A friend of mine knows a physician that specializes in a natural approach to medicine to treat disease and illness. To emphasize his point, sitting on his desk is a powerful demonstration of his message. This physician has a digital clock displayed that is running and keeping time. What is special about this display is the fact that the clock has no battery, and is not plugged into the wall. Its only power source is fruit! That’s right, this digital clock is actually plugged into a real piece of fruit to demonstrate that power and life that is naturally inside of plant based food.
It is stunning to think of the power that actually exists within natural food. This doctor’s message is this…if you want to be healthy, stop getting sick all the time, and have more energy, eat food that has real life inside and stop eating processed & synthetic foods. I could go on about this, but that is actually going to be another blog post in the near future:)
Although there is ample evidence to suggest that people who eat a natural diet consisting of fruits & vegetables are much more healthy, have stronger immune systems, and have a significantly better quality of life, very few people actually eat this way. There is a reason for this.
Stimulants & Synthetic Foods
Studies have shown that children who have diets largely consisting of processed / fast foods & sweets, continue that same diet as adults as well. Adults who actually do have healthy diets consisting of an abundance of fruits & vegetables have either eaten this way from the beginning as children, or have broken away from synthetic / processed foods due to a health crisis that made the change of lifestyle a necessity.
For some, the problem is a lack of information. They simply have not known the food they are regularly consuming is not actually food, but a small mixture of real food along with a vast array of synthetic elements. Fortunately, this segment of the population is actually decreasing as word gets out about the nature of the food industry. For the rest of us, however, we continue eating non-food for another reason entirely.
For example, breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. Although I have always known this, that didn’t stop me from skipping this meal on a consistent basis. It was easier for me to simply grab a cup of coffee and a pastry on the run. The caffeine from the coffee and the sugar from the pastry stimulated my body in a shorter period of time than it would take to prepare and consume a healthy breakfast.
While these food-like items gave me the appearance of life & energy, in reality they gave me neither. Without getting into the science behind this, my body was simply stimulated by the quick infusion of caffeine and sugar to simulate the affects of real food. Because coffee and pastries are not actually ‘real food’ that can sustain life, the moment the caffeine and sugar ran its course, my energy and fuel for living took a nose dive. This affected my emotions, my desires, and even my outlook on life.
For much of my adult life, synthetic food-like items and synthetic stimulants kept me away from real food in a couple of ways. First, these food-like items produced the short term affects that I desired quickly. As a result, I put a higher priority upon consuming these items over real food. Secondly, as I regularly consumed these synthetic food-like items, it had the affect of dulling and temporarily satisfying my appetite. While this may seem positive on the surface, it actually altered my desire and taste for real food. This too kept me away from real food. As you can imagine, this negatively affected my health as the majority of our bodies and cellular function are a direct result of our diet.
I have learned that if something is true in the natural world, however, it usually points to a greater spiritual reality. As you may know, over the last few years I have been on a journey out of institutional religion and into New Testament church life. The transition from synthetic spiritual food to ‘real’ spiritual food, so to speak, can be quite challenging. I have witnessed this struggle a multitude of times among those on a similar journey.
Spiritual ‘detox’ involves a letting go of old religious habits. These religious habits can be hard to break because they seem to satisfy legitimate spiritual needs and desires. The Sunday morning ‘worship’ experience and the addiction to sermons are two synthetic-food like stimulants that are the most difficult to part with. Like most stimulants, there are enough elements of natural food present to mimic the affects of real food. While consuming these stimulants may leave us with with a temporary feeling of satisfaction, they ultimately leave us malnourished and poisoned with toxic elements.
Toxic Bread & Drink
The fact is, most sermons actually contain true information about Jesus Christ. Most sermons also contain true information & principles about accomplishing good deeds and managing your life. Unfortunately, most of this information comes from the grid of the ‘tree’ of knowledge, as opposed to the ‘tree of life’. Information coming from this grid contains the premise that simply acquiring more knowledge and doing more deeds (all in the name of obedience of course) is what the ‘Christian’ life is about.
The same can also be said about ‘worship’ services. Many believe (and are incorrectly taught) that we need to ‘come into’ an event in order to encounter and experience the presence of God. Attempting to experience God through an atmosphere of emotional stimulation (crafted by a select few on a stage) is a powerful stimulant that is hard for many to break. In reality, we were designed and created to receive and express the very life of God which is not dependent upon knowledge acquisition, good deeds, or emotional stimulation. The misconception about what ‘worship’ actually is runs quite deep. I have written about this here.
Spiritual ‘soup kitchens’ (institutions) all look the same. They have a select few (hierarchy) standing behind a serving table (on stage) serving hungry people who have come in to consume what is being dished out. Unfortunately, this food is not real food, but a mixture of food and synthetic elements. This food gives us the temporary feeling of satisfaction, yet leaves us malnourished. People simply go from ‘spiritual soup kitchen to spiritual soup kitchen’ to sustain themselves. Few actually break free of the poverty of such a life. The New Testament church of Jesus Christ was never meant to function in such a way.
Toxic bread & drink from the religious system perpetuates the type of thinking that keeps us continually coming back to the ‘soup kitchen’ for more bread. This kind of thinking is toxic because it perpetuates the lie that the living bread (Jesus Christ) is something external that we must go out and get. This lie keeps us from the real spiritual food (the indwelling life of Christ) that is already alive and well on the inside of us.
True Food & Drink
Jesus Christ is true food & drink. He is more than just a stimulant. There is substance to Him. Personally speaking, I have discovered that true food can be distinguished from the synthetic food that comes from the religious system in three areas.
1. True spiritual food always unlocks the ‘pantry’ doors to the location where the real food is being stored.
The good news is this…the living bread that has come down from heaven has made His abode in us! We need never to go hungry again! We are the pantry and the location of this food. (Col. 1:27) If true food is being presented to a group of people, they will not remain ‘beggars’ who are dependent upon a select few to feed them. This group of people will be equipped to go to the source of the food (Christ IN US) and extract a hearty meal.
2. True spiritual food always unlocks our true identity in Christ.
When a group of people are consuming the true food of Jesus Christ, they will see themselves for who they are in Christ. In Christ, we are not poor beggars who are dependent upon a select qualified few who stand behind a serving line (stage) to serve us food. In Christ, we move from being perpetual broke beggars to food distributors! Because we have an abundance of food, we can actually serve others food as a way of life. This will be reflected in corporate church meetings, and outside of church meetings as well. Those who equip the saints for the work of ministry (Eph. 4:11-12) know that their ‘job’ is to equip a group of people to not be dependent upon them. True ‘ministry’ is serving Christ to one another, and that is the destiny of every member of Christ’s body. The corporate gatherings of the church will simply reflect this reality.
3. True spiritual food always leads to the expression of Christ by the whole body.
True spiritual food always illuminates the enormity of Jesus Christ. Because all fullness dwells in Him (Col. 1:19), it is not enough that this Christ would simply be expressed by a select few on a stage. The living water of this Christ will become like an overflowing well located within each member of Christ’s body (John 7:38). Trying to block this flow of living water will become impossible. When each member begins to overflow with this living water, the result is a flood. We need never to die of thirst again! If the church is truly being equipped (Eph. 4:11-12), the living water of Christ will actually be dispensed by all the members to one another, not just from a select few.
May the Lord throughly and deeply cleanse our spiritual diets of all toxic / synthetic foods. In breaking our addiction to synthetic foods, may He also lead us to the true food that we have been created to consume, and may we become ‘gluttons’ of this food!