Spiritual Diet — Gut Feelings and Inner Peace
And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. [Deuteronomy 8:2-3].
Excessive indulgence in secular entertainment and profane activities can lead to a spiritually deficient diet. A lifestyle adorned with frivolity and filled with a diet of amusement of and.levity is unbalanced.
Our dietary and nutritional diligence may produce a healthy body and a cogent intellect, however, if we neglect spiritual nourishment, we risk malnutrition of the soul.
Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? [Matthew 6:25-26].
Is it possible that the anxiety caused by the content of our diet is causing more harm than the ingredients or how the food is processed?
Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith. [Henry Ward Beecher].
Today, we scrutinize labels attached to our food, selectively filtering out those with the wrong ingredients. Our diet does not tolerate improperly grown, harvested, preserved, packaged, or transported food.
Our concern appears to be purity. We don’t want adulterated, technologically dependent, biologically enhanced nutrition.
What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him “unclean,” but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him “unclean.” [Matthew 15:11].
Gusto of a Dead Conscience
Ironically, the irreverence permeating our culture renders scriptural insight into our diet distasteful, even repugnant, to the spiritually bland mind. Secular indoctrination has transformed our dietary preferences into media events often devoid of enjoyment and satisfaction.
We now consume products that celebrities endorse rather than what our palate savors. Our appetite complements our social functions as part of our cosmetic attire. Despite our nutritional knowledge, we still eat indiscriminately, then worry about adverse consequences and side effects
Our gluttonous diet has been made heroic. We now accommodate degenerate behavior as acceptable lifestyles.
We are lulled into neglecting our worship. A diet of amusements and pleasures entices us, then weakens our spirit and hardens our heart.
We read no warning labels cautioning us about our diet’s seductive ingredients. Distracted from the Divine path, we consume to our gut’s content, and forget our Lord.
MY DEAR WORMWOOD, The contemptuous way in which you spoke of gluttony as a means of catching souls, in your last letter, only shows your ignorance. One of the great achievements of the last hundred years has been to deaden the human conscience on that subject, so that by now you will hardly find a sermon preached or a conscience troubled about it in the whole length and breadth of Europe. [C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, Ch. 17].
Restrictions on diet and concern for purity of food are traditional ingredients of spiritual nutrition. Even in today’s secular culture, dietary restrictions are often associated with goodness and holiness.
Eating moderately and seeking the best quality of food was just as important in biblical times as it is today, but we now focus on profane instead of spiritual ingredients. Gluttonous appetites, lust and greed are as prevalent today as throughout history, but now no one objects.
When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day. [Deuteronomy 8:10-11]
The Flavor of Faith
Obviously, food is not inherently sinful, but we are inherently weak. Our uncontrolled diet and sensuous cravings can overwhelm our best intentions, leaving us spiritually starved. Hence, we need sacred energy to harness our passions, and Divine awareness to strengthen our resolve for pious living.
Spiritual awareness is a vital ingredient in our nutritional needs. Compromising our faith is as harmful as compromising our food sources, but with far greater consequences.
They will be fooled by evil spirits and by teachings that … forbid people to marry or to eat certain foods. But God created these foods to be eaten with thankful hearts by his followers who know the truth. Everything God created is good. And if you give thanks, you may eat anything. What God has said and your prayer will make it fit to eat. [1 Timothy 4:1-5 (CEV)].
The message remains the same: not by bread alone, but by every Divine word shall we live. Nutrition is more than a physical process. We must continually cultivate our spiritual life to harvest the tranquility and balance lacking in the physical world.
Those who have attained to faith and do righteous deeds incur no sin by partaking of whatever they may, so long as they are conscious of God and [truly] believe and do righteous deeds, and continue to be conscious of God and to believe, and grow ever more conscious of God, and persevere in doing good: for God loves the doers of good. [Quran 5:93].