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Traveling with God: Week of September 2, 2018

Then he called the crowd again and said to them, "Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.

 

Traveling with God Week of: September 2, 2018
Devotion

I am currently in the process of trying to lose weight, which means I spend a lot of time thinking about what I put in my mouth and how I put it there. As I venture into parts of the internet devoted to weight loss, I've realized that much of the modern day "diet industry" can sound a lot like a religion. "Clean eating" is all the rage in some circles - it's the idea we should eat foods that are whole and unprocessed. Yet the very concept of "clean" eating implies that there is something such as "dirty" eating. There is "good food" vs. "bad food", items that are "on plan" vs. "off plan" and many other ways of describing the same dichotomy. All of it comes down to adhering to one way of eating and avoiding others - and by doing so we will find ourselves virtuous in our journey to lose weight. 

If I am not careful, I can find myself sucked into this way of thinking and it can consume my life. There have been weeks where I have spent more time thinking about what I can and can't eat than I have spent time in prayer or reading scripture. Do I want dieting to be my new religion? No! While paying attention to my health is important, and I am not stopping my weight loss journey anytime soon, I do need to step away from thinking about food as good or bad, and therefore what I eat as making me good or bad. 

You see, Jesus doesn't care about what we eat, or what we look like, or how much we weigh. Jesus cares about what we do with the bodies we have been given. We can't defile ourselves by eating too much chocolate cake or pizza, but we can absolutely defile ourselves by speaking ill of our neighbor or disregarding people in need around us. What would the world look like if we took all the energy we spend worrying about what we eat and spent it doing something Jesus actually commanded us to do? Commands such as love your neighbor, care for the orphans and widows in their distress, and feed the hungry are much more worthy of our time and attention. 

Prayer

Lord of food and earthly bodies, help me to pay attention this week not to what goes into my mouth, but what comes out of it. And may the words of my mouth and the actions of my body reflect your Spirit in my heart. Amen.