We are so fat…mentally and spiritually. We can’t think fast, decide quickly, or act decisively because we haven’t practiced filtering. That is, we don’t evaluate what goes into our eyes and ears very often because we’re so busy cramming so much input into our minds so often. There’s so many options so readily available, so much time to be entertained instead of working, and so much pulling at us to give in and be lazy that we don’t say “No” to the media very often.
Ever change channels because you are offended by the content? Ever walk out of a theater for the same reason? Ever cancel a subscription, change seats in the waiting room, or purposefully return a book, unfinished, to the library because your spirit is offended on behalf of your Lord and Savior by the sinful garbage the world calls entertainment?
If not, why not? Shouldn’t we expect to do this frequently in “an adulterous and evil generation”? Even if you have done this, you can probably think of times you should have done it, and didn’t, and regretted it later. God calls us to purity because He designed truth, goodness, and beauty to walk hand-in-hand. We lose one, we lose them all. Guard your heart, the Bible says, because out of it flow the issues of life.
If all we know, if all we can think of, if all we see is what this world tells us to see, we are slaves. We have been overcome by our appetites and the puny pressures of societal images of the ideal. We will be forever tantalized and never satisfied, as the ruler of this world designed. We will become the best slaves ever…because we are not aware of our true master or our opportunity to be free.
Time for a diet. Turn off the tv and put it away. Cancel Netflix; stay away from the theater and RedBox. Turn off the phone for the day, and unplug the computer. Put away the Kindle, iPad, and iPod. Turn off the radio, hide the magazines, and fold up the newspaper. Do you begin to see how many ways we are bound by the world?
Give yourself a few days of this to let it all settle down inside you. It may take a week or so. Read the Bible instead; it was designed to help you find freedom, peace, and strength instead of oppression, worry, and weakness. God made us to face these things and overcome them, not hide from them and be forever chained to them.
Now go off caffeine and sugar. Start eating whole grains, yogurt, fresh fruit and vegetables, and meals made from ingredients. Plan a menu, and stay away from anything in a plastic wrapper. Eat at home. Try that for 3 meals a day for a week. You will begin to learn how your attention span can grow, that your sleep can be peaceful and refreshing, that your body has so much to tell you, and that you maybe don’t need all that medication so much. You’ll remember things without having to work so hard. Yeah, it’s really cool. See, God made our minds, bodies, and spirits to work together, so if one is fat, the others get fat, too. Indulgence brings fog, as Lewis said. Even attempted virtue brings clarity.
Now begin to pray each day. Talk to God. Listen to what He wants to tell you. Write prayers in a journal. Read hymns from an old hymnal, and see how training and instruction can be so beautiful at the same time.
Want to get really counter-cultural? Go say hi to your neighbor. Invite them to church. Take them cookies and ask them questions. People are really interesting. Yeah, you won’t like everything you find inside them, but God loves them, just like He loves you; yeah, you, the one with all the problems and hang-ups that you’re just starting to realize. If He can love the unlovable, He can help you love them, too.
Welcome to freedom.