downloadLast week my wife and I ran a 5K race as part of a countywide health event. The night before she prepared a meal of baked salmon and other pre-race food we had read about and tried in the past.  Besides being delicious, the healthy food made a difference in our performance, as we both had fast race times.

It’s fascinating to observe how the body reacts to the food we eat. I don’t typically think about the effect of the food I’m eating.  Don’t get me wrong: there is nothing wrong with enjoying food, which is a gift from God. My problem is that I will sometimes mindlessly eat what is in front of me with no thought to how it might affect my body. A day or two after I eat too much fatty or junk food, however, I feel the effects of my diet as running becomes labored and I am lethargic and sluggish. My diet affects my race performance.

Now for the curve ball:  This story is not about food, but about what we allow into our minds and souls.

We live in times when entertainment on our home systems and mobile devices can subtly introduce “junk” spiritual food into our being. I’m not just referring to pornography, violence, and other blatant threats to spiritual health, but also seemingly harmless shows and videos that introduce messages contrary to the Truth of God and His Word.

It’s easy to mindlessly watch a program that starts off well and then introduces an element that challenges our spiritual and moral foundation.  Even a little dose of this can affect the short-term race we are running for God.

But continued exposure to these messages can cripple and damage our relationships with God and other people.  Often the effects of allowing spiritual “junk food” into the mind doesn’t become apparent until days, months, or even years later when we realize we’ve crossed over God’s red line of Truth into dangerous territory.

The Apostle Paul had words of advice and encouragement for his readers who lived in similar spiritual and cultural circumstances:

“ Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Philippians 4:8

Living a life that is becoming more and more an act of worship to God is both beautiful and counter-cultural. This can be hard, as it demands that we make conscious choices to fix our minds, hearts, and attention on only those things that are spiritually excellent and beneficial.

Our minds are the garden in which seeds are sown and nurtured. It’s up to us as to what kind of spiritual and moral seeds we allow to be planted and grown. Perhaps right now that Spirit of God is showing you some unhealthy thoughts or programs that have found their way into your spiritual garden. God has often directed me to remove spiritual weeds before they get big and overrun my life, and I urge you to do the same.

Our only hope in this area is God’s power, not our own.  We can’t succeed in keeping a healthy spiritual diet unless God empowers us and gives us the resources we need to walk away from anything and everything that would pull us away from Him. The Good News is that He has given us everything we need for this spiritual battle in His Holy Spirit and Word.

Immersing ourselves daily in God’s Word—in the morning, during the day, and before we go to sleep— gives the ever-present Holy Spirit living inside us the ammunition to fight the battle waged against our souls, minds, and allegiance.

In my book, “The Isaiah Encounter” I wrote about a Scripture verse I pray and use many times every day:

“ We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”
2 Corinthians 10:5

I encourage you to memorize this verse and allow the Holy Spirit to remind you of it when you’re exposed to unhealthy messages. The worshipful race we run for God is eternally important.  Keep running it for Him and in Him, and let God oversee the spiritual diet that keeps us living at our personal, spiritual best.

God bless you.

Chris Atkins

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