– You are what you eat

foodIn the 1940’s a book was published that had as its title “You Are What You Eat: how to win and keep health with diet”. Your body reacts to the food you consume to absorb it. You obviously need liquid to keep alive and you also need foods that contain various nutrients to function. As food is digested, the chemical reactions that take place break down food into simpler molecules that are used in your body. Some molecules such as glucose end up in your blood stream and are carried throughout your body to be used as fuel for your cells.

It is obvious that what we eat affects our bodies and our quality of life. Unfortunately, our society has created foods that are classified as “fast-food” and “junk-food”. These can be enticing to our taste buds and very enjoyable at the moment. They were obviously designed that and marketed to trap us. Place a bowl of kale, garden carrots and broccoli next to a bag of potato chips, ice-cream, doughnuts and a coke and you know what most people will chose. The consequences of our eating habits build up and our bodies get use to those and crave those same foods that are actually killing us. Here are a few of the leading causes of death in the US – Heart disease, Stroke, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Diabetes, Kidney disease. All of these are directly affected by the foods you take into your body. You can lower your chances of dying from these by altering your diet.

The phrase “You are what you eat” applies even more importantly to what you consume as media and entertainment in your life. You have a spiritual side to your being. You are actually a manifestation of the spirit that inhabits your body of flesh, blood and bone. Your spirit is affected by what you feed it as a diet. Feed it junk and you will see the consequences of that. You could become addicted and enslaved by evil because of what you consume. You will be surrounded by good of evil depending on what you are exposing yourself to. Look carefully at your consumption of music, TV, internet, movies, gaming and social media. Work can even be something you are consumed with, and for the wrong reasons.

The food and the media that we consume can be used for good and evil. Just as improper food choices can damage us, there are eternal consequences to having a poor diet of rotting “foods” that can damage our spirits. Not only can it be a waste of your time here on earth, but it can pollute you in ways you cannot see, but are just as real. Flee evil, and turn your heart and devotion to God to worship Him. Spend time in wholesome entertainment. If you make yourself sensitive to the Holy Spirit, you will know what will drive it away and what will keep it with you. That is your meter to gauge what you should be consuming.

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” – 2 Corinthians 6:17

“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” – Matt 6:22

– The power of fasting

desertChristians did something from the very beginning that is not generally practiced in Christianity any more. It is the practice of fasting. You can read about how Christ went into the wilderness and fasted for 40 days. During that time, Jesus was tempted by the devil, and he overcame each encounter.

There are even plenty of early Christian writings that mention that church members were fasting. What about us today? The question then is – Should Christians be fasting often? When, Why and How should we go about fasting?

I will not go into the medical details, but there are recent studies that show how beneficial it can be to your health. One study showed that your entire immune system can be rebooted with a three-day fast. My purpose here, is to speak about the spiritual benefits of fasting, not necessarily the physical.

Let’s go back to Christ and his 40 day fast. Christ did this just before beginning his three year ministry. That ministry would culminate with his death on the cross, and then his resurrection and ascension. Obviously, the fast was a way for Jesus to prepare for his ministry. He was doing it in a disciplined way to gain the strength necessary to accomplish his mission on earth. I am not talking about merely giving up a food you really like, such as Oreo cookies for a day. The kind of fast I am talking about is an abstinence from food, and water.

Most people can certainly go without food and water for 24 hours. You eat a simple meal, say Saturday at 5 PM, and then eat your next meal Sunday at 5 PM. If you are older or have other health issues, you may not be able to do this, so don’t put yourself in danger. You might be capable of going without food, but not water, so judge this for yourself. For example, if you don’t drink water for 24 hours, you may have a severe case of constipation that could be a very critical medical issue for you.

As long as I am at it, let me also suggest that a fast for spiritual reasons includes giving up all bodily appetites, so you should also consider abstaining from sex in your marriage (see Exodus 19:15) and other bodily appetites you might identify.

So what then are the spiritual benefits? I already mentioned that Jesus Christ was fasting to be prepared to begin his ministry. We likewise will fast for strength. This can be to overcome an addiction, or just as a kind of “tune-up” in our lives to stay strong against temptations and apostasy. We know there are powers out to destroy us.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 6:12 NIV

Don’t forget to include plenty of time on your knees and to humble yourself and remove the pride that prevents God from blessing you. Offer up prayers of thanks and worship God. This is also a time to pray for strength, to pray to ask for what you should pray for and to plead with God for the righteous desires of your heart. The combination of fasting and prayer is the “nuclear option” that can act like nothing else you will ever experience in your life to call upon the powers of heaven.

In the New Testament, the apostles were told to go out and perform miracles and heal people. They were actually successful at doing that. But then, they came across a case where they could not heal a man that had been possessed of the devil. They came and asked Christ why. He explained it to them as follows:

“But this kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting.” – Matthew 17:21

There you have it! If you really want to combine your faith and prayers into a potent mixture in your life, you combine these with fasting.

Note: I am not a medical doctor, so please consult a doctor if you really want to know what is safe and healthy for you.