Food for Thought: How Can We Maintain Our Spiritual Health?
by Monica May - April 8, 2022
If we are what we eat, then we must carefully consider the types of spiritual foods we consume.
Food is universal. No matter where we live in the world, food is a part of our daily lives. The foods we choose to eat play a key role in determining our health. The Greek physician Hippocrates is famously credited for stating, “Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.” This statement identifies food as a tool that each and every one of us can use to improve our health.
While our physical health is important, our spiritual health is crucial. Just as the food we eat impacts our physical health, the spiritual food we consume has a direct impact on our spiritual health.
With this in mind, what purposeful steps can we take to improve our spiritual health through our spiritual choices?
1. Identify your sensitivities.
When it comes to our physical health, consuming the wrong foods can be very damaging. While we can easily predict the negative impacts of certain unhealthy foods—such as sugary desserts and highly processed snacks—some foods are not so obvious. In recent years, the world has seen an increase in the number of people impacted by sensitivities to specific foods. The trouble with these sensitivities is that they can remain largely hidden for years, allowing them to wreak havoc on our health until we finally identify the root cause.
We can find ourselves in a very similar situation with our spiritual health. The Bible provides a clear definition of sin and the impact it has on our lives. We know that “sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4) and that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
God’s law helps us recognize and avoid some of the more obvious sins in the world around us . However, at times we will all find ourselves personally struggling with certain less-obvious sins. We sometimes call these hidden sins. These are sins we don’t realize we are committing or see how much they are hurting us.
Hidden sins can operate like food sensitivities, causing damage to our spiritual health under the surface. As we approach the spring festivals, God instructs us to closely examine ourselves so that we can begin the process of identifying these hidden sins (1 Corinthians 11:28; 2 Corinthians 13:5).
David’s example in Psalm 139:23-24 is helpful in examining ourselves. We can pray to God and ask Him to search our hearts and reveal hidden wickedness inside of us. This process is not easy, quick or painless. While we may find it difficult, we cannot grow until we identify our inner weaknesses.
This process is sobering and humbling, but it shouldn’t be overly discouraging. God is patient and forgiving to those who come to Him with a sincere, repentant attitude. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
2. Remove “foods” that trigger your sensitivities.
Back to the food analogy.
Once we identify our food sensitivities, we must begin the process of removing them from our diet. We must eliminate any foods that trigger or exacerbate our sensitivities. For example, many people are sensitive to gluten. In this case, individuals with a sensitivity to gluten seek to avoid products containing it to avoid its negative effects.
The same is true for our spiritual health.
Since we are susceptible to our sensitivities, we must distance ourselves from any temptations and negative influences that might cause us to return to our old ways (James 4:7). We must diligently avoid the things that trigger our sins. If we allow sin to creep back in, we will experience its detrimental effects all over again.
Fortunately, God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle, “but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
3. Replace harmful “foods” with healthy alternatives.
While eliminating harmful foods that trigger our sensitivities is critical, it is only half the battle. In order to be truly healthy, we must not only remove what is bad, but also consume what is good. We must replace unhealthy foods with healthy ones.
This concept holds true for our spiritual health as well.
God makes this healthy spiritual food accessible to us through His Word and Christ’s example. Jesus Christ is the bread of life (John 6:35). By spiritually feeding on Him, we can better emulate Him in word and deed, heal our sensitivities, and positively transform our spiritual health.
As we approach the spring festivals, let’s go to God in prayer and ask Him to reveal our sensitivities so that we can remove sin and replace it with God’s righteousness.
To learn more about preparing for Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, read “How Can Teens Prepare for the Spring Festivals?”
Monica May is a member of the Tulsa, Oklahoma, congregation, where she serves on the audiovisual crew. She graduated from the University of Tulsa with a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems and currently works as an IT business analyst.