We are what we eat
We as Americans love our food. And who can blame us?
We live in arguably one of the greatest nations on the planet for so many different reasons, not the least of which is the availability of an abundance and variety of great food.
From good ol’ down home meals of meat and potatoes to more exotic cuisines such as sushi and sashimi, we are certainly blessed for the wide menu of food that is available.
But beyond the simple delight which food brings, it plays an even greater role in our lives than this. It is the essential means by which our body grows and maintains its health.
Therefore, a lifestyle of healthy eating will typically result in a healthy body. On the flip side, a lifestyle of unhealthy foods will equate to a similar result.
In essence, we are what we eat.
While human nature is certainly physical, that isn’t all we are. The other aspect of our composition is the soul.
This combination of body and soul makes us who we are as humans.
In considering the soul, in much the same way as our physical nature, we are what we eat. But the food for the soul doesn’t consist of meat and potatoes — it requires something else entirely for its health, namely, the word of God.
In the fourth chapter of the Gospel according to Matthew, we find Jesus being led around the wilderness. During these 40 days, while he was fasting from food, it says that the devil tried unsuccessfully to tempt him into sin.
The first attempt came in the form of an appeal to Jesus’ appetite, saying, “If you are the son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
Now, in my opinion, that sounds like a good idea. Jesus was hungry. Why not eat? But instead, Jesus utters something truly remarkable: “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’ ”
What Jesus was referring to in his response to the devil was a principle that was spoken in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy.
In a similar situation, the nation of Israel found themselves wandering around a wilderness. It was explained to them that during this time, God was busy humbling them so they would learn two things. First, that they would learn to look beyond their physical needs to their spiritual needs. Secondly, they were being taught to look to God for the fulfillment of their spiritual needs through the words that he spoke.
In the same way, our current generation must learn these lessons.
While providing for our physical needs and health is important, it should not be to the neglect of our souls.
So often the needs of the body have a way of outshining the acutely urgent need to feed the soul through the word of God as contained in scripture. But this seems to be easier said than done.
Since the book known as the Bible is really something quite extraordinary, even supernatural, and has the ability to transform a person’s life, it baffles the mind how this book can be given to such states of disrepair and temptations to overlook its worth.
Never in the history of the world has God’s word been so readily available, yet so terribly neglected.
It is relatively simple to download any number of Bible apps on whatever brand of phone you keep in your pocket, yet biblical illiteracy plagues our churches.
It is remarkable and should not escape notice that from the time of the early church to the Protestant Reformation to modern examples of spiritual revival, that when the church is at its strongest the word of God is always at the center.
The reason for this is because God’s word brings life as it reveals Christ. This is maybe best illustrated in a conversation between Jesus and his disciple, Peter.
Jesus had just finished teaching some things that made many of his disciples grumble. He then pointed out that many who were following him weren’t truly his disciples, therefore it says, many withdrew and were not walking with him anymore.
Then Jesus turned to the 12 disciples who were left and asked if they were going to leave as well. To which Peter steps forward, and in an epic statement that resounds throughout eternity, said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You alone have words of eternal life.”
Indeed, where else would we go?
A Jefferson native, Chad Cummings is pastor at Gospel Open Bible Church on South Grimmell Road.