime of study and meditation on the Word of God. Most of all, trust in Jesus Christ and know what He has given us is whole, perfect and is for our good and His glory. Love you all!
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
Contributing editor credit: Lisa M Johnston, Th.M. and Pastor/sozofreedom.com