By Pastor Tim Klassen
190 years ago, a French lawyer and politician named Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin penned these words: “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.” And medical experts, nutritionists and Mom’s and Dad’s everywhere have been saying it ever since. It’s a bold statement, but more than that—it’s true! Well… maybe it’s not literally true. But it certainly is figuratively true. Eating an apple might not literally turn you into an apple, but the foods that you eat directly affect your physical body as well as your mind and your emotions. Cambridge University did a study in 2009 on lab rats to see how high-fat diets affected their behaviour. The results? The rats not only got slower, but dumber!
If you are what you eat, the question becomes: what are you eating? I’m not talking about food, of course. The food you eat is important. But it was Jesus Himself who said, “It is not what goes into the mouth that makes a person unclean. It is what comes out of the mouth that makes a person unclean” (Matthew 15:11). Eugene Peterson translates this verse with particular poetic beauty: “It’s not what you swallow that pollutes your life, but what you vomit up” (The Message Translation). While our physical stomachs might not appreciate us feeding it cheese-burgers on a regular basis, Jesus is drawing our attention to a more serious issue: what we allow into our spiritual stomachs. How do we know what’s in our spiritual stomachs? Jesus tells us: “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). The question remains: what are you eating? What are you eating spiritually? What are you eating emotionally? What are you eating relationally? What things and people and perspectives are you feeding upon and allowing to influence your life? Because if you’re not watching what you eat, I guarantee you’ll end up with unwanted fat.
Are you frustrated with what you’ve produced in your life so far? Are there things about you that you’d like to see changed? Here’s my advise: check your intake. What books are you reading? What TV shows are you watching? What music are you listening to? What people are you investing your time with? Notice I said investing. That wasn’t a typo. Time is never spent—it is invested. You either invest it well, or… well… you don’t. If you’re a negative person, I’m going to take a guess that you tend to hang out with negative people. If you’re an optimistic person, I’m going to guess that your friends are too. If you’re always looking for the easy way out, I’m prone to think that you've invested your time with people who look for the easy way out.
It was Adolf Hitler himself who revealed his philosophy of leadership when he said, “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.”
So go ahead and ask yourself: what things have you come to believe simply because you’ve heard it said so many times?
Everybody drives over the speed limit.
Nobody tips when the service is this bad.
That’s just the way the world works.
Are these the words of wisdom that you base your life on? Are you seeking a higher standard of living, or are you comfortable trying to lower the standard like everyone else? If you want to know one sure way to begin to change your life for the better, here it is: check your input. What books are your reading? What TV shows are you watching? What music are you listening to? And what people are you investing your time with? If you’re not happy with where you are at, it might not be you that has the problem—it may simply be what you’re eating. And chances are, it’s time for a new diet!