The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Does It Matter What We Consume?

Does it really matter what we consume, what we eat, what we watch, what we listen to? Some people live as though it really doesn’t matter. Does it matter what we eat? Well, if we eat too much ice cream at one sitting we get brain freeze. If we try to live on cotton candy it may taste good but we will die of malnutrition. If we eat foods high in saturated fat we will be fat. Obesity and its related problems is estimated to cost the country approximately 50 billion dollars a year. The government is estimated to spend one billion dollars a year on nutritional education. [1] They must feel it’s somewhat important to teach people how to eat. [2] So it would seem there is evidence that it does matter what we eat, what a person consumes with their mouth.

Does it matter what we watch? Well someone thinks it does - advertisers. In 2008 Outsell Inc. estimated that in the United States alone advertisers spent $412 billion, 400 thousand dollars (that’s $412, 400,000,000!). For perspective up until 2008 the Iraq war had cost $558 billion dollars. The junk food industry spends over 11 billion dollars a year in advertising.
[3]Advertising is all about influencing consumers to buy products. Businesses would not be spending that kind of money if there wasn’t a profitable reason to do so.[4] What sells in advertising? Advertisers and the evidence show that sex sells best. Pornography is a multibillion dollar a year industry. Why is it so popular? It’s popular because people can indulge the lust of their eyes in secrecy. The vast majority of sexual offenders started feeding their addiction with pornography and like any other addiction it grew until they were unable to contain their urges with only what they watched but it spilled over into what they needed to do. Apparently it does matter what a person watches, what a person consumes with their eyes.

Does it matter what we listen to? Well, if you listen to music, any music too loud for an extended period of time, your hearing will be harmed and you could go deaf. This is a real problem today with the advent of earphones and the constant listening to music.
[5] If you’ve been raised without being exposed to four letter curse words and you sneak out and go to a movie that uses four letter curse words, then you learn four letter curse words and they are added to your vocabulary. If you listen to music that uses profanity or vulgarity it has a way of permanently registering in your minds. One day when you’re in the heat of an argument and emotions are running high, you just may use one of those words you’ve been exposed to and consumed. In 2008 $4.2 billion dollars was spent on teen related music alone.[6] Did you know that music has been shown to affect plants? That’s right. A California Science Fair experiment showed that plant growth was affected in various ways by being exposed to various kinds of sound. Silence grew the best plants. The spoken word, then classical music had the healthiest affect while heavy metal type music led to the weakest of the plants. [7] This is preliminary study. We can’t draw conclusions other than to say that sound does indeed affect plant growth. [8] If sound affects plants, it’s likely that sound affects people. Studies show that music can affect your moods. [9] So what you listen to, what you consume with your ears, does appear to matter.

It would seem then that common sense and some simple observations dictate that it does matter what a person eats, watches, and listens to. It would appear that we need to discriminate the good from the bad, what builds us up from what tears us down. It shouldn’t surprise us. This has been the message of God from the beginning.

God created us. You may not want to believe that but it’s true.
[10] The One who created us knows what is best for us. He tells us we need to discern and discriminate between the good and the bad in life. Because of sin our world has been polluted with a lot of bad things; things that keep us from God and His best (e.g. Rom. 8:18-25). When we disregard or disobey God and His word it leads to slavery; addiction (John 8:34). God loves us so much and wants the best for us (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; 8:37-39). Because of God’s love He calls us to live a holy life. Holiness is a call to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Deut. 6:5; Mat. 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27). Holiness is rooted in God’s love. To live a holy life is to respond in trust to God because of His love for us. We know God loves us. We love Him. And therefore we trust Him enough to obey Him. Jesus said, “He who has My commandments and keep them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:21). Because He loves us He instructs us to stay away from things that will hinder our relationship with Him and hurt us in various ways. Holiness therefore involves separation. We need to discern and discriminate between what facilitates holiness and what defiles us.

The apostle John explained holiness in the following way:

1 John 2:15-17 -
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. 16 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. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

There are things that will keep you from experiencing God’s love to the fullest. God will always love you, but some things will keep you from experiencing that. Some things put a wall up between us and God. Some things deafen us to His voice. Some things slow us down in our walk with Him. Some things will even snuff out dead the seed of His Word. Jesus said some people have hard hearts that won’t even entertain the good news and light of His gospel. He said some people receive His gospel but only in a shallow way so that when hardship comes they wilt and forsake Him. Others receive His gospel word but the things of this world choke it off. Then there are some who receive the gospel deep in their hearts and it grows making them spiritually healthy and fruitful (Mat. 13; Mark 4). The way you respond to the gospel and word of Jesus is determined to by how you consume it. Some leave it outside on the surface and it’s stolen away. Some receive it superficially and it withers away. Some add it to all the other stuff in their lives and it is neglected away. But some take it in and let it go down deep into their being and it grows and changes them.

God in the Bible calls us to “be renewed in the spirit of your mind” (Eph. 4:23). God in His word tells us, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:2). If we try to live by consuming the things of this world we’ll be cheated out of God’s best for us (Col. 2:10). We need to change our patterns and practices of consumption. That’s something only God can do in us. That is something that can only happen when we accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (2 Cor. 5:17). Sin, (that which disobeys or goes against God and His word), separates us from God and His best (Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 59:2; Habakkuk 1:3; Gal. 3:10; James 2:10). Sin distracts us from God. Sin causes pain. Sin is offensive to God because it hurts those He loves. God loves us and calls us out of the darkness of sin and the junk of this world into His glorious light of truth (John 6:44; Acts 26:18; Eph. 2:1-9). When we listen to Him, forsake our sin, and ask Him to forgive us based on faith in Christ, He will forgive us, and give us spiritual life by the Holy Spirit who will indwell us (John 3; Rom. 6:23; 5:1; 8:1, 9-10; 10:9-10). Only through Jesus can we be freed from our patterns of consuming the things of this world that keep us from God’s best (John 8:31-32; 10:10).

When we receive Jesus as our Savior the Holy Spirit comes to reside within us. The Holy Spirit teaches us about the holy life God desires for us (1 Cor. 2:9-14). He teaches us that evil company corrupts good morals (1 Cor. 15:33). He teaches us the difference between the secular and the sacred. He helps us to make a covenant with God like Job did to not look lustfully on those around us (Job 31:1). The Holy Spirit teaches us, “Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22). And the Holy Spirit’s desire for us is that, “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it” (1 Thess. 5:23-24). The Holy Spirit teaches us and helps us make the right decisions about what we consume in life.

It does matter what you eat. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bead alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Mat. 4:4). It does matter what we watch. Jesus said, “. . . whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Mat. 5:28). It does matter what you listen to. Jesus said, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Mat. 15:18-19). Jesus said, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Mat. 12:36-37). The God given holy loving standard for us is, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9). Does it matter what we consume? Yes! You are what you eat; what you take in, watch and listen to makes you who you are. What are you consuming? Is it God’s best? Don’t settle for anything less. It matters what you consume.











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