You are what you eat

by Stan Mitchell

We’ve all done this: Eat a really good meal at a restaurant, note that “this chicken may have a little garlic in it,” and feel the garlic pour out of our pores for the next twenty-four hours.

We are what we eat.

More serious effects come from long-time eating habits, too. A steady diet of Hostess Cupcake Twinkies apparently is not good for you. Nor is a regular diet of deep-fried everything. Balance is important, as are fresh fruit and vegetables.

Nutrition for the mind is also important:

“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes on me shall never thirst'” (John 6:35).

Bread is essential for life. We must have it to live.

Even in modern speech this language is used:

  • We devour a book,
  • We drink in a television program (well a good one, any way)
  • We swallow a story hook-line-and sinker
  • We chew over a difficult saying
  • We can (or cannot) stomach what someone says
  • We must eat our own words

All of these statements indicate that what we dwell on — our mental nutrition– is important. What we read, what we hear, these things affect us, perhaps for an eternity. Beware of a diet of spiritual junk food.

Though some reading may be sweet to the taste, it might also be as insubstantial as Hostess Ding Dongs and insufficient to build good, healthy Christian character.

Conversations, too, can be either healthy, or not. Negative people may be worse than junk food; they may be toxic.

  • So what do you read?
  • What kind of television programming do you watch?
  • What do you read on the internet?
  • Is it healthy?

Do you listen admiringly to a negative, critical person as if he is some spiritual guru with all the answers for the church (they frequently have criticisms; rarely helpful suggestions)? Is yours a spiritual diet of continual criticism of the church, its leaders, and its endeavors to serve God?

Beware. This toxic food will cause more than heartburn; it may affect your eternal life.


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Stan Mitchell

Stan began preaching in 1976, and worked in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He served as preacher with the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He was Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He was married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He authored five books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs; Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song; Equipping the Saints for Ministry; and Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation. Stan passed away 19 Feb. 2019.

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