Last August, as part of an ongoing effort to more faithfully steward our health, our family embarked on a month of ‘clean eating’. My husband, two young-adult daughters and I shared 30 days free of dairy, gluten, legumes, sugar and food additives; while feasting on a veritable cornucopia of veggies, fruit and lean meats.
Challenging? Yes, definitely! But at the end of the month we all agreed, hands down, we felt (and even looked) better. We also discovered, to our chagrin, an apparent familial sensitivity to gluten – a revelation which has added an interesting element to our dietary reality. Yet we are choosing to believe the change will be worth it in the end as we continue to work toward optimal health.
If you follow my blog, you have likely figured out that the Lord uses the ordinary details of life to speak to me. So much so, that I sometimes feel that I am traversing a chain of living parables. Clearly He knows that I learn best when the heavenly is linked to the tangible.
My lesson this week occurred on a visit to Barnes and Noble. I was searching for a gift for one of our daughters, but decided to pop over to Christian Literature for a quick look. That isn’t something I typically do. In fact it had been quite a while since I last perused that section, but I wanted to check out the cool journaling Bibles that recently hit the market.
I was unexpectedly taken back by the number of specialty Bibles on the shelves. And by ‘specialty’ I mean Bibles sporting the titles of popular ministries and trendy book studies. These included the Battle Field of the Mind Bible, the Life Recovery Bible, the Jesus is Calling Bible, the Woman Thou Art Loosed Bible; just to name a few.
As I reflected back on what I saw, I was sincerely perplexed. Apparently the Word of God is no longer adequate without the benefit of a particular viewpoint or emphasis that makes it more relevant to our particular life experience? It seems the plethora of available translations and paraphrases are still insufficient.
Don’t get me wrong here. There is certainly a place for Christian Literature. There is a great treasure to be found in study helps, commentaries and the like. And I am not picking on any of the above publications in particular. I just can’t help but wonder why we find the need to put a “spin” on God’s Word.
It seems that the raw Word needs to be processed, re-packaged, and enhanced with a bit of flavor to make it more appetizing, more convenient to consume, easier to digest.
I thought back to our month of clean eating. It was definitely more effort to consume good, wholesome foods. The grocery shelves are full of easy to prepare convenience foods. But choosing to eat foods closer to the source – without additives, fillers, or other ‘dirty’ components was more than worth it. Nothing compares to the nutritional value of pure, unadulterated, whole foods.
So I ask this question. How much of our spiritual diet is clean? How often are we sourcing our food directly from the garden? Straight from the vine?
I fear we are increasingly avoiding the labor involved in harvesting for ourselves. It is certainly easier to grab food that has already been prepared and packaged by someone else. As a consequence, more and more Christians live on a steady diet of processed spiritual food.
However, no human input could ever truly add to the simple bread and living water found in the Word. There is an amazing joy in the discovery waiting for those who will invest in reading the living Word and seeking the Holy Spirit illumination promised to those called by His name.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12