You Are What You Eat

Practical Theology

“Your words were found, and I did eat them, and they were to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart” (Jeremiah 15:16).

Have you ever heard the expression “we ate it up”? It means, of course, that people eat more than food. They also eat words, thoughts, and ideas. What’s on your diet?

THE FOOD OF THIS WORLD IS NOTHING COMPARED WITH THE FOOD FROM HEAVEN

Nowadays you’d never know that the food of this world is nothing, would you? Every Sunday churchgoers flee the churchyard and make for the megabars. They pile their plates high, then go back for more, and more, and you wonder, Where do they put it? Well, some are adding more storage space onto their frames. They’re spreading out in all directions.

A person in tune with heaven, however, is not a slave to food. As a matter of fact, food doesn’t hold much delight for him. He’s more interested in abstract or spiritual things. When he spent forty days and forty nights on Mount Sinai, receiving the Ten Commandments, Moses neither ate nor drank from this natural world (Exodus 34:28); and when he came down from the mount, his skin was so radiant he had to wear a veil to hide his face (34:29-35). Elijah also fasted forty days and forty nights on the same mountain (Mount Sinai is Mount Horeb), talking with God (1 Kings 19:8). Job said, “I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12). Jesus, on one occasion, fasted forty days and forty nights (Matthew 4:2). On another occasion, He said to the disciples, “I have meat to eat that you know not of … My meat is to do the will of Him who sent Me” (John 4:32, 34).

One pastor lamented: “Nowadays you can’t even ask parishioners to fast. They’re on so many medications, fifteen to twenty a day, that they have to check with their doctor … Addiction to prescription drugs, in this country, is epidemic. It’s epidemic!”

When we get our priorities in place, we’ll be able to push back the plate. We won’t hunger for the food of this world. We won’t have to run to the doctor for every little ache and pain. We won’t be so narcissistic that we need doctors or medicine to pamper the flesh. The cultural world, and everything in it, including self, will lose its attraction.

THE PLEASURES OF THIS WORLD ARE NOTHING COMPARED WITH THE PLEASURES OF HEAVEN

Many men are sports enthusiasts. Some buy season passes. Some never miss a game. Every Saturday they are going to their favorite venue or sitting in an easy chair watching ESPN. They see nothing wrong with it. It’s a part of their natural life that they bring with them to God’s house, where they stand in the halls or aisles of the church or even in the pulpit talking teams and sports. They see it not as sin but as legitimate pleasure: they are “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:4). But the closer they get to God, the more they will lose interest in the things of this world, including spectator sports.

Would the Prophets of old have gone to a game or watched a game? I can’t imagine Moses, Joshua, David, Elijah, Isaiah, or Daniel stooping to such “pleasures.” I can’t imagine them wasting time playing or watching sports, much less looking for amusement or entertainment. “Entertainment is the devil’s substitute for joy” (Leonard Ravenhill).

If Jesus, Paul, or Peter lived in modern America, do you think he would listen to radio, watch television, go to the movies, play video games, or cruise the net? I think these godly men would be turned off by our culture, even by the news, though they might still see some utilitarian purpose for radio, television, cellphone, and computer.

“Men of the Bible communed with God in language as personal as speech affords, and with Him prophet and saint walked in a rapture of devotion, warm, intimate, and deeply satisfying” (adapted from AW Tozer).

Where we Americans are today, in terms of what we allow to pass through our mental processes, is so far from acceptable norms of godly, biblical behavior that we don’t even realize how culturally diseased we are. We don’t even see how bad television is until we don’t watch it anymore. The more distance we have from sitcoms and crime shows, not to mention worse programming, the less we can tolerate them.

People of God experience pleasure, but it is not the pleasure of this world. They find pleasure in God Himself. “They shall be abundantly satisfied with the goodness of God’s house and shall drink of the river of His pleasures” (Psalm 36:8; cf 65:4). “At [His] right hand are pleasures forevermore” (16:11).

THE JOYS OF THIS WORLD ARE NOTHING COMPARED WITH THE JOYS OF HEAVEN

This world talks happiness, but knows little of it. “Folly is joy to him who is destitute of wisdom” (Proverbs 15:21).

What the world knows is abortion, addiction, bloodshed, crime, darkness, death, drugs, dysfunctional families, emptiness, euthanasia, evil, fighting, fussing, hunger, incest, lovelessness, murder, perversion, rage, rebellion, sadness, sin, suicide, trauma, war …

Worldlings are slaves to bondage and chains, and not even attempting to be free. They will resist Christianity and the Cross before they will resist evil. How, then, can they know anything of happiness or joy?

“It is joy to the just to do justly” (21:15). “For God gives to man who is good in His sight wisdom, knowledge, and joy; but to the sinner, travail” (Ecclesiastes 2:26).

True joy, a gift of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), is found only in God. “In [His] presence is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11). Joy comes through salvation (Psalm 51:12; Isaiah 12:3). “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). “You shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace” (Isaiah 55:12).

I searched for peace among the shadow, dark and lonely
Gave up on finding that strong and lasting love
I tasted all the things that sin could think to offer me
But today I feast on manna from above

He is here, Hallelujah, He is here, Amen
He is here, Holy Holy, I will bless His name again
He is here, listen closely
Hear Him calling out your name
He is here, you can touch Him
You will never be the same ~Kirk Talley (1990)

“Watch the morning watch. Do not see the face of man until you have seen the face of God. Before you enter on the day with its temptations, look up into His face and hide His Word in your heart.” ~FB Meyer

Copyright © 2013 Alexandra Lee

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