by Adam Emanuel
“…Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 3:8
First the physical side:
This summer I have studied health and nutrition; sparked by a nutrition class I took last semester that left me with more questions than answers. In my research I have discovered many interesting facts that I didn’t know before. For example, many of the foods that the modern, industrialized world eats are not very good for us. This is evidenced from everything between ever climbing rates of cancer and heart disease to diabetes and obesity. All of these drastically reduce the life quality and expectancy of Americans as well as those with similar diets in industrialized countries. The modern world eats refined grains which are lacking in fiber and vitamins. In fact, we had to start adding these vitamins back artificially to cull the numbers of deaths from deficiency diseases like pellagra.
In general, Americans don’t give much thought to living healthy lives when the miracle of modern healthcare can swoop in and save us at the last minute with chemotherapy, quadruple bypasses, and other emergency medical care.
Now for the spiritual side:
So in my reading of the Gospels these past few weeks I have stumbled onto an interesting fact: Jesus, the son of God, felt the need to pray or talk to God often. Jesus was divine, as evidenced by his miracles, the people said he was a great prophet, and his closest knew that he was the Christ (anointed one) of God. Yet, before starting his ministry he went off in the wilderness to fast and pray for 40 days. Before picking his twelve disciples he spent the whole night in prayer, during the latter days of his ministry he often withdrew into solitude just to pray, and before his crucifixion he was found… you guessed it, praying.
And finally, the parallel:
Often times people wonder why they are physically unwell after living unhealthy lives. After years of “garbage in” it should be no surprise that the result is “garbage out”. Our spiritual lives are the same. We fail to pray and yet wonder why we don’t hear from God. We don’t read his words and yet are like Pilate who when Jesus claimed “I am the truth,” asks “what is truth?”
As a kid in the church I was told that we needed to “read our bibles and pray.” I always thought that was really basic and wanted to move to other, more important, deeper things. Our doctors are always saying things like “diet and exercise.” But we’re always looking for pills and interventions that are quicker, and easier.
I see prayer as something similar to exercise and “every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” as something similar to a balanced diet for our spirit. Instead of consuming the media’s junk food, I’ve been chewing on the bread of God’s truth. Instead of looking for the next quick fix, I’ve been talking to God about how to live my life. In revisiting these basics I feel like I’ve felt better than I’ve felt in a long time.