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« How to Get the Most Out of Church | Main | When You Need a Miracle…and When You Don’t »

Bon Appetit

omaha_steak_lobster[1].jpg“…a good report maketh the bones fat.” Proverbs 15:30

Excuse me, but you probably eat too much, and your diet likely contains too much fat, too many carbohydrates and you sit around way too much. Okay, me too. Anyway, our obesity dominates the news these days. At least 64 million Americans — nearly a third of adults age 20 and older — meet the federal government’s criteria for the excess weight, and the rate approaches 50 percent among the elderly. The percentage of overweight children and adolescents more than doubled since the 1970s, making about 15 percent of them now overweight. Authorities identify the primary causes as fast food, junk food and the lack of proper exercise.

Ironically, for being a nation of fatties, we probably spend more money on weight loss programs than any country in history. Weight loss strategies run the gamut from aggressive treatment like stomach stapling or liposuction to the more passive restricted-intake diets. Diet pills, dietary supplements, shots and fasting fill up the middle ground. Those who need more help can seek out clinics, clubs, therapy and even hypnosis practitioners. And, after calorically-challenged people finally achieve their optimum weight, their ultimate goal is to curb their out-of-control appetite. Most agree that they could keep their weight down if they just didn’t love to eat so much, or at least eat so much food that was bad for them.

From a spiritual perspective, a healthy appetite for good food remains the best way to a strong inner man. David said, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” Psalms 42:1. The soul thrives on an insatiable appetite for God. In fact, we can accurately measure our spiritual health by gauging the degree of desire we have for godliness. Jesus forever established this standard when he taught, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6. He differentiated between appetite for anything and appetite for righteousness. Filling up on non-nutritious food may suppress the hunger and thirst for awhile, but eventually, it leads to a breakdown in health.

Given these spiritual realities, one of the most effective strategies Satan can use against us is to either to fill us up on junk food or subdue our appetite altogether. His first ploy can easily be seen in our growing preference for fun, entertainment, materialism and pleasure. It is less a matter of what than how much. Reference Paul’s warning to Timothy, “lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.” Whatever surpasses our love for God will eventually replace it.

The second prong of the satanic strategy is much more insidious: appetite loss. In the physical world, when people lose their appetite, food becomes irrelevant. Succulent steak, chocolate cake, ice cream…nothing sounds good. Likewise, if people lose their appetite for spiritual things, then the gospel, the church and God become irrelevant. Indeed, we can see this pattern taking shape in the world. The enemies of Christ have discovered that they need not destroy Christianity; they only need to diminish the sense that salvation is necessary. “Therefore they say unto God, ‘Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.’” Job 21:14 . Without an understanding of sin, there is no discernable need for Calvary . If there is no judgment, there is no need for a savior. Rick Lawrence writes in Group Magazine,

“What strategies are deployed against us? One is to make faith in Christ irrelevant to the “real lives” of children and teenagers. There’s evidence this strategy is working. Results from the National Study of Youth and Religion have just been released. In the broadest, deepest exploration into teenagers’ religious beliefs and behaviors that’s ever been done, the picture that emerges portrays kids’ collective relationship with God as shallow at best. While one out of 10-or-so adolescents have a living, vibrant, everyday relationship with God, nine out of 10 see God as a ‘divine butler or cosmic therapist’ who exists only in the background of their lives, waiting to be summoned when they have a problem. For the vast majority of teenagers, God is irrelevant to their everyday lives.”

Appetite loss happens by the onset of sickness or by tricking the body into feeling full. Thus, people do not always recognize the danger of spiritual appetite loss. When passion for God dissipates, the slumbering soul may be oblivious to the crisis.

The most significant job facing the church today is to keep Generation X, Generation Y—-those born between 1976 and 1995—-maintain a healthy appetite for God. This will take a renewed commitment to teach the most basic of spiritual laws: sin and salvation. The world needs to know more than just the how of doctrine. We must constantly and effectively teach them the why.

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Reader Comments (2)

I know that God help us...but this problem we must help ourselves...not to indoctrinate us with religion in any matter and because it is a sin

June 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergerovital h3


A close read should have led you to understand that I wrote this piece from a Bible-believers' perspective. I carefully specified that the church has issues with Facebook that go beyond computer or personal security. In fact, that was pretty much the essence of my article. Perhaps your comment would be more in line with a secular blog.

However, I do note your disparaging of religion and concept of sin, even though you say you want God's help. The two views seem incompatible to me. God's help has already been extended to us in the form of His Word. That's not indoctrination any more than reading a first aid manual is indoctrination for emergency medical treatment. You would be wise to read the Bible and follow it's teachings.

Thank you for responding.

Jonathan Jordan

June 21, 2010 | Registered CommenterJ. Mark Jordan

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