THE OFFICIAL BIBLE DIET
“While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples.”
Vicki and I are so busy during the Thanksgiving-Christmas holidays that it just doesn’t seem like we will be able to fit it all in. But even with programs and parties and the like, it seems like the primary activity during the holidays is eating. So how did you do? Did you eat more turkey and dressing than you needed? Did you eat more than three grown men need? Well, I can tell you that at my house no one went hungry! Vicki and our guests made the most of the opportunity to show off their prowess in the kitchen. I just made the most of my opportunity. Anyway . . . thinking about that makes me think about our spiritual diet. Does the Bible teach us to eat everything in sight? What does the Bible say about what we should eat and drink?
The earliest dietary regimen that I can think of was given to Adam in the garden. God said, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." This seems like a pretty easy diet to follow. With the exception of the fruit from that one tree, Adam could eat anything he wanted! Why is it that the things that are really bad for us are the very things that attract us the most? And, by the way, you might remember that Adam, like most of us, didn't stick to his diet.
One good thing about spiritual food is that God Himself provides what we need to grow and mature. Unlike a trip to the local supermarket, which often involves a "shocker" when the check-out girl hits the "total" button, God's spiritual diet is free of charge. "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost" (Isa. 55:1).
Now to the official Bible diet . . . Vicki has a special bread recipe that she bakes in a coffee can. Instead of coming out in a loaf it comes out in a cylinder. I really like it. I like it toasted. I like it with butter and honey. I like it with her great grape jelly on it. As good as her bread is and as much as I enjoy eating it, its benefit is fleeting. As Christians we need to remember that our primary and most lasting nourishment must come from the Word of God itself. The Scripture teaches us that "man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD" (Deut. 8:3). It is the true bread, the Word made flesh, who comes from God, that gives and sustains eternal life. Jesus said, "The bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. . . I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry." Wouldn't you like to be able to stick to your diet and, at the same time, never be hungry.
But our spiritual diet is more than bread. We also need something to make us strong. What kind of food is that, you ask? The answer is the fruit of obedience. Doing the will of God builds our spiritual muscles. Like Jesus, we should say, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me . . ." (Jn. 4:34).
The official Bible diet doesn't lack in variety. For the young there is milk (1 Pet. 2:2) and for the mature there is solid food (Heb. 5:14). If you don't care for milk, never fear; every spiritual meal comes with an unending supply of living water. It's far better than the best bottled water you ever tasted, and if your glass is empty you can always draw more from the wells of salvation (Isa. 12:13).
Did you ever watch the platter being passed around the dinner table and wonder if there will be anything left when it gets to you? There is no problem like that at God's table! There we "feast on the abundance of His house; He gives us drink from His river of delights. For with Him is the fountain of life" (Ps. 36:8-9). You have heard about diets where you can have all you want. It's for real in the official Bible diet! Jesus promised, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled" (Matt 5:6).
One of the problems I have with diets is that they severely restrict my intake of the primary food group--desert! Not so with the official Bible diet. There are plenty of sweets here. Not only do we get to eat the fruit of the tree of life, we also have access to the sweetest of the sweeteners. "How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" (Ps. 119:103).
The most important thing to remember about the official Bible diet is, "whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" (1 Cor. 10:31).
Like any good diet, there are some cautions in the official Bible diet. We are warned against eating the bread and drinking the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner (1 Cor. 11:26-27), and we are told to be careful that our diet directs others toward, and not away from, faith in Christ (Rom. 14:20). It is also in our best interest to consider that both the righteous and the unrighteous eat the fruit of their actions (Isa. 3:10, Prov. 1:31).
Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow!
Pastor Keith Andrews