Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Why a Fast-Food Diet Fails to Nourish

Yes They're All Ours: Nourishing November

We live in a fast-food society.  It affects more than the food we eat; it influences who we are and how we live on many levels.  We want everything to be quick, painless, immediately gratifying, and to tickle our taste buds.  

Sacrificing Quality for Speed

Our emphasis on speed causes us to sacrifice quality.  We are in too big of a rush to prepare our own food from scratch at home or to sit down and enjoy a leisurely meal with the family.  Instead, we rely on the drive-thru.  And when we order fast food, it better be fast!  We don't put up with even the shortest wait without complaining or "taking our business elsewhere."

This mentality even affects our relationship with God.  How many times do we settle for a "drive-thru devotional time" in the mornings, because we are too busy to settle down and "eat a solid meal" from God's Word??  I'd say way more often than we care to admit!

What about the many verses that instruct us to wait upon the Lord?  Waiting goes against the grain!  We are an impatient people!  However, the Bible is full of verses about waiting on the Lord, especially in the Psalms.  Probably the most beloved verse about waiting on the Lord is found in Isaiah 40:31 --

"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." 

We need to learn to discipline ourselves to wait patiently on the Lord and to sit expectantly in His Presence.  What a challenge for modern Christians living in our fast-paced society!!

Devitalized, Processed Food

Another problem with our addiction to fast food, is that we have developed a taste for devitalized, processed foods -- you know, all those food items found in boxes, bags, packages, microwavable containers, etc.  These "foods" are quick, convenient, easy, contain chemicals that tantalize our taste buds, and fill us up (and out) but fail to really nourish our bodies.

God designed our bodies to need Real, whole foods, like our grandparents or even great-grandparents ate.  Real food has been defined as that which we can theoretically pick, gather, milk, fish or hunt, or make ourselves at home using such ingredients.  That means butter rather than margarine; cheddar cheese rather than processed cheese food; whole grains rather than "enriched" white flour products. 

Likewise, God designed our bodies to be nourished by His Word, not a modern-day substitute.  I once had a woman tell me that her Quiet Time consisted of reading Christian Romance novels, which was how she grew in the Lord!!!!  Really??  1 Peter 2:2 instructs new believers to grow by thirsting for and consuming the pure Milk of God's Word.  (That would be Real Milk, by the way -- raw, unpasteurized milk full of all the nutrients and enzymes, just the way God created it!!)

God's Word also teaches that mature believers should go beyond milk and graduate to solid food.  Their diet should consist of the meat of God's Word.  (See Hebrews 5:12-14.)

Just as real, whole, living foods provide the optimal nourishment for our bodies, God's pure, Holy, living Word provides the optimal nourishment for our spirits.  Hebrews 4:12 says that God's Word is Alive and Powerful and Sharper than any two-edged sword!

Mindless Eating

Another by-product of the fast-food mentality is our tendency to mindlessly gulp our food, consuming a huge number of calories in record time without even tasting what just passed over our tongues and entered into our bodies.  In order for our meals to be more nourishing, we need to slow down and chew our food, savoring the taste and the texture, and taking time to interact with those who are dining with us.  Americans could learn a thing or two from Europeans when it comes to leisurely enjoying our meals.

Spiritually speaking, most of us would be better off to avoid gulping down large portions of Scripture, and concentrate on smaller passages.  Surely you've had the experience of hurriedly reading your chapters for the day and having absolutely no idea what you just read!!  Instead, we should discipline ourselves to tackle smaller portions, reading them slowly and thoughtfully, taking time to "chew" on them before swallowing, and letting the truths soak into our very being.  We would also do well to take the time to actually commune with the Author of these life-giving Words!

Unbalanced Nutrition

Fast-food meals rarely provide balanced nutrition.  While dietitians may disagree on the ideal proportions of proteins, carbs, and fats, it is still an undisputed fact that our bodies need all three of these macro-nutrients to be healthy and well-nourished.  It is also a well-established fact that we need to start the day with a balanced breakfast.  If we rush into our day without eating, or if we grab a quick, high-carb breakfast, we are likely to experience a "crash" a few hours later when our blood sugar bottoms out, leaving us feeling hungry, weak, shaky, mentally confused, and even panicky. 

The same thing happens spiritually when we jump into our day without taking time to nourish ourselves from God's word.  Perhaps we don't feel "hungry" and skip our Bible reading, or we grab a light breakfast as we rush out the door or begin to tackle our to-do list.  Gulping down a single verse or a quick devotional reading may satisfy us for a short time, but it will not sustain us for the demands of the entire day.  

Also, we often have the tendency to read from our favorite book of the Bible day after day, which doesn't really provide the balance of nutrients we need.  We need spiritual "protein" for growth and rebuilding; we need spiritual "carbs" for quick energy; and we need spiritual "fat" for satiety and long-term energy.  Taking time to consume a balanced meal from God's Word will equip us for whatever twists and turns our day may take, preparing us to think clearly and make wise decisions, and equipping us for battle.

So, even though we live in a fast-food world, we would be wise to avoid being conformed to the present fast-food mentality, but instead to renew our minds (and our taste buds) to be drawn to a slower, healthier, more balanced, more purposeful way of nourishing our bodies and our spirits.   

What have you done to get "out of the drive-thru line" physically or spiritually??


Anonymous said...

This is great writing, Dear Elizabeth! And so full of TRUTH! Thank you so much! Have a very blessed & Nourishing & Loving Thanksgiving with your Dear Family.

Anonymous said...

Your post was very timely. Although it was on nourishing ourselves in God's Word and nourishing our bodies with healthy foods, none of that is truly possible without first recognizing that He is the giver of both and He gave them for our benefit, to nourish us both body and soul. Until we realize that we can no more live without God's Word than we can live without food, we won't really see the absolute necessity of mega time with God in His Word.

When I hear people say they don't have time for God's Word, I immediately know that they really don't consider Him or It a priority. We MAKE the time for what we REALLY want to do, what we REALLY consider IMPORTANT! Unfortunately, they don't realize that they will not be able to stand in the day of testing because they have not nourished themselves in God. Just like a soldier could not stand and fight the battle without food, neither can we!! A good example of that is King Saul's command to his men not to eat until he had the victory. They fainted from hunger and exhaustion. Their bodies had no fuel to keep them going. But, Jonathan, not knowing the command of his father, had eaten some honey and was strengthened for the battle! God's Word is to be to us "sweet as honey".

May we all realize the blessing we have when we have the freedom and privilege of holding God's Word in our hands, in our hearts and in our minds!!

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