My daughters were early to rise this morning. After getting their initial cartoon fix (this morning’s offering was Max and Ruby), they turned their attention to eating. Now, normally, my girls love cereal. In fact, that is an understatement; though, I’m not sure I can put into writing just how much they love cereal. I guess I would have to say something like: They looovvvveeeeee cereal!
Well, you get the idea. However, this morning, when I offered them their beloved food, they rejected it. No, they did not want cereal this morning. (What’s not to like about cereal? It’s quick and it’s easy. The perfect combination for busy mornings!) I tried again, and again the cereal idea was rejected. So, I looked around the kitchen and offered another healthy choice: a banana. My three-year old informed me a banana was unacceptable as well, since they had eaten a banana last night. I guess there is a law against such things or something; at least, in her mind anyway.
I finally just asked them what they wanted to eat. My three-year old thought for a moment and offered up ice cream! I told her ice cream was not a breakfast food. My one-year old pointed to the candy corn in the container on the counter and suggested candy! Or, in her wording, tandy! I told her candy was not an appropriate breakfast food either.
There is no doubt if I had allowed them to fulfill their wishes they would have. My three-year old would have enjoyed a big bowl of ice cream and my one-year would have gobbled down a couple of handfuls of candy corn. They would have been content and happy as larks. Of course, such food would not have been suitable for breakfast. Neither ice cream or candy corn has any nutritional value that is important for a good breakfast. They would have enjoyed it, but it would not have been beneficial to them. It would have been tasty and good to them; but, it would not have been good for them.
I wonder how many times we as Christians prefer the bad food? How many times do we fill ourselves with stuff that is not nutritional or beneficial to us spiritually? How many times do we start our day with rubbish and negativity and then wonder why we feel so bluh during the day?
Instead of starting our day with God’s word and spending time with him, we fill ourselves with the candy of the world. We fill up on those things that feed our ego and our selfish, sinful tendencies. We delight in those sugary snacks that corrupt our mind and heart into a worldly, sinful perspective.
Paul’s words are just as valuable today as they were when he wrote them:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind . . . (Rom. 12.2)
I’m afraid, too often, we aren’t allowing transformation to be done in us, because our mind is clinging to the junk food of our old selves. The natural man/woman is a glutton that will devour all the negativity, sinful, corrupt, godless junk we allow it to feed on. All the while, our spiritual man/woman grows fainter and weaker because we are neglecting its sustenance.
It is easier after all just to fill our lusts and wants and to succumb to the hunger pangs of our natural man/woman. In our busy lives and busy mornings, it is the easy thing to do. But, the path of discipleship calls us to sacrifice; it calls us to a new perspective, to a new reality. Implicit in the idea of discipleship is a path of less ease and comfort. It is a hard road. But, it is a rewarding one.
So, the next time I feel the stab of hunger and reach for the spiritual candy, let me be reminded that I am called to the imitation of Christ my Lord. Let me then reach instead for spiritual food that is nutritional and beneficial to my Christian life. Let me feed on his word and in his presence, as I seek to reflect his grace and glory in the world around me.