Junk food

Junk food

Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food. – Isaiah 55:2

1 Peter 2:2-3

 2 Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment,

 3 now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.

A typical American diet is chock-full of unhealthy foods high in calories from sugar or fat. Such foods have little dietary fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, or other nutritional elements. These items have been labeled as junk food. A synonymous term is HFSS foods (high in fat, salt, and sugar).

Junk food has no precise definition and things change over time. Most junk food is highly processed food. Even high-protein foods, like meat or fish when prepared with saturated fat, may be considered junk food. Fast food or fast-food restaurants are often seen as the poster child for junk food.

There are many concerns regarding the negative health effects of consuming junk food, particularly obesity and diabetes, memory and learning problems, even depression. Many public health awareness campaigns and restrictions on advertising are part of a national effort to improve the health of the American people.

But what about spiritual junk food? So often this is overlooked by children of the King. We consume it without thinking.

“It is no secret that Christ’s Church is not at all in good health in many places of the world. She has been languishing because she has been fed, as the current line has it, ‘junk food;’ all kinds of artificial preservatives and all sorts of unnatural substitutes have been served up to her” (Walter Kaiser).

As a result, Kaiser notes that theological and biblical malnutrition has “afflicted the very generation that has taken such giant steps to make sure its physical health is not damaged by using foods or products that are carcinogenic or otherwise harmful to their bodies.” How ironic!

We spend money on food that does not provide strength or benefit. Our paltry spiritual food also is also of little value. We must seek to raise the bar and reject junk food. We start by craving the pure milk of the word. The pure unadulterated milk of the word is the antithesis of spiritual junk food. Each child of the King should intensely desire it.

The Greek word translated crave, yearn, or long is epipotheo. Epipotheo literally means to “long for.” It expresses an intense, passionate, strong desire for something. Thus it has the sense, “to be thirsty always for spiritual milk, in the same way that newborn babies are always thirsty for their mother’s milk” (UBS).

Take away: as newborn babes cry for milk, every child of the King should long for the word of God (Black & Black).

REFLECT & PRAY

The pure milk of the word is not just for babies. All children of the King, young or old in the faith should thirst for the Word of God in the same way that infants cry for milk.

Father, I pray that I will continually crave the pure milk of Your Word and settle for nothing less.

INSIGHT

When we consume spiritual junk food, it leaves us weak and spiritually flabby. Our hearts and souls suffer from malnutrition and spiritual malaise. We become spiritually dull. We can hear but we do not seem to listen and cannot take in solid food.

Hebrews 5:11-14

 11 . . . And you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen.

 12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.

 13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right.

 14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.

Just as there is a normal pattern for early childhood development, so there is a normal pattern for spiritual development. The children of the King to whom the Book of Hebrews was written were suffering from a tragic case of arrested development. “As a result, they were now ‘dull of hearing;’ that is, unable to listen to the Word, receive it, and act on it” (Wiersbe).

Because their spiritual diet was inadequate, they were not properly nourished. Although enough time has passed, they never got past the basics. They were unable to make progress toward maturity. Further, there was additional collateral damage. They slipped back. They had forgotten what they had learned. Instead of being teachers of the truth, they needed teachers of the truth to come and teach them all over again.

Spiritual health is analogous to physical health. For muscles to perform properly, they have to be exercised. When they are, they stay strong, flexible, and functional. But without exercise, muscles atrophy and become weak, and lack muscle tone. When our spirit is not properly exercised, it becomes feeble.

Chronologically they were no longer baby believers. But they retrogressed and now they were functioning like infants. They could no longer eat solid food and had to return to milk.

Spiritual junk food has the same deleterious effect on almost anyone who consumes it.

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2 thoughts on “Junk food

  1. Sometimes I’ve found spiritually nutritious parts of the Word of God somewhat bitter to my soul’s palate, and “hard to swallow” when I’ve fed too often on pride or self-satisfaction. It’s a lesson I have to learn over and over, it seems, that “swallowing” those hard truths creates a wonderful “full” feeling of peace and joy as the Holy Spirit makes them real in my life. Thank the Father that He keeps renewing my spiritual hunger for the “good stuff”!

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  2. Yes indeed, the Word of God is sharp and penetrating. It cuts and our hearts say “ouch.”

    Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

    It seems as though our orientation and reaction to the truth of the word of God correlates with what is in our hearts. When our hearts are soft, pliable, and open we can’t get enough of it. But when our hearts become hard or stubborn and our response is quite a bit different. Thus, the apostle Paul prays, “the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:18).

    Further, when the Lord commissioned Paul, through the actual declaration of the word of God, he would open eyes that people “may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance” (Acts 26:18).

    It is all part of the child training (discipline) that the Father lovingly employs in the development of each child of the King.

    Hebrews 12:11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening – it’s painful! But afterward, there will be a peaceful fruit of righteousness for those who are trained in this way.

    The Father’s endgame is to produce a peaceful fruit of righteousness within us. The prickly pain is well worth the result.

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