Over the last forty years, Americans have become increasingly aware of the importance of diet and nutrition. Extensive efforts have been put forth to discover and utilize the most beneficial foods to optimize health.
In addition to weight loss strategies, many vitamin and supplement routines have been developed and marketed each promising positive outcomes that surpass all others. At the same time, food programs on both television and internet have become quite popular by presenting new recipes and techniques to elevate flavors and satisfy ever-changing palates.
We have also become more aware of food disorders. In particular, anorexia and bulimia are the most common affecting nearly three out of every 100 Americans. While this number is not high, the consequences can be severe and even fatal.
Individuals suffering from anorexia typically eat very little resulting in self-starvation. Those with bulimia, however, often binge eat and then purge later by self-induced vomiting to avoid weight gain. Each of us should be aware of the symptoms of these conditions in order to help those affected.
These physical disorders remind me of similar spiritual conditions which are far more prevalent. Some of us perceive ourselves to be spiritually overweight when we are really malnourished. Daily doses of God’s Word can help remedy spiritual anorexia.
Other believers sometimes binge on God’s Word on Sunday mornings but then fail to digest what they’ve consumed. Sunday School classes and sermons can provide much needed nutrition for our sin-sick souls but unfortunately, we purge what we have heard before it has a chance to nourish and change us.
We may gulp down gourmet truth at Christian seminars or from godly podcasts. The messages we hear are tasty and timely. We even take notes on the rich information being served. But that’s where it stops. We talk about how great the meal was but we fail to allow it to digest.
This is a particular problem in American culture where life is so busy. We participate in one activity only to rush to another to another to another. Sometimes by the end of the morning, we can’t even remember what we started with a few hours earlier.
Each of us can benefit from some time to allow our spiritual intake to digest. Cows, deer, and other ruminants commonly devour large quantities of food and then bed down to chew their cuds ruminating on what they’ve consumed.
This allows the nutritious vegetation to be broken down and completely processed. As it then passes through their digestive systems, the energy and vitamins are transferred to their bloodstreams and delivered to strengthen and empower each cell of their bodies. What an ingenious design!
In the Book of Psalms, we commonly find the word Selah. This Hebrew word means to stop and meditate on what you’ve just read or heard. Before you take another bite, let the first one sink in. Ruminate on what you’ve ingested. Those who wrote these Holy Spirit inspired words knew they were complex carbohydrates that needed proper digestion in order to benefit the reader or hearer.
Although other books of the Bible lack this word, we should insert this practice frequently in order to gain maximum sustenance from these morsels of life. In addition, after hearing a sermon or podcast, or attending a seminar or workshop, we should take time to both meditate on and pray about what we’ve just heard.
After we’ve had a chance to process our intake, it’s then also helpful to discuss it with others to discover what the Spirit has revealed to them. These disciplines will help us to get the most out of what we “eat” and nourish every cell of our spiritual being.
As we consider the dangers of eating disorders, may they remind us to take some time to enjoy and digest the rich spiritual food that God feeds us that we might grow and be strengthened as a result. Ruminating, George
George Bowers is the Senior Pastor of Antioch Church and has authored 19 books including Blessings Volumes 1, 2, and 3 which are collections of these articles. He can be reached through http://www.georgebowersministries.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org .