Proverbs 23:7 As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.
This last Wednesday evening I had the privilege of speaking at the Conyers church of Christ on the topic – “We Are What We Eat.” Studying for this lesson gave me much “food for thought” in my own spiritual life, and how I can, hopefully, help others to grow in the “grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is a condensation of that lesson – I hope that it may help you as you look at your relationship with God.
First, AS THE PLATE GOES, SO GOES THE BODY. Often when we go out to eat the presentation makes all of the difference. If we go to Burger King or Mc Donald’s, Chik-Fil- A or Wendy’s, the presentation of the food is less than desirable. Usually wrapped up in paper, stuffed in a sack, and off we go. The potatoes are cooked in deep grease (and they taste like it) – we just want something to fill us up at that moment. If, however, we go to Longhorn’s or some “finer restaurant” then the way the food is placed on the plate makes a lot of difference. Food placement makes food look more appetizing. We want to enjoy every bite of that meal (usually because of the cost involved).
Satan does the same thing with us. He makes sin look good. He does not let us know the repercussions of the sin (often we know the repercussions of eating to much fatty or sweet foods). We grow atherosclerosis in the veins and heart disease, and possible stroke are the outcome. It kills the body. WHEN WE DO NOT FEAST ON THE WORD OF GOD, when we eat what Satan and the world feeds us, we die spiritually. SATAN WILL ALWAYS MAKE SIN LOOK GOOD! Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17).
Second, AS THE HEART GOES, SO GOES THE MIND. If we grow hard hearts to the gospel then our minds will be closed to what God wants and desires. Jesus warned of that possibility in Matthew 13:15 (quoting from Isaiah 6:9-10). “This people’s heart have grown dull, their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, Lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.” In Matthew 15:8 Jesus quotes from Isaiah 29:13, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And in vain they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” We think about hard hearted people – such as an Adolph Hitler, or terrorists or abortionists, or a husband who leaves his wife and children with no support.
What causes hard hearts? What are some warning signs? First is EXCESSIVE GRIPING. Philippians 2:14 states clearly that Christians are to “do all things without griping or complaining.” The children of Israel complained about God and the way he did things (see Exodus 17:7 – “Is the Lord among us or not?”) And, EXCESSIVE DOUBTING of God also causes our hearts to becomes hard – James 1:6 “but let him ask in faith, without doubting.”
How do we deal with spiritually hard hearts? The same way we deal with physically hard hearts – eating the right food and exercising! We cannot eat the things of the world – trying to amass fortunes that we will leave behind, (Luke 12:15; Luke 21:21 and Revelation 3:17. It is not a sin as long as we use worldly things for God’s glory, but often we are selfish. Selfishness hardens the heart – hence, we need to eat the right things! And we MUST exercise our faith ( Proverbs 3:5-6; Hebrews 11).
(cont. from front)
Third, AS THE MIND GOES, SO GOES THE ACTIONS. Choices we make do make a difference. We should choose to love the Lord our God with hearts, minds, and soul (Matthew 22:37-40). When my mind is focused on God and I am eating His word, and exercising my faith, then I make better choices – I will be doing the Lord’s work. Peace will be a part of my life (Philippians 4:8). What causes us to worry? Wrong feelings and wrong thinking. Paul was able to face death with peace in his life (2 Timothy 4:8). Daniel was able to pray in the lion’s den in Daniel 6, trusting God’s care for him. Isaiah 26:3 states, “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because He trusts in you.”
Then, AS THE ACTION GOES, A LIFE IS KNOWN. Our actions show our thinking. They show our hearts! As Christians we must follow the example of Jesus – John 13:15. We must follow the example of Jesus as Peter encourages in 1 Peter 2:21 “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps.”
Finally, WHERE WILL MY FAMILY FOLLOW ME INTO ETERNITY? When my heart is right, and my emotions are controlled by my thoughts, then I will follow Jesus as closely as I can and set a proper example to my children, my grandchildren and to all with whom I contact. Why are we losing so many of our children in the church? The indoctrination of evolution from public schools, and being taught that we are animals – highly evolved animals, but animals none the less. Further, the media constantly downplays at least, or condemns at best, the church of our Lord and Christians. What about our families – do they listen more to the world and Satan, or to the Lord?
What about the church family? How do my actions affect the church? Are brothers and sisters encouraged or discouraged by our actions? Will someone lose their soul because of our failings and failures?
Think on these things.
According to some statistics we now have across “Christendom,” some have concluded that, because of the pandemic, up to 1 out of 3 people have not participated in online services or physical services of worship. We know that it was impossible for some, but others had the opportunity. And the outright attacks on the church now, clearly shown by some governors and elected officials, emphasizes that the skirmishes that may end in persecution have now started. May we be faithful to the Lord – and understand it is more than just faithfulness to worship – but faithful EVERY DAY OF OUR LIVES to the calling with which we are called (Ephesians 4:1).
“Lord, give us the strength and faith we need to be faithful to you, no matter the cost.” In Jesus’ name, Amen.”