Have you ever been on a diet? I bet most of you have at some point in your life. What was your experience? What do you think about when someone says diet? I bet words come to mind like hungry. In general most people would probably say the word diet is synonymous with “lack” or “depravity.” Let’s take a look at what Webster says.
noun: diet; the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats, a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.
verb: diet; restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight.
Here is the interesting thing. When you diet (the verb) correctly you will not be hungry. Surprised? Here’s the deal. If you are carrying a few or maybe a lot of extra pounds it is a result of a bad diet (noun). It could also be because of medical reasons but lets stick with the simple stuff. Weight gain happens when the intake of calories is more than the burn rate of calories. It’s simple math. The more complicated part is the burning of calories can be affected by the diet. So a diet of the right kind of foods in the right proportions at the right times during the day will result in balance. When you are eating right you won’t be hungry, your body will get exactly what it needs and you will find equilibrium. Your body will respond to this new way of eating and as a result your weight will find equilibrium also (you lose pounds). OK, I am not a nutritionist or a personal trainer or a dietician…still there are profound similarities in the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Bible actually talks about our diet. Check out these verses:
Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (ESV)
Every man, woman and child on this planet hungers for a right relationship with God. They may not know it but they are missing the most important part of their diet. The good new is Jesus has reconciled us to the Father by His death and resurrection. Also we have a right relationship with God through faith and Jesus is the proof.
Rom 3:21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.
And not only that but God is a God who justifies the ungodly…that is awesome!
Rom 4:5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,
Jesus makes it clear that He is our bread. He is our food. He is our diet. In Him we are fed.
John 6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. (ESV)
Paul said that when he was aware of his hunger it did not bother him because he knew this:
Phil 4;13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (ESV)
This is a good one. God is ready and waiting to supply our food. He is ready to supply our needs. We don’t pay for it, we ask for it. How easy it that?
Matt 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (ESV)
And here is my favorite. Jesus after a long fast is confronted by the devil. Check out Jesus’ response. He is so awesome.
Matt 4:2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (ESV)
Want to know why I think Jesus’ response is amazing? Because Jesus is referring to this next verse when He says “every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Check it out.
Matt 3:17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
The “word” that Jesus is referring to is “my beloved Son.” He knew who He was and the devil had no power over that revelation. Guess what else? We are also in the Beloved.
Eph 1:6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
God has moved us from hunger in the darkness to fullness in the light.
Col 1:13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
And on top of all that we get to be imitators of Jesus. We get to live as His children with all our needs met.
Eph 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.
Now I hope to shock you. Sin in our lives is like extra pounds around your middle. Sin is a result of something, it is a product of something, it is a sign of something…it IS NOT the something. Weight gain is a product of a wrong diet. Sin is a product of wrong believing.
Go back and look at those verses again. Can you see your food? Can you see the balanced diet? Jesus. You are in Him and He is in you. Your identity in Christ is your right believing. Your identity has been paid for and proven by Jesus on a cross. You get to live life as a child of the creator of the universe.
I used to consume alcohol because I “needed” it, or so I thought. It was a necessary part of my “diet.” I was missing something or was struggling with something or was celebrating something or whatever. I needed “something” and used alcohol as a replacement for the “something.” Drinking was an attempt to fill a dietary requirement that I was craving. The “something” I was craving was actually someone, Jesus. I needed Him. My attempt to take matters into my own hands by trying to quit didn’t fix my diet problem. I was still missing the most important nutrient, Jesus. The more I tried the greater the failure. It is like starving yourself to lose pounds. The bounce back is always worse.
The problem with our spiritual diet is we consume the stuff of self instead of Jesus. We pursue our own efforts instead of His finished work. We seek our identity in our works instead of His resurrection. We are trying to feed ourselves with His approval based on our performance instead of getting healthy on His life. We want to manage our sins instead of ingesting our savior. We need a balanced diet. We don’t need programs like pyramids or 5 food groups or ratios or calorie counting. We come to the well and drink the living water. We consume the bread of life. We surrender our chef hat and take up His provision cup. This is a diet of plenty. This is not a diet of depravity. You are never hungry when you are filled with Him.