How I longed for feta cheese (and nameless other soft, French cheeses)! Cheese was just one of a host of food and drinks that had to be shelved during my pregnancies. While I was nursing, some foods had to be tempered to only a modest consumption. However, what I put in my body directly affected the baby whom I was growing or feeding, and that responsibility made me relish, rather than resent, the required self-discipline. This new awareness not only affected what I ate, it also influenced the beauty products I used while pregnant. Becoming more “green” or ”clean” was so much more important once my choices were no longer affecting just me but also my children.
Nowadays, our society is much better informed about the type of foods we need to eat to be healthy. We know how much exercise we need to maintain a healthy weight, and we know our bodies reflect the fuel we feed them. However, our “all natural, organic, green, work out daily for 2 hours at the gym” society still turns a blind eye to the fact that our lives (our speech, actions, and thoughts) reflect what we feed our soul. The Bible tells us, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:45. It baffles me why we (and I include myself in this “we”) lack the self-discipline to act on this knowledge. “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.” Romans 7:14-16.
Do you feel somewhere deep within your soul a longing to know your Creator, to grasp who God is with your mind and heart, and to be secure in the knowledge that you will be okay in the next life? We don’t like to talk about these issues because they make us uncomfortable, but they are nevertheless even more important than how we treat our physical bodies. Unfortunately, we push these thought-provoking questions out of our mind and replace them with more palatable daydreams, with schedules and to-do lists, and with diversions of every kind. Instead of filling our souls with God’s Word and replenishing our thirsty hearts with the Living Water, we attempt to satisfy our parched souls with the dust of lust or the sand of keeping up with the Joneses. We settle for worthless idols and end up falling short of the wonderful plan God has for us.
If you are what you eat, then your body is affected by everything you consume; if my baby’s development was similarly influenced when I was enceinte and if the milk I feed my baby reflects what I have eaten, then it is vital that I eat the purest foods possible. In the same way, your life reflects what is in your heart, so if you are surrounding yourself with bad company, watching trash television, reading books that aren’t pleasing to God, or spending all of your time on selfish pursuits, then you shouldn’t be surprised when your life is superficial, tainted by sin, and unfulfilling. If you become numb and desensitized to the sin around you and in your heart, then you will not be able to guard your children from it and properly teach them right from wrong.
The Bible warns us repeatedly to be on guard. Jesus preached, “Be on guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” Luke 12:1. He also taught, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” Luke 12:15. Peter wrote, “dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:17-18.
Therefore, let us educate ourselves on what we feed our bodies and souls so we know if these things will produce good or evil in our lives. With some things, it is obvious; however, there are many gray areas where we are not immediately sure if the thing offered to us is good or bad. In those cases, we must closely examine that with which and those with whom we surround ourselves, using God’s Word as a litmus test. “[E]very good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. . . . Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” Matthew 7:17-20.
Let us pray about those gray areas and be open to the Holy Spirit’s conviction. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:6-7. Let us actively, rather than passively, pursue God to gain the physical and spiritual self-discipline and self-control we so desperately need. “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.” Psalm 42:1.