It’s no secret. Whole foods are better for you than processed foods are. Research has proven this time and time again, and in our culture, this is relatively old news. So why, in light of all of these studies and facts, are we, as a country, still more obese than ever? Well for starters, processed food and fast food is simply more convenient; it takes less time to prepare (or order) this food than to take the time to make most whole foods. Also, a lot of times, whole foods and “healthy foods” just don’t taste as good as salty, fatty, processed foods. But then there are those people who do eat healthy foods and still gain weight. What’s up with that? Well, working out is still necessary, even when eating the right foods.
This past week, my pastor used this theme as a parallel to our spiritual lives, and I’ve been chewing on it ever since. I was super convicted because I love to read. I’m almost prideful in how many books I read in a given month. Nerdy, I know, but it’s the truth. After listening to this sermon, I realized that so many people in our culture, me being one of the biggest culprits, consume so much processed spiritual food and not nearly enough whole food. Whole spiritual food is nothing more than raw Scripture. Processed spiritual food includes Christian books, podcasts, sermons, etc. Scripture has been processed and prepared for our consumption by the author, pastor, or whoever else is interpreting it for us.
Just as we long for the convenience of processed/fast food, we gravitate toward these books and podcasts because they’re convenient. They’re already processed and made ready to consume. But what happens is we become addicted to their convenience and consume more and more of it until we’re fat with more knowledge than we know what do with. If we just take the time and read Scripture, we see that, while the list of “ingredients” or “usable” pieces of information may be fewer, the quality and richness is so much more than the processed stuff. Quality vs. quantity.
Sometimes, as with health foods, Scripture just isn’t as appetizing as a deliciously fatty Donald Miller book. Now, don’t get me wrong; I love Donald Miller books, but I also love cheesecake. And I can’t live on cheesecake. Wish I could. But what’s true about health food is also true about Scripture. Sometimes, it can be bland and boring. I’d vouch for that. But it’s what’s best for us. It sustains us. It keeps us going longer than any processed or fast food can. And every once in a while, a food tastes so good, we’d be surprised it was healthy. Same can be said about Scripture.
But even if we read Scripture all day every day, we can still become “spiritually fat”. The first chapter in James, verses 14-26, talks about how faith and deeds must coincide. We have to not only consume Scripture, but we must also “work out” our faith. Our deeds should be a natural reaction to what we know and believe. If we just know it and don’t do it, we’re just spiritually fat and useless. But we have to be careful not to become weak, tired, worn out, and spiritually anorexic. That is, we do, do, do, but we never take the time to feed ourselves spiritually. There has to be a balance.
So, with all this said, should we just throw out all our Christian books, stop listening to podcasts and sermons, and stop reading blogs? Well, no. It’s not terrible to have fast food every once in a while, or splurge on that cheesecake. Sure. Go for it. But we can’t live on the stuff. If our lives consist of more processed, fast food than whole foods, sure we’ll survive. But think of the health costs. Think of how much healthier your life could be if it consisted primarily of whole foods. It takes discipline, just like eating right. But with consistency, the benefits will undoubtedly follow. Commit to being spiritually fit instead of spiritually fat. Eat more whole food.
Here’s the sermon that inspired all of this. It’s the one titled “Rooted”: http://www.gracepoint.org/index.cfm/pageid/2159/index.html