You Are What You Eat
Thy words were found and I ate them, and Thy words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Thy name, O LORD God of hosts. Jeremiah 15:16
No one argues with the adage, “You are what you eat,” today. It is a generally accepted axiom. The meaning behind the phrase is clear: the type, quality, and quantity of physical food an individual eats will have a direct relationship to their health.
The reason is simple: our physical body is in a constant process of repairing, healing, and rebuilding at the cellular level. Our body is affected positively or negatively by what food we eat.
One example of this principle is found in the contrast between asparagus and a cinnamon roll. Asparagus is rich in vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6, as well as minerals such as folate, iron, copper, calcium, and protein and fiber. Asparagus is one of nature’s finest products and its health benefits are off the charts.
A cinnamon roll on the other hand, smells much better, looks more appealing, and makes our mouths salivate more quickly, especially at breakfast time with a hot cup of coffee! However, that warm, sweet, cinnamon delight also packs a whopping 880 calories, 127 grams of carbohydrates, and 37 grams of fat. By comparison, a quarter chicken dinner with mashed potatoes, a salad with balsamic dressing, with a multigrain roll is only 725 calories.
The take away is that appearances are deceiving. What we want to eat is not always what we should eat in many instances. We can state this another way as well: what tastes good, goes down easy, and makes us happy is not necessarily healthy.
We should be careful about what we eat. This is illustrated by the following story.
A Pastor was visiting members of his congregation one day and stopped to see an elderly widowed lady. During their conversation the Pastor noticed a bowl of peanuts sitting on a table near where he was sitting. This Pastor loved peanuts. He asked if he might have some of the peanuts to which his host replied, “of course, I can’t eat peanuts.”
As their conversation turned into a rather lengthy visit, the Pastor continued to eat the peanuts. He thought to himself that these were the best peanuts he had ever eaten. He tasted a very slight hint of chocolate which made them even more appealing.
At one point in their visit the elderly lady went into the kitchen to get them both a cup of coffee. The Pastor continued to eat the peanuts until he realized he had eaten the entire bowl. He was quite embarrassed by this and apologized to his host when she returned with their coffee.
The elderly woman was gracious and smiled as she said, “That’s ok Pastor. As I told you earlier I can’t eat peanuts so, I just suck the chocolate off of them.”
I use this illustration for two reasons. The first reason is that it always elicits the same response: a groan mixed with laughter and a contorted face. The second reason is that it makes the point that we should be sure that we know what it is we are eating.
Now, let’s consider this within a context of spiritual food. Do you know what you are eating spiritually speaking? Most will answer, yes, of course I do. Do you know if it is healthy for you? If you answered yes to the first question you no doubt answered yes to the second question. I want to challenge you to think deeper about what spiritual food you are eating.
Organic or Processed?
Is the spiritual food you are eating organic or processed? What do I mean by organic and processed spiritual food? Let’s start with natural, physical food. When you think of organic food what characteristics come to mind? Many people think that organic food is better for your body and therefore healthier. They believe this because organic food is thought to be grown without harmful chemicals. Another characteristic of organic food is that it usually costs more money than normally grown food.
When we think of processed food we think of food that may or may not be comprised of what it claims to be. There is a reason that the number one selling brand of “cheese” Americans like to use with their macaroni and cheese recipes is labeled “processed cheese food.” One look at the label tells you that there are chemicals and additives and ingredients most people can’t even pronounce. The only redeeming quality to processed food in some people’s minds is that it is cheaper. But, is cheaper always better?
Now, let’s move into the spiritual realm. When I speak of organic and processed spiritual food I want you to consider those categories in relation to truth and indoctrination. Truth is unvarnished, unaffected by additives like opinions and can be costly. Indoctrination is much easier to swallow and costs hardly anything at all initially.
Some readers might ask, “What is truth?” The opinion of a large number of Americans today is that truth does not exist. Many famously quote Pontius Pilate without knowing it. Of course, Christians have the answer to this question. Truth is a person. Jesus famously said, “I am the truth.” Here is a somewhat more theological definition of truth:
Truth is that which corresponds to reality. Truth is truth for all people in all places in every age. Truth is found in the God of the Bible who is the truth as well as it author.
This is an important point that people must understand. Truth is found in relationship with God the Father through faith in Jesus Christ the Son. Truth is discovered in relationship with God. Just as God is absolute, so is truth.
Let us turn our attention to a definition of indoctrination. Indoctrination is the process of presenting information to individuals or groups in such a way that these individuals or groups accept what they are being told uncritically. In other words, indoctrination occurs when individuals or groups accept whatever they are told or taught without examining the information in relation to truth.
Another name for indoctrination is brainwashing. Brainwashing is little more than charismatic persuasion. People accept information as truth not based on the information but rather on the charisma, personality, or talents of a person or group presenting the information.
Americans are increasingly aware that corporate media in America are little more than indoctrination outlets. It is not an overstatement to say that NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, and their spin-off networks, along with radio news, newspapers, and magazines offer a daily, weekly and monthly dose of propaganda. There is another source of indoctrination that is hidden in plain sight in many churches today. Let’s turn there next.
Are Christians Being Systematically Indoctrinated?
I believe that many Christians have become indoctrinated and do not realize it. How is that possible? Ask yourself this question: Do I accept without question whatever my Pastor, Elder, or Ministry Leader says when it comes to the Bible? Do I uncritically believe whatever my Pastor teaches?
There has arisen in the church of America today a cult of personality. This cult is found anywhere a Pastor has become a brand. What I mean by Pastors becoming a brand is that hundreds of Pastors today have become celebrities. A marketing machine has been developed to keep them before the public, to keep their books on the best seller lists, to keep these Pastors from failing in spite of their failures. These Pastors are a book writing, book selling, conference speaking, money making machine, an expert on anything and everything. Television, radio, and print media seek out these Pastors for their thoughts and perspectives on any and every issue.
I suggest Americans wake up from this mesmerizing situation. Does the Bible say the following: “Study to agree with your Pastor. If you disagree, it’s because you don’t understand what you are reading”? That may well be a product of your study. You may learn for yourself that what your Pastor teaches is what the Bible states.
What the Bible actually says is this: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 NASB). From this passage in 2 Timothy 2 we learn that it is every individual’s responsibility to know the Scriptures for themselves. The Apostle Paul commended believers in Berea for doing exactly that: “Now these (the believers in Berea) were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scripture daily, to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11 NASB).
Why is studying the Bible for yourself so important? It is important because we are instructed to do so, and it is important because knowing what the Bible says brings you into a deeper, more abiding, much fuller relationship with and understanding of the One who has given us life. More importantly, studying the Bible for yourself protects you from indoctrination.
So, what is organic in this context? It is what you know is true because you have studied it for yourself. What is processed in this context? It is information that you accept as true but that you have not verified for yourself.
I want to be clear at this point on something so as to avoid any potential confusion. I am not saying that you should become argumentative with your Pastor or Ministry Leader. We are not to wrangle over words, which is useless and leads to ruin (2 Timothy 2:14).
Here are three things I am suggesting that you do. They are found in Ezra 7:10: “For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.”
The order of this process is important. Notice what the process is from Ezra 7:10. We are to: study the Bible for ourselves, and then we are to practice what we learn before we attempt to teach anyone else what the Bible says. We are to learn and practice before we teach. In other words, we cannot teach what we do not know because we’ve never worked out truth in our own lives. That’s one reason we are not to lay hands on young believers to commission them for service. They must have time to learn and then learn by experience what truth is.
This is perhaps why the church is in such dire straits today: Pastors have not studied the Bible and therefore what they are attempting to practice and then teach is such rotten fruit. They cannot practice what they do not know. Thus, what they teach is unbiblical. This is perhaps the reason why the average Christian today hears nothing more than cotton-candy sermonettes about a flannel-graph Jesus.
Here is a starting point for Christians today: get your own household in order first. Men, make sure you are practicing what you are learning and then that you are teaching your spouse and your children the Bible. It is not your Pastors responsibility to insure your family knows the Bible. You will thereby grow in truth and knowledge and will be prepared to lead your local fellowship in the same.
Then Christians must get busy demonstrating faith by action in the communities in which they live. James says that faith without works is useless (2:20). Too many Christians have leaned heavily into the “we’re not saved by works” passage that they have become blinded to the fact that true faith is demonstrated by works.
Some Christians think America is a lost cause. I hear them say that America is under judgement. That may well be, but even if it is, where are we instructed to stop fighting the battle in which we find ourselves? Is God done changing lives? Is God done saving people out of the certain fires of hell? Are Christians commanded to circle the wagons and ride out the storm? We are absolutely not told that!
One thing is certain friends: we will not win a war we refuse to fight. Let me show you a picture of what God will do with and for a people who seek to love Him and serve Him in spite of their circumstances. It is found in Joshua 8.
In the chapters leading up to Joshua 8 the Hebrew people are in the Promised Land. They arrive at Jericho and take the city after God miraculously brought down the walls. What a glorious thing that was to see. Unfortunately, a man named Aiken took spoils that the people were told not to take. This resulted in a devastating defeat when a few thousand Hebrews went to destroy Ai. They were defeated and set to flight instead. That is the background for Joshua 8:1 which reads:
Now the LORD said to Joshua, do not fear or be dismayed. Take all the people of war with you and arise, go up to Ai; see, I have given into your hand the King of Ai, his people, his city, and his land.
In this one verse we see five things that are important to consider. First we read that the people were not to fear. Do not fear! In spite of past failure they were not to fear. What is fear? It is emotion caused by anticipation of danger. It is a normal emotion.
Listen to me Christian: do not fear! God has given you the city! An old proverb reminds us that courage and fear are brothers. One cannot exist without the other. Courage is simply fear under control. Freedom from fear comes when you take the step of faith, so step up Christian.
Second, we read the God told the people to not be dismayed. What does it mean to be dismayed? It means to lose courage or resolution. It means to lose hope. Have you not already seen God’s power working in your life? Push past the fear and do not allow your determination to be undermined.
Then God said to enlist those who understand, those with a warrior’s heart. “Take all the people of war with you.” We read in 1 Chronicles 12:32 that the sons of Issachar were men who understood the times in which they lived and knew what needed to be done. That is exactly what is needed today: people of God who understand the times they live in and know what needs to be done. It is time for people with a warrior’s heart to arise.
Next, God told the people to arise and go up with purpose and aggression against God’s enemies. This clearly tells us to go where the enemy is. Take the fight to them. This is offensive warfare. This as much as anything else is where the church has failed today. We see taking the fight to the enemy as serving at a soup kitchen or showing up for visitation night at the local fellowship. The next instruction makes this fourth command clearer.
The last thing embedded in Joshua 8:1 is this: God will destroy the enemy completely through your obedience to arise and go up with purpose and intention to take the fight to the enemy. “See, I have given into your hand the King of Ai.” Every time you turn a mother away from murdering her unborn baby at an infanticide facility you are defeating the King of Ai. Every time you attend a Gay Shame Parade and speak to those trapped in the debauchery of homosexuality and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ that alone can free them, you are defeating the King of Ai. Every time you tell a co-worker, family member, or stranger that there is salvation in no other name than Jesus Christ you are defeating the King of Ai.
Some of you reading this have not been fed true spiritual food in so long you’ve forgotten what it tastes like. You simply exist in a malnourished state. Here is the good news: that is not what God desires for you. God desires that you be the warrior He has created you to be. Do you believe that nothing formed against you will prosper? Then take action with courage and boldness!
Let me suggest that you be the church instead of going to church. It is time to leave the dead, dying, apostate corpses to rot in their lawlessness. Form a new body of believers that is faithful to Jesus Christ and then get active in your community. Start a home Bible study with other like-minded believers.
Finally, begin building a downline. Begin to network outside of your own neighborhood and community. There are thousands of believers looking for other believers to be the church alongside of. A day is coming when the visible organized church will be in full blown apostasy. Some churches and large portions of their denominations already are. Get out of those places and form a local body of true believers who love God and serve Him faithfully. I recommend that you organize regular meetings among those in your network. Have regional meetings where larger numbers can meet to be encouraged, edified, and equipped with God’s truth.
The day is almost over and the night is rapidly coming upon us when the Bible says no man can work. Let us serve our King to honor Him above all else, as workmen that do not need to be ashamed.
Pastor Mike Spaulding
Photo Courtesy Capital Hill Outsider
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