I just finished listening to a book called Grain Brain. I don’t often read such things, but I have learned that periodically reading something relative to diet and exercise keeps me somewhat in check. If you’ve been around me much you know I enjoy food, often the wrong kinds, especially Blue Bell ice cream. But reading the book was thought provoking; the author makes remarkable claims about the benefits of drastically reducing carbs and going gluten free. Critics of the book say it draws too many conclusions and dogmatically claims too many benefits. I agree. Still the book pushed me around and I’ve altered my habits a bit. Some, of course, those with gluten allergies, have no option to play around with such things.
One of the claims of the book is that if you eat the right kinds of protein and fat it will largely remove your cravings for carbs as well as sugary and salty snacks. And that claim got me thinking about the cravings of our heart (obviously not the physical one.) If we don’t feed our souls properly then our need for spiritual food will drive us to consume things that only makes us want more but ultimately don’t provide what we need. We tell ourselves, “just one more episode on Netflix, one more song, one more magazine article, a few more minutes of ESPN, or a few more clicks on Facebook.) Over time feeding our souls, on those things deplete rather than build up.
If you are still reading you might want to say, “What’s the harm in a little mindless fun?” I would say nothing in moderation, as long as it’s not leading you away from God. But consider this, sometimes the good can be the enemy of the best. I think its good to watch sports, to read a largely mindless novel, and to enjoy movies and TV in moderation. However, all of these behaviors can start to act like addictions. If they crowd out the spiritual practices that feed our souls then we will not have the spiritual resources to move into the overwhelming needs of the world around us. The danger of exchanging the good for the best is that we can just settle for what is good and miss God’s best. There are plenty of things that aren’t wrong, aren’t sin in and of themselves, but if they keep us from doing what God is calling us to do, then for us it is sin.
Jesus never calls people only for their own benefit. He provokes his children to enter into meeting tremendous need before we think we are ready. God places us in situations where we are forced to rely on him to empower us. We need his resources within us and we need him working through us to be of eternal good. Sunday I’ll spend some more time addressing this question: When faced with overwhelming need that God calls us to meet, how do we learn to rely on Jesus rather than only our own abilities? If we don’t do that, we will quickly burn out and give up. That’s not God’s call on your life.
Video for the message Beyond Capacity.