Spiritual Director · March 13, 2017

Devote #12

You are what you eat

I’m pretty sure you’ve all heard the saying “you are what you eat’. I remember seeing a picture somewhere of a guy who was made up of all kinds of different foods. If I remember correctly, it had something to do with the four major food groups.

He had cauliflower as a head, broccoli as lungs, sausages as arms and legs and cheese as his teeth. Every part of his body was made up by using a particular food.

You’ve got to know, this man was very healthy and the picture was encouraging us to eat in a similar way, so that we could be healthy too. Unfortunately, I’m not sure my food body would be quite so healthy! How many of my body parts can actually be made from chocolate?

The explanation, however, is a good one. The food we place into our bodies correlates with how healthy we are and the energy we have.

Now, while there’s a great deal of focus these days on what we put into our bodies through our mouths, I don’t think there’s enough priority placed on what we put into our bodies through our minds.

We’re taught that if we put trash into our mouths then we’ll be unhealthy, but we also need to realize that if we put trash into our minds then our minds will be unhealthy. That will flow into our relationships, our work, our families and certainly into our faith.

The Old Testament speaks often about the idols that people let into their lives and the destruction that they brought. Read this…

“Everyone who makes idols and all who trust them will end up as helpless as their idols.” —Psalm 135:18

I think that there are still many idols in our world today that look appealing, and yet, bring destruction and separation from Jesus.

While we all have food delicacies that we indulge in every now and again, we also have other treats in our lives that we like to enjoy. Often, when kept in check, these treats are fine, but if we overindulge then they can take over and cause us to be unhealthy.

I’m not referring to things like pornography, gambling, or abuses. These are clearly no-go zones as far as I’m concerned. But there are other things that we like to indulge in that, if taken too far, lead to an unhealthy lifestyle.

Overspending, not prioritizing family, slacking off at work… We all have times and seasons in our lives, but if we allow our little splurges to become a lifestyle then things can get ugly.

Yes, our physical bodies are important to care for, but our mental and spiritual selves are also in need of health and protection.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today

You are what you eat, so look out for what keeps coming up on the menu.

Help me to understand that what goes into my mind affects me as much as what goes into my body when I eat. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

—Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

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Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.