I like to eat. However my lifelong eating habits have played havoc on my body. I battle high blood pressure. I have Type 2 Diabetes. I have to watch my cholesterol, etc. etc. etc. Recently I have returned to a very healthy diet. I am so enjoying eating this way. Which got me to thinking. How are my eating habits similar to my spiritual eating habits? Jesus made this point of comparison when he was tempted by the devil.
Man shall not live by bread alone,but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.(Matthew 4:4 ESV)
Here are some principles that I apply to my food diet. They are also helpful when I apply them to my living on every word from God’s mouth. See if you can relate.
1. Following a good plan gets the right food into my system.
If I go to the grocery store and just wing it, I’m in trouble. Especially if Suzie goes with me. I’ll stock the fridge and pantry with the wrong stuff. If I get the munchies and stare into the fridge, the result isn’t good.
I use a computer program to help me. I set my targets for a diabetic with coronary issues. This includes daily calories, keeping my carbs down, and watching those fats are the biggies. Then I track everything that goes into my mouth throughout the day. This is systematic eating.
Likewise, when my habit of reading and meditating on Scripture is out of whack, I need a good plan. There are a number of good plans out there. Personally, I am reading straight through the Bible beginning at Genesis. I am now in Judges 13. To begin my day, I want to spend some good, quality time in that section. Some days it may be only a chapter. Other days it may be much more. But I know when I awake, exactly where to turn.
2. After I get the plan down, it becomes part of me.
A few years ago, I was eating very healthy for a long period of time. I felt great, lost weight and had all of my medical numbers in line. I discovered that after I tracked everything for a while, I knew exactly what I could/should eat and how much. It was a part of me.
Spiritually, when I regularly follow my reading plan, it becomes a part of me. I am eager to get into the Word and hear God speak. I don’t have to check off a list. I just do it.
They say that it takes about 3 weeks to form a habit. If we commit to being a bit rigid for that period of time, then it becomes less of a chore and more of what we are about. I certainly want to avoid a legalistic approach to Bible reading. But some structure – especially early on – is helpful.
3. I don’t freak out if I take a small detour.
When I am regularly eating like I should, it is no big deal if I have a “bad” meal or snack. The next day I simply return to my routine. The key is to not make the bad meals the routine and slip in a little healthy stuff on occasion.
My body still has enough of the good stuff in reserve to keep my numbers in line if I have been eating right.
If I have been feasting on God’s word on a regular basis, missing a day of reading several chapters probably won’t be the end of me spiritually. After all, I have been filling my mind with God’s word. I will still be thinking and being reminded of things that I have read. So after a miss, I just get back to it.
4. I savor what I consume.
When I am eating right, every bite is delicious. Here is how a meal plays out. As I chop some veggies or prepare a nice dish, I am already enjoying the sights and smells even before it is time to eat. I take it all in. When the cooking is finished, my mouth is watering. I arrange it on a plate with skillful preparation. I take smaller bites and chew on it.
When we munch, snack or hit the drive-thru, we tend to inhale our food more so than if we are sitting and eating something we have prepared.
The same applies to my diet of the Word. When I’m on a roll, I take it all in. I savor the moments of hearing from the Lord. I take smaller chunks and chew slowly.
5. I function as I should.
When I am eating the foods that are good for me, my body responds. I have more energy. My mind is more focused. I rest better. I get more done.
I also notice than when I am regularly feasting at God’s table, I am usually about the things of God with more energy, focus and passion.
I think I could on and on, but will stop here. I would love to hear your thoughts on this and some other comparisons you have discovered. That’s why the comment section is here. Feel free to use it.