Nothing will ruin a good fast food binge like learning what is actually in the crap I just consumed.
It seems my young ‘uns are committed to having me around for a while so they take great pleasure in unfolding in great detail the artery-clogging, gut-expanding effects of my favorite indulgences.
Even my grand-kids get in on the act.
Angelina, our oldest granddaughter, caught me eating some chicken strips and asked “Grandpa, do you want to know what they do to those chickens!?”
I looked up from my little piece of fried heaven and like any encouraging grandfather said, “No.”
She told me anyhow. So much for that guilty pleasure.
But honestly, the truth is clear.
What I consume today I will become tomorrow.
That is a foundational truth not only of physical health, but also of emotional and spiritual growth.
What I take in controls and determines what I put out. It seems obvious…one of those “everyone knows that” realities of the Geico commercial.
But the fact that is obvious and rudimentary doesn’t seem to impact our choices all that often. It is just too easy at the smorgasbord of cultural junk food to indulge in what we know is bad for us because it tastes so good at the moment.
We in fact are what we eat.
- If I consume hatred, I become hateful in how I act.
- If I devour impurity, I become impure in how I think.
- If I ingest cynicism, I become cynical in how I respond.
- If I chow down on misery, I become miserable in how I feel.
You get the gist.
My soul development is deeply impacted by the quality of what I feed it. Unfortunately, so much of the “spiritual food” in both the contemporary Church and society is the nutritional equivalent of a Happy Meal.
I made a rather startling discovery while studying what we call The Lord’s Prayer–the twice taught pattern for intimate communion with God. Jesus made one of the strategic petitions of this blueprint for prayer an earthy call for God to free us from our spiritual fast food addiction and give us the appetite for the eternal.
“Give us this day our daily bread…” (Matthew 6:11)
On the surface this may seem like a simple request for daily provision of the staff of life. And I’m sure that is part of it. But I am guessing Jesus was talking about much more than that. After all, this is the One who said, “Man shall not live on bread alone…” (Matthew 4:4)
The startling part of the discovery for me came from the word “daily”. Seems simple enough in English.
But in Koine Greek (the original language of the New Testament), the word is completely unique. It is used nowhere else in the Bible. In fact, it is used nowhere else in all of literature!
It appears Jesus actually made it up–coined a phrase as it were.
He fuses a brand new compound word by tying together the concepts of today and tomorrow–first half of a word referring to today; second half of a word meaning tomorrow.
Tomorrow’s bread today…the bread of the future, now.
It seems the meaning is something like this:
Give us today in this world the kind of food we will eat in the coming world…
And beyond that:
Give us the food today that will make us what we will be tomorrow…
Unearthing this truth has caused me to start praying very differently every day.
Instead of merely asking for God to provide the necessities for me to live my life well in the here and now, I have begun to pray that He will give me the food that will allow me to live my life “here and now” as if it were “there and then”.
Feed me now with what I will eat then…so I can be now what I will be then.
Whatever the bread of heaven is, when I take it in it changes me. What I take in today I will become tomorrow.
Jesus told us He was that bread from heaven.
“I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh…the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” (John 6:51)
And He has instructed us to make it part of our dependent petitions to the Father that He would take the food of eternity and feed my soul in time.
Only then can I become in time more and more of what I will be in eternity.