The phrase “you are what you eat” is an age old one that originated in the 1800’s by a man whose name I can’t even say, so I won’t bother sharing it with you. Its meaning is obvious to us… whatever we consume for food contributes to the overall physical health of our bodies. I think it’s a true statement. A poor diet puts us at great risk for high cholesterol, obesity, heart disease, diabetes and many other numerous health concerns.
The bible clearly tells us that our bodies are a Holy temple (1 Corinthians 6:19) therefore it would make sense that we should care for the health of them while we are here on this earth. I think we can all agree on that. While this is important for us, I’m actually thinking of “you are what you eat” on a much deeper level.
I went to a conference last month and the word appetite became alive to me, beyond eating and beyond a physical hunger for food. What we crave has very much to do with what we consume on a regular basis, that’s true with food, but it is also true in life as a whole.
Jesus tells us “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." John 6:51
He is the bread of life. We can consume Him and drink Him in. It’s why He came, so we could live and not die because of our sin. We all crave joy, peace and love. Our appetites for these things can only truly be satisfied by God. We know this. Yet, we still find ourselves feeding on the tantalizing vast all-you-can-eat buffet offered up by this world.
The more we consume the more our hearts and minds subtly accept and justify and dwell on what the world calls lovely instead of God who is the lovely of lovelies. It’s quiet and subtle and before we know it we’re hooked. CS Lewis was right, “we are far too easily pleased.”
One would think we had no chance with the inundation of worldly influence that we are exposed to on a daily basis. Reality TV invites our needy flesh to feed on out of control train wrecks filled with deception, humiliation and sexual immorality, among many other things. It’s not just reality TV, its regular programming too and the commercials in between corrupting our minds. It’s in the latest horror movie that takes us into a darkness that seems so real that we can not forget what we’ve seen. Worldly living is woven into the simplest and seemingly harmless romance novels and women’s magazines. It can also be heard singing in the lyrics of our favorite music. What do we do with the songs we like the most? We memorize them and sing them in our heads even while we sleep. It’s on the computer, seen by accident, or on Facebook and Twitter tempting us to return to the flesh… cheering us on to submit to our “true” selves. Yes, we are surrounded at every turn and our victory looks bleak.
In “The Pursuit of God”, AW Tozer says that we have a veil in our hearts… “It is the veil of our fleshly, fallen nature living on, unjudged within us, uncrucified and unrepudiated. It is the close-woven veil of the self-life which we have never truly acknowledged, of which we have been secretly ashamed, and which for these reasons we have never brought to the judgment of the cross.”
It’s our fiery, undicisciplined flesh that desires this self-life and works hard at keeping it under cover. It’s the world that keeps this self-life fed. The world is our dealer, giving us the fix we need over and over again. We’re so addicted to the man-made joy, peace and love offered by the world that we miss the free-flowing pure versions that God has to offer. We move from quick fix to quick fix and we miss that there is no fix necessary when you are getting it from God himself.
So, what to do? The only thing to do is pray that God will create an appetite within us for Him. Only He can create that physical urge within us that causes us to run to Him, to eat of Him and Him alone. In the meantime while we wait, we let our love for God lead us into deep relationship with Him. We believe what His Word says “delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4) Delight in Him and your desires will become Him.
How? Meet him in the morning and lay your request before him and wait in expectation. (Psalm 5:3) Hate what is evil and cling to what is good. (Romans 12:9) Ask him to teach us to do His will and for His Spirit to lead us (Psalm 143:10) and lastly, offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God… not conforming any longer to the pattern of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. (Romans 12:1-2)
So, I know what you’re thinking… are we to put blinders on and shelter ourselves from everything? Sometimes I feel like doing just that, but that’s not the answer. We have to remember what the bible says… “everything is permissible, but everything is not beneficial.” (1Corinthians 10:23) We are completely free to do whatever we want, but when it affects our ability to connect deeply and completely with God and when it dethrones God and up-lifts us it is not beneficial. Anything that separates us from God even for a second is not beneficial to us in any way.
You remember the children’s song that goes like this…
“Oh, be careful little ears, what you hear, be careful little ears what you here, for the Father Up above, is looking down in love, so be careful little ears what you hear.” It goes on changing what you hear to what you see, what you say, what you do, where you go, what you think and what you love.
The answer is there in that song. However, we are only equipped to guard our hearts and minds when all that we consume is the Bread of Life. Otherwise we leave ourselves open to be victimized by our flesh, the devil and the world that bows down to them both.
AW Tozer also says “We must invite the cross to do its deadly work within us. We must bring our self-sins to the cross for judgment. We must prepare ourselves for an ordeal of suffering in some measure like that through which our Saviour passed when He suffered under Pontius Pilate… The cross is rough and it is deadly, but it is effective. It does not keep its victim hanging there forever. There comes a moment when its work is finished and the suffering victim dies. After that is resurrection glory and power, and the pain is forgotten for joy that the veil is taken away and we have entered in actual spiritual experience the presence of the living God.”
We are indeed what we eat… the physical and spiritual health of our bodies, our minds and our hearts are clear evidence of what we consume.
Father, consume me so with blazing fire,
Burn up my flesh and sin desire
Pursue me, draw me in forcibly
Bread of life let me crave and taste and see
Take up my cross and let me die
To live life unveiled with You on high!