We have heard the saying, “Garbage in, garbage out.” Well, when it comes to eating, something else seems to take place; that is, the garbage hangs around. You know what I mean. Garbage has the ability to change people ever so slowly: the way they think, what they do, and of course, what they say. Does this happen in the spiritual world as well? Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45) Just like with our physical bodies, we need to watch our spiritual diet if we want to remain healthy and grow spiritually.
Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and all evil speaking, as new born babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby . . .
1st Peter 2:1-2
Once again, I find myself confronted with the reality that I have been ignoring my health: specifically, my weight. Although the cause is quite simple (not watching my diet and eating too much garbage), to change it seems at times impossible. Why? Part of it has to do with laying aside certain things. Again, in the spiritual world there seems to be a parallel. As Peter writes to those who have purified their “souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit” (1st Peter 1:22), those who have been “born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1st Peter 1:23), he encourages them to continue on by “laying aside” a variety of things. This speaks of those things which are said to be put off or away which anyone gives up, renounces. (Thayer’s) Why such a choice? Why such a radical change? Of course, the words of Jesus mentioned above give us good reason. Proverbs 4:23 gives us further insight saying, “Keep your heart with all diligence. For out of it spring the issues of life.” Spiritual health cannot be maintained without a proper spiritual diet. Some things MUST go.
It is funny, when I empty out our pantry of those things which are not good for me, there is not much left. Let me ask you a question. If you emptied your life’s “pantry” of those things which were not good for you, how much space would be left? How much time? How much money . . . ? Something needs to fill that void, or you will eventually put back that which you took out. Peter once again encourages his readers to “desire the pure milk of the word.” I am compelled to define another word; that is, desire. It means to long for. Wow, that makes so much sense. What do I long for? Do I long to be with Jesus, to be like Him in every way? These questions are at the very core of our spiritual growth or the lack thereof (it applies to our physical wellbeing also). What I long for directs my steps. Right?
Peter encourages his readers to lay aside certain things while at the same time, long for the word of God. The reason is simple: such an approach to our walk with Christ will result in spiritual growth. So, it would make sense that we watch our diet. By the way, do you know what diet means? It means the kinds of food a person, animal, or community habitually eats. What are you habitually taking in to help you grow spiritually?