The Parallels of a Christian Runner: Part 4

Your Diet Matters

Recently, I was introduced to Kraft, thick n’ creamy, mac and cheese. I have never been much of a Kraft person. I didn’t grow up on it and cannot figure out how they get cheese anything in the dry food section, much less into a powder form. Well….. I don’t know how this happened but,….. I’m hooked. Seriously, it is so good. Oh, it’s creamy alright! And of course I doctor it up with milk, butter and a bit of real cheese to satisfy my conscience and make it extra creamy! Yes I do wonder, every time I prepare it, “How do they make this stuff??? It’s powder!!” but it stops there. I just don’t let my mind explore all the detrimental chemical possibilities. Why? Because I don’t care, it’s THAT GOOD! Plus, I don’t eat it THAT often,…. Maybe once a week as a side…. That’s not bad right??

I honestly don’t know what the long term impact of boxed mac and cheese is going to have on my health. However I DO know that if I approach my spiritual diet in this manner it does have negative effects and too often I don’t even think about the subtle ramifications of casual entertainment and pleasures. Like my mac and cheese I think things like it’s “just so good”, it’s “only once a week”, and “it can’t possibly be that harmful”, among many other excuses and justifications. Some of us may not even call it bad at all. We’ve dulled our spiritual taste buds so much that we don’t even see sin as sin, much less desire to protect and mature our faith through self-control or abstinence.

Well, if you are a runner, and you are taking this running thing seriously, than you definitely are considering what you are putting IN your body. You don’t even have to be an athlete to know “You are what you eat”. I can tell when I’ve been throwing back slices of Johns Favorite versus eating a salad and grilled chicken or a peanut butter sandwhich for that matter. My limbs just feel heavy. Today I caved with the Cheeseburger pizza (I know, 3 days ago I was like “Umm gross” but today I was all “Yum!”) and now I’m trying to convince myself to run despite how weighty I feel. You don’t care.

If you are serious about following Jesus you will have to deny yourself. But it’s not a bad thing. (Can we just stop viewing this as a bad thing??) Denying yourself produces good fruit and a lot of times simply provides protection. It’s like avoiding McDonalds…. We all KNOW that is clearly beneficial for us. Begin by asking the Lord, “Father, what in my life is inhibiting my growth as a Christian?”

Personal examples: I have some irrational fears. I do not reflect Jesus when I am fearful and anxious. But I kinda like crime shows. So, me+Dateline= watching my fears come to life. It feeds the possibilities in my mind and it’s not edifying. There are very few television programs that contribute to my spiritual growth so I choose carefully if I watch anything at all.

Or how about my social media. I had to get off FB and Instagram altogether because what started off as harmless connecting and sharing, birthed covetousness, jealousy, pride, judgment, insecurity, comparison, discontent, boasting, pretentiousness…. I know, someone lock me up, I’m a hazard!

It can be anything from questionable television, movies, music, books, social media, places you hang out, you name it. We live in a time where there is a lot of junk “fast food” at our finger tips to feast on. It’s not ALL bad but it’s definitely not all good for us. 1 Corinthians 10:23 says, “’Everything is permissible,’ but not everything is helpful. ‘Everything is permissible,’ but not everything builds up.’” If you’re engaging in something that disrupts your peace or creates a sense of distance with God, you may want to consider stepping back. Then ask the Lord if it’s nourishing His Spirit in you, quenching it or starving it altogether. If you truly “hunger and thirst for righteousness”, and start asking the Lord to show you how to delight in Him, the Spirit will begin revealing to you what will help you grow in His likeness.

Garbage in, garbage out.

We’ve all heard it and it’s true. Having relationship with Christ and becoming more like Him is more than just going to church on Sunday. It’s more than simply snacking on God’s Word. After all, eating a salad for lunch is pointless if you follow it up with a Big Mac, know what I’m sayin? 😉 Everything we do affects our Spiritual diet and relationship with the Lord. Everything.

So what are the Cheetos of your spiritual life? Followers of Jesus believe that choosing God over worldly things is far better.

A few questions to contemplate:

Are you watching what you “eat”? Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you away from junk that is weighing you down? Are you feasting on His Word or starving yourself from it? Is the grease from those side items in life contaminating the work of the Holy Spirit? Maybe you’re clinging to your “Kraft” without considering the possibilities of what it REALLY consists of and its effects on you?

Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

Galatians 5:24-25 “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Group1Crew: Dangerous

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