In my last post I wrote a little bit about how my wife is a dietitian. The following day I heard a message by Pastor Eric Ludy which inspired me to write this post . . . about eating junk food.
I probably should preface what I am about to write by telling you all that I love my wife. She knows that. I just wanted all of YOU to know that, in case any of what I am about to say sounds like me picking on her. It will only sound like I am picking on her because . . . I am. ;)
My wife is an incredible cook. I'm not sure why I can still see my toes when I look down at my feet. I really should be staring at a too-full belly when I look down at the ground. She makes some amazing meals and desserts. Her cooking is SO good she often tweaks the recipes to make them more healthy. Rather than one cup of sugar she will use a sugar substitute. She might sprinkle in some "healthy" like wheat germ or ground flax seed. That's nice. But our children and I have become suspicious over time about the things that are placed in front of us at the dinner table.
Here's an example of what I mean. In the past my wife has made an absolutely decedent looking cake, which our kids and I absolutely loved. When we were picking up the last crumbs of cake off our plates my wife asked this all-too-familiar question. "So, . . . how did you like the cake?"
We immediately stopped chewing. My kids and I looked at each other for signs of nausea or abdominal cramping. Nothing. We survived . . . whatever it was. Eventually one of us asks, "Why? What's in it?"
Then my wife tells us all of the surprise ingredients. And I think she enjoys it just a little too much.
"Well, of course I had to put in some flax seed. I had to use my new Martha Stewart flax seed grinder you know! But my secret ingredient this time was . . . prunes! I substituted prunes for the eggs! You could hardly tell the difference, could you?"
Not right then we couldn't . . . but later???
This week I found myself thinking about what we eat, spiritually. There is an entire smorgasbord of "food" out there. And it's not all good for us either.
There are "progressive" Christians who say they follow Jesus but they "interpret scripture" in ways that break four or five of the Ten Commandments. They "tweak" the Chritians recipe" so to speak by "interpreting" scripture in a way that THEY want to hear it and ignore the true meaning. You know, how God really meant it.
There are the "Name It and Claim It" followers of the Prosperity Gospel which says that, if we pray for something hard enough it will become ours. We simply say things like "I declare" and God will lay treasures at our feet. Hmm, I Declare is the name of Joel Osteen's latest book. I wonder if he preaches the prosperity gospel? I wonder if Mr. Osteen has ever read Matthew 19 and the story of the rich young ruler?
"16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”
17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
18 He said to Him, “Which ones?”
Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ 19 ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions."
There are Syncrotists who feel that all roads lead to heaven and are forever seeking ways to blend all faiths together in to one world-wide faith where everybody can gather around the campfire and sing Kumbaya. If my wife added mustard, catsup and pickles to her cake recipe it might please the hotdog lovers of the world but us cake lovers might not like it very much. Rick Warren, Bill Hybels tend to like cake with many ingredients.
And speaking of Mr. Hybels, there are also Seeker Sensitive chefs leading many of our churches today. They will tweak the standard recipe (The Gospel) in whatever way we'd like. "More sugar? You bet! How about a larger piece of cake? You can have the whole thing if you'd like. And a glass of milk to go with it? Oh, and you can eat as much as you want beause it's all about feeling good, right?"
Did you ever see the Woddy Allen movie Sleeper? In the movie, Woody's character had himself cryogenically frozen and then got thawed out in the future. A future where things were kind of backwards in terms of diet . . .
Dietitians from Sleeper talk about healthy eating in the future here.
When Paul spoke to the Corinthians he was speaking to them about their sinful sexual desires but Paul was one who liked to stick to God's recipe and not add anything to it.
When the Corinthians would say "12 “All things are lawful for me,” Paul would answer "but not all things are helpful." When the Corinthians would try to tweak the recipe God wrote by saying “All things are lawful for me,” Paul came back with "but I will not be dominated by anything. And when the Corinthians would say "13 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food” Paul's reply was "and God will destroy both one and the other."
There are many "chefs" in this world today whose goal is to create many different taste sensations for us all to enjoy. They all learned their trade at Satan's School for the Theologically Impaired. Food, like God's Word, is something we need to survive. We can't select a palitable verse here and there and expect to have a healthy Christian life. We need a balanced diet. The Bible provides the best of both worlds. We can have our cake and eat it too! God's recipe is simple. And we can eat as much of it as we'd like.
"48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” - John 6:48-58
There are many things we like to eat but not all are beneficial - only the Bread of Life, Jesus, offers us a balanced, healthy, spiritual meal that will increase our longevity (eternal life). My words of advice today are simple. Stick to the recipe!