I love candy, especially chocolate to name a few! I love rich, gooey pastries! Of course, too much of these foods will not only result in a more massive waistline but will also result in health problems. I understand this and limit my intake of these dainties. I also happen to enjoy other foods, especially salads. Salads are healthy, right? Of course, if I load the salad with blue cheese or ranch dressing, and I eat several slices of bread with it the nutritional value thereof is slightly more negligible.
When I moved to Rome I began eating a bit differently. Oh, I still enjoy sweets from time to time, but my salads are different. The tomatoes here are incredible, as are the variety of lettuces and the myriad of olives that exist. Fresh, delicious vegetables and fruits abound where I live. I had to adjust a bit to not having ranch dressing for my tossed salads, as the Italians accent their salads with salt, olive oil, and often balsamic vinegar. It took a bit of getting used to, but I learned to enjoy the taste of the salads I eat. Amazingly, the vegetables taste much better, as their flavor is enhanced, not disguised by a dressing. I enjoy the salads in this way, so much so that when I took a trip back to the States earlier this summer, I decided to look for olive oil and vinegar for my salads. I don’t think I want to return to my old eating habits.
As I was thinking about my change of appetite recently, I realized this is precisely what God does for us as we come to Him. As we catch a glimpse of Jesus, as we read His Word and come to know Him better, as we talk with Him in prayer our spiritual “appetites” begin to change. We begin desiring more of Him and less of the world. Now, please hear me. Not all of the enjoyments of the world are evil. It is not evil to enjoy a nice dinner at a restaurant. It is not evil to attend a theatrical performance. It is not evil to enjoy beautiful music or even to cheer with the crowd for my favorite football team. If, however, I find myself living for entertainment, if I find myself desiring more of what the world has to offer than desiring more of Christ and what He has for me, then I must realize I am living on spiritual “junk food”. This junk food will eventually cause disease within my soul.
What then, must I do to combat this junk food desire? I must choose to “feed” myself the food God offers. I must choose His presence day after day. I must choose to attend fellowship meetings where other believers in Christ will strengthen me, pray with me, and help me to stay strong in my faith. I must determine to guard my ears and my eyes when I listen to music, watch television or movies, or read. As I am cognizant of the presence of Christ with me every moment of my day, I grow hungrier to be attuned to that presence. By saying “no” to spiritual junk food and “yes” to the spiritual foods that will increase my faith and encourage my walk in Christ, my appetite begins to change. Eventually, my desire for Christ’s presence becomes so strong that I no longer entertain thoughts of things that might displease the Holy Spirit.
In Romans 12:2, the apostle Paul tells us one necessary thing to help us transform our appetites. We are “not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewal of our mind.” This renewing of our minds brings about new desires. Knowing this, let us be disciplined to renew our minds through God’s Word to change our appetites as we follow the Lord Jesus day by day.
Submitted by Debbie Thomas