Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Life is in the Blood - Nutrition & Minerals

“You are what you eat.” It’s an old adage but, more relevant than ever.  On the days I eat a balanced meal consisting of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans/nuts/meats, milk products, and natural oils, I operate functionally and mentally at a higher level. How about you?  

Every cell in the body performs operations that require energy. Further, virtually every cell in the body requires fat and protein to regenerate itself. Some cells produce hormones (fats) and proteins that give commands. Fruits and vegetables contain energy but also valuable vitamins. So, as adults, we need foods that provide a steady source of energy throughout the day, vitamins, and small amounts of fats and proteins for new growth and function.

What we don’t need are chemical additives, fillers, fake sweeteners, coloring, and preservatives. These unnatural substances poison our blood and are distributed to clog, interrupt, and even destroy the life of the cell.

The same can be said of our life as a disciple of Christ. What we feed on either strengthens us or poisons us for Kingdom work. What do you feed on? Do you see yourself in any of these?

·   Chips: Similar to television. Once you take the first delightful bite it’s hard to turn it off even though you know it’s not feeding you with valuable nutrients.  
·   Fast Food: Similar to modern movies. You are fed seemingly tasteful food but the impact on the body/mind/soul is frightfully toxic.
·   Sweets: Similar to social media sites. They tantalize you with companionship until soon after you realize you are really all alone.
·   Sodas: Similar to magazines, or entertainment sites, or YouTube. You get hit with a quick jolt of pleasure later to realize you want more. You become conditioned to immediate gratification instead of a slow release of needed energy. 
·   Frozen Packaged meals: Similar to self-help books, and videos. They seem to provide proper nutrition but end up filling you with preservatives, fillers, and chemical additives that cause the organs (groups of individual cells) of your body to work overtime to exhaust the toxins.

In our spiritual lives what we feed on determines how we go out in to the world to represent Christ. Do we say we are a Christian but then not look like Christ? It’s common to see many fish displaying Christians who have become removed from eating a balanced “meal” of humility, love, holiness, faith, wisdom, and hope? The Apostle Paul encourages ALL to focus on things true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). What might a “balanced meal” look like? How do you fare in your eating habits?

·   Whole grains: Similar to walking humbly with God (Micah 6:8). When we live humbly (Philippians 2:3) with God as the central focus of everyday life, He is our daily portion of peace, perspective, and provision (Psalm 73:26). He is our sustainer (Psalm 54:4). When we eat “processed grains” like pride or self-reliance, the empty calories allow us to function but fall short in feeding us the valuable vitamins and nutrients we need for deep peace and joy, “Wheee!”
·   Fruits: Similar to loving mercy (Micah 6:8). The taste of love is juicy and sweet full of powerful nutrients to fight against intruding evil (Luke -36). Our love we give freely to others interrupts impending ugliness offering compassion and forgiveness. Love fortifies our hearts against bitterness toward injustice (Ephesians ).
·   Vegetables: Similar to acting justly (Micah 6:8). Vegetables feed us the vibrant truth of God’s goodness. Being obedient to His Word, the Bible, renders us blameless and pure without fault (Philippians ).
·   Beans, nuts, and meat: Similar to Godly wisdom (1 Corinthians ). Feast on the “protein” imparted by the Spirit of God. In all circumstances seek the Lord in every way (Ephesians ) for His spiritual truths. Do not rely on your human wisdom to speak of spiritual matters.
·   Milk products: Similar to faith/courage to trust God (Joshua 1:9). Faith pleases God (Hebrews 11:6). Our courage to trust God comes when we feed on HIS rich, creamy goodness. Our culture tells us that “whole milk, cheese, and butter” are bad for us. The world encourages us to feed on man made imitations - IDOLS.
·   Oils: Similar to hope (Hebrews 3:6). All we do should magnify Christ and Him crucified. We accomplish this by closely holding on to the hope of our salvation and the promise of everlasting life. Oils anoint us to carry out the work to build up the body of Christ to maturity attaining to the whole measure the fullness of Christ (Ephesians -13).

If we are what we eat but we didn’t grow-up eating “healthy food,” how do WE find the internal motivation to dish up “goodness” in our everyday lives? Do any of these resonate with you?

·   If you want to experience peace and joy in your everyday life (Romans ), eat a balanced meal; otherwise, continue with drama, discontent, and despair.  
·   If you want to love God and honor God by living as a sacrifice holy and pleasing (Romans 12:1), eat a balanced meal; otherwise, continue in rebellion apart from the good, pleasing, perfect will of the Father (Romans 12:2).
·   If you want to share Christ’s love with others (Matthew -16), eat a balanced meal; otherwise, your life will look no different than anyone else.
·   If you want to have people in your life that have a genuine concern for your well being, eat a balanced meal; to have a friend you must first be a friend (Ecclesiastes 4:9).

The quality of nutrients and vitamins suspended in our blood determines whether we live a life set-apart from the mainstream. No one wants to know Jesus until they first see Jesus in us.


Anonymous said...

These days it seems like we also tend to eat with an "agenda". We like to get take-out or fastfood so that we don't have to wait and if we are feeling a bit run down we grab a monster energy drink for a quick pick-me-up. We can avoid the time and hassle of preparing a meal by turning to something that is prepackaged and preprocessed.

Don't we tend to do the same thing with our faith in Christ? We take the easy route or go half way in our devotion to Him. We love and embrace some of what He has for us but ignore or even reject the hard parts. Abiding in Christ is a continual action for us. A branch is grafted into the vine and stays there. We sometimes live like we can un-graft and then re-graft ourselves from the vine according to our own will and still expect to bear fruit.