• David Osteen

Parable of the Junk Food

Every Sunday the family sat down for their Sunday meal: Fresh grilled fish, two choices of gleefully green salads, a full tray filled with fancy fruits, pitchers of water, unsweet tea and diet lemonade, small plates with a strict “no seconds” policy (all about portion/self control). Any leftovers would be used for the same routine that night, and after each meal the family would all go for a brisk walk together for about 30-45 minutes. They always made sure to sleep well on Sundays, drink lots of water, and not be on electronics for more than two hours of the day. It was the picturesque Sunday of what “healthy living” was all about. Almost every single week the family would also go through a similar healthy living routine on Wednesday nights. Despite these dedicated efforts the family’s waistline grew larger are larger. They began to have worsening and chronic health issues so they all went to the doctor.

After the doctor ran all of the standard tests he met with the family and explained to them that if something didn’t change soon they were all going to suffer terribly with their health for the rest of their lives. Diabetes, heart disease, intestinal problems, arthritis and joint pain were all in their future. The parents forcefully protested the doctors diagnosis; after all, how could it be? They lived so healthy on Sunday and Wednesday nights. They and their children should have a perfect bill of health! They were doing everything right; everything the doctors recommended. “Yes”, the doctor agreed, “but only on Sundays and most Wednesday nights. What about the rest of the time? The rest of the time you are each drinking 6-10 canned sodas a day. You eat chips and candy bars to your hearts content. You eat fast-food all the time. You are filling up and filling out on junk food. Junk food is your real diet. It is your real way of living. The healthy living you do twice a week simply can’t make up for the unhealthy living you do all the rest of the week. That’s why your bodies are weak. If you want to fix the way you are, and change your future, then you need to change to healthy living all of the time. That’s the only way you will be well, and that’s the only way your children will be filled with the good that they need to live long, strong, healthy, lives.”

Sunday and Wednesday attendance at church is not healthy spiritual living. Not in and of itself it’s not. It’s a part! It’s a start! It’s a good start even, but it’s only one part to what should be a Christians daily healthy diet of purity, holiness, and godliness.

There is a common phrase “You are what you eat”, and that phrase is powerful because there is a lot of truth in it. But if “eat” merely represents what you consume, and you apply that concept to your mental state, and emotional state, and spiritual state, instead of just your physical state, then it becomes even more powerful; doesn’t it? We are spiritually what we consume spiritually. If we aren’t consuming spiritual well-being on a daily basis then we will not be spiritually well. We must devote ourselves to daily studying the scriptures (Acts 17:11), we must devote ourselves to regular daily prayer life (I Thessalonians 5:17), we must devote ourselves to being taught and encouraged by spiritual song on a daily basis (Colossians 3:16), we must look for that daily encouragement from our relationships in Christ (Hebrews 3:13-14). We must consume more of the Word (and all associated with the Word), than we do of the junk of the world; and we will only do that, and have the everlasting benefits of that, if we love the Word more than we love the world. (I John 2:15-17)

Parents, think of your children. If your children are filled with speaking to God, and song and scripture on Sundays and again on Wednesday nights, but are only filled with the junk food of “pop music”, YouTube, video games, worldly tv, movies, and Facebook, snapchat, and Instagram all of the rest of the time, then how can we expect them to truly be spiritually healthy? It’s not even just the presence of the junk food, but the absence of the healthy spiritual nutrition they need to grow in the wisdom of God that is damaging to them. We can understand that in the parable, but can we grasp that truth in this spiritual parallel?

If we can grasp it, will we have the heart to do something about it? Will we love our kids enough, and love ourselves enough, and most importantly… love God enough to make the necessary changes in our lives? In the parable, what if the parents don’t change? What does that say about their love for the status quo more than their love for their children; the health and well-being of their children? Likewise, for us as parents, what does it say about us if we are not willing to make changes in the home to ensure our kids are getting proper healthy spiritual nutrition daily?

It is so easy to see in the parable; isn’t it? It is foolish for a family to think they can be physi-cally healthy by only living healthy one day a week. It is no less foolish to deceive ourselves into thinking we can be spiritually healthy by only living spiritually healthy one day a week. Look to your spiritual life! Are you healthy? Are your children healthy? If not, then now is the time to change. Now is the time, while there is still time, to do something about it.

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