I’ve been telling myself for a while now that I am going to get my son and I on a healthier diet. The more I learn about nutritional value, the more I question the food that I consume. I think most people want to get healthy and eat productively, but there are so many factors that make it seem impossible. I mean, you have to REALLY be serious about this health thing in order to make a drastic life change like altering the way you’ve eaten for 30 years. I’ve never paid much attention to my diet, until I noticed an increased amount of fatigue and unhealthy weight gain. I told myself, I have to become more conscious of what I eat. As I examined my physical health it began to shed some light on the similarities in my spiritual diet. Empty calories are calories that contribute to your total caloric intake, but offer little or no nutritional value. In addition, high intake of empty-calorie foods can cause weight gain, especially if you consume more than recommended. When I read more about this subject, it helped to reveal some “spiritual” empty calories that were hindering my spiritual growth and effectiveness.
As a believer, I am learning that spiritual warfare is a daily battle. This is one reason the bible tells us to be of sober mind. 1 Peter 5:8-9 “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith..” What I did not realize was in order to stay of sober mind as Christ meant it, I needed to watch my “diet”. Our spiritual diet is essential to spiritual growth and warfare.
My spiritual life is powered by what I take in. The things I watch, what I listen to, and even what I read have a major effect on my spiritual strength. I could not understand why I had no desire to read God’s word. It did not make since to me why no matter how hard I tried, I did not have a desire for things that were of God. Once I took the time to look back over the course of a few weeks, the source of my spiritual fatigue became clear.
I’d filled up on entertaining myself, instead of feeding my spirit what it needed for strength. Between binge watching some of my favorite shows, social media scrolling and celebrity news blogs, it was no wonder I could not fight satan’s opposition. These things are not necessarily bad (depending on the content, of course). However, my intake of these things had increased and my desire for spiritual focus was being snuffed out. These things had no nutritional value what so ever and much like foods with empty calories had become addictive. I now had an insatiable craving. I had noticed when it came to preparing for the battles I would face daily, I had nothing to fight with. Without the proper spiritual nourishment, I was losing strength in overcoming temptations, trials and persecution, for example.
In a health article, Susan Bowerman, the director of Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training explained it this way: “Taking in extra calories that you don’t need is only one problem with empty calorie foods – there’s another equally important issue. When you fill up on fatty, sugary foods, they take up space in your stomach – squeezing out room for all those good-for-you foods that provide the healthy nutrients your body needs.” It hit me. If I am constantly filling myself with things that oppose God or do not encourage His teaching and His truth, how can I expect to have room to feed myself spiritually? I was naive to think I could do both, Consume the things of this world and still be fully empowered to fight spiritual war. But there was no room for one, if I’d filled up on the other.
In turn, these spiritually empty calories I’d consumed were desensitizing me. The shows I would watch and the music I was listening to were subtly weeding God out. My thoughts were being replaced with thoughts of self-gratification, for example, since this is what much of the music I’d been listening to encouraged. “Please me… Pay me… Serve me… Satisfy me…” I was no longer thinking about God and His glory. Now I was thinking about my own. I was no longer thinking of the things that pleased Him. I was thinking of what pleases ME or rather what pleases my flesh. 2 Timothy 3:1-3 sheds light on the agenda attitude driving much of what we see in today’s culture. “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good..” Yea… it seems extreme, right? But remember this, Satan is always subtle. His initial invitation is rarely extreme. He uses beautifully painted lies, attractively packaged danger and seductive distractions to get into our mind and hearts. There is evidence of this sprinkled in much of what is on television and radio right now.
I am determined to start anew. I began praying Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. It was time for a renewed mind. In order to operate in wisdom and truth, we must first be filled with it. We need the Word of God in us the same way we need food and nutrients. It is our daily bread. (Matthew 6:11) When you have made a decision to change your diet, it takes identifying and elimating unhealthy habits and being intentional of the things needed to reach that goal. Changing my diet has not been an overnight process. Today, I still have to be intentional in guarding what I allow in my heart and mind. The purpose of this post is not to discourage you from the things you like to do, but to encourage to take a closer look at what is behind it.
Things to consider:
- Do you ask God to keep your heart and mind pure while entertaining things that encourage the opposite?
- Ask God to reveal the “empty calories” in your life. Try to determine its root. Finding out the root will help determine its purpose.
“..let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” (Heb 12:1)
I pray you are inspired. Be encouraged,