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 either sugar or fat. Such foods generally lack essential dietary components such as fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. They are commonly called junk food or HFSS (high in fat, salt, and sugar) foods.
The term “junk food” lacks a clear and consistent definition, and its meaning has evolved over time. Typically, junk food refers to heavily processed food products. However, even foods high in protein, such as meat or fish cooked with saturated fat, may be categorized as junk food. Fast food or fast-food restaurants are often seen as the poster child for junk food.
Consuming junk food has raised numerous health concerns, notably the increased risk of obesity and diabetes. Other potential adverse effects include memory, learning difficulties, and depression. To address these issues, various public health awareness campaigns have been launched, and advertising restrictions have been implemented as part of a nationwide effort to improve the health of the American people.
However, the topic of spiritual junk food is frequently neglected by followers of the faith. Often eaten mindlessly, we consume it without thinking. Sadly, eating spiritual junk food has become totally acceptable and quite normal..
“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 biblical and theological 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 often invest in food that fails to nourish or improve our well-being, just as our spiritual diet can lack substance. To make positive changes, one must seek to raise the bar, reject spiritual junk food and instead strive for excellence. 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 rendered as 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 as infants cry for milk.
Father I pray that I will continually crave the pure milk of Your Word and settle for nothing less.
Consuming spiritual junk food weakens us and leaves us spiritually flabby. Our hearts and souls become malnourished, leading to spiritual apathy and lethargy. We become spiritually dull. We can hear but do not seem to listen and cannot digest solid spiritual food.
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 typical pattern for early childhood development, there is a regular 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 spiritually malnourished and unable to progress toward maturity. Although enough time has passed, they never got past the basics. Further, there was additional collateral damage. They slipped back. They had forgotten what they had learned. Instead of being able to teach the truth of the Word of God to others, they needed those who were mature to come and teach them the basic teachings about Christ all over again.
Spiritual health is analogous to physical health. Just as muscles need exercise to perform at their best and remain strong, flexible, and functional, our spirits also require exercise. Without regular exercise, muscles atrophy and lose tone, becoming weak. Similarly, when our spirits are not exercised adequately, they become feeble and paltry.
Although they were no longer considered new believers chronologically, they had regressed in their spiritual growth and were now functioning at the level of spiritual infants. They could not receive and assimilate solid spiritual food and had to revert to milk.
Consuming spiritual junk food has a deleterious impact on almost everyone who partakes of it.
How is your spiritual diet working for you?
The goal is to become mighty in our spirits.
Luke 1:80 John the Baptist grew up and became strong in spirit.
© Dr. H 2023