Junk Food Junkie

Would you like fries with that? Getting fat on spiritual junk food.

by Lura Langenback

© 02/19/03

When I was in high school, it was customary for many of the students to go to a fast food place after school to 'hang out' before going home. They would sit around with fries, a burger, a shake. The girls would gossip about what the boys did that day or what girl looked really great or awful. Boys usually had something to say about whatever sport was going on at that time of year and which girl was really hot and who was after her. Even though they were talking, many of them were consuming what we have now lovingly dubbed 'junk food.' Why is it called that? Because there is little nutritional value in it but it is rich in calories, saturated fats and other things that are not good for the body.

Nutritionally speaking, we know that this type of food is a bomb to the system. Of course, in my case, there is much that I rationalize about these things. Let's see, you only count the calories of potato chips if you have more than one at a time in a given period. Oh say, two minutes. Otherwise, the effect wears off anyway. Since those bars say 'fat-free' that means that I can have all I want. It says fat-FREE! When cooking, sampling does not count. There are no calories if you close your eyes. I am limiting myself to one bag of those really yummy fries, some salt required. Did everyone know that pizza is a food group of it's own? Of course it is. It just doesn't show up on the list of food groups now because those lists are really old. Okay, I admit it. I am a junk food junkie. My junk food habits have been well recorded somewhere, I'm certain.

In the same way that we all consume junk food, we also tend to eat spiritual junk food. There are books, movies, tv programs, on just about any subject. Music comes in all sizes, shapes and types. Someone somewhere will inevitably think it's good regardless of sound and content. One person or another will tell you that it is the best of the best. You may not like something that someone else likes but your favorite movie or tv show is right there waiting for you.

Unfortunately, that show or book may not be as good for you as you thought. It could be spiritual 'candy'. In other words, it could be something that looks really good but is feeding your spirit something that will someday hurt you. As a responsible parent, you might never allow your child to watch something that would give them nightmares but you have waited all week to sit down and see that movie yourself. In the same way that I rationalized my junk food habit, we all tend to rationalize our viewing habits or our reading habits. We want to see it therefore we should. But what is that doing to us? Perhaps the best way to explain is to show you what God says about it.

Proverbs 4:23, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."

What that means is that you have to put a guard on your heart, not allowing things that might hurt it to enter.

I heard a story one time of a guy who was taking care of the kids for a day. He was a horrible cook. Did not know much of anything about what the kids ate because they were always fed by Mom. Looking for something 'nutritious' to serve for breakfast and desperate because he had no clue, he looked on the label of a cake mix box. Having found several things that are good for a morning repast, he made the cake. The children, of course, loved it! They had CAKE for breakfast. Most of the ingredients were good for them. Many were things that are usually included in a morning meal. Mom was horrified. Why? Well, common sense will tell you that even though cake has wonderful ingredients in it, they are not correctly applied and have now turned into a bad breakfast food. The children will go to school having a 'sugar high' but not having consumed a nutritious meal to start the day.

When we have a 'spiritual high' like that, it's as if someone had given your child nothing but candy for a meal. Most kids end up being hyper for a while but then come down from that and that's when they act like brats. In the same way, we act like brats toward God, much of the time because we have been feeding our spirits with trash. One preacher said they have a saying in their house...'trash in, trash out'. In other words, if you want to put trash in, that's all you get out.

How will you know? Easy. What comes out of your mouth? Curse words? What you are doing at work? At home? What gossip are you spreading? You don't talk gossip? Did you tell your spouse about someone at work, at a park, in a car, at your club? Did they do something you did not like? Did you tell what they wore? Said? Did? That's gossip. We all do it, from time to time. The point is, what comes out of your mouth? If the words coming out are praise phrases, God's Word, songs about God, or anything having to do with God, you are more than likely filled with the Word of God and enjoying it. If what comes from your mouth is anything else, you have been feeding yourself with spiritual junk food. Are you a junk food junkie? How can you fix that?

This is the easiest part. Go to God first. Don't run from Him. He is your Father, Friend, Partner. Then get into the Bible and start to meditate on what He says to you. Fill your heart with God. Eat on God's Word instead of that horror movie or song on the CD you have been aching to buy. When you do that, you become a God junkie. That sounds better already. Happy Eating!