19 March 2010 (Sheshi/Kippur)|
Day #4, 5934 AM
Food for the Soul?
Hiding from Pain through Eating
It's happened again. Yahweh has shown me another area of my life that I need to work on. It seems that when you genuinely give Him permission, He's right there showing you what needs to be done. He doesn't waste time when He receives the invitation. At the same time, He never forces you. If your invitation is not sincere, He won't come. If it is, He's there in a flash. And if you get doubts or second thoughts, He will leave without protest. But before I talk a little about that area, I want to address a related issue first.
"Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek Yahweh, till He comes and rains righteousness on you" (Hos.10:12, NKJV).
Like almost everyone I know, I struggle with the divine mandate to forgive. Forgiving someone is not just a matter of repeating some words of forgiveness. Unlike the brain, which is merely a computing device, the heart gives substance, direction and life to our thoughts. In repentance thoughts and words are never enough. There has to be real intent. That means the heart has to be involved in the equation of forgiveness. This was understood by the ancient Hebrews who made no distinction between mind and heart because they saw the actions of both as an integrated process. Thus to our forefathers, mind and heart were lev, or simply 'heart'. You thought and felt in your heart. The distinction between the two which we find in our Western cultures is an inheritance from the Greeks. Thus in examining the Greek version of the New Testament you will find different words for 'mind' and 'heart'. Nevertheless the original concept and revelation from Yahweh is that of echad or oneness between the two. When they become separated, dysfunctionality is the result - a bit like a man with arms but no legs, or vice versa. Yes, we have two sets of limbs, arms and hearts, just as we have organs of thoughts and feelings, but they are supposed to function as a single unit.
George Whitten observes:
This morning I had a dream, and in my dream I was busily searching out for food stalls in a Fair. I was looking for delicious cakes and other sugary items. It seems that was all that occupied my mind. When I awoke I was disgusted - again - but was forced to admit that I, like many others, often seek distraction from pain by eating confectionary. Now I am not a glutton - I do not over-eat - but I have noticed that when I am stressed or struggling with inner pain I will sometimes head for the sweets/candy. Moreover, I know what I am doing. Quite apart from being unhealthy, it isn't the way to deal with inner pain. It's just a way to drown it out sometimes. And it's not the only way. People suppress, drown, bury and hide from their pain in all sorts of ways, both lawful and unlawful.
"At any time, how receptive your heart is will determine your response to Yahweh's word. If your heart has been trampled, and harden by bitterness and unforgiveness, then receiving Yahweh's message for you will become more difficult. If your heart is like shallow soil on top of a rock, then your mind comprehends Yahweh's truths, yet these truths do not penetrate your heart to make a real difference in your actions. Or if you are concerned about the riches of this life, then your focus is on the here and now, and these pursuits prevent Yahweh's Word from taking hold and producing quality fruit. But a heart that is on good soil, receives the Word, applies the Word, and in due time bring forth abundant fruit! This is Yahweh's desire for you - to have a heart cultivated on good soil!
"How do you cultivate a heart on good soil? Repent of any bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, or any other sin that is hardening your heart! Seek the power of Yahweh to search your heart thoroughly and completely to root out all the weeds that hinder cultivating good soil. Cultivating good soil is a daily task -- weeds spring up out of nowhere to hinder our growth. But, you are not ignorant of Satan's devices (2 Cor.2:11). So break up your fallow ground, sow yourself in His righteousness, and soon you will bring forth abundant fruit fit for the kingdom!"
As believers commanded to do all things lawful in moderation, we should learn to look upon food as that which enables us to live, and not live for food. "Dainties" or "delicacies", as scripture calls them, are used to seduce us spiritually. Solomon warns:
In other words, be content with simple food and not man'am, particularly if you have a weakness for food, that is, "a man given to appetite". Man'am is savoury meat or what we might call 'fancy food'. And no doubt sweets/candy could be included in that category in a modern context. Not only should we be alert to the rich and powerful but women should watch out for men out to 'wine and dine' them whose goal is to ensnare them to commit fornication or adultery. The rich and powerful will seek to commit spiritual fornication and adultery with you too and a favourite method is through the stomach.
"When you sit down to eat with a ruler, consider carefully what is before you; and put a knife to your throat if you are a man given to appetite. Do not desire his delicacies (man'am), for they are deceptive food" (Prov.23:1-3, NKJV).
Don't imitate the lifestyle of the rich which in any case tend not to be healthy. Let us remember what happened to the three boys who refused the king's delicacies and confined themselves to vegetables and water for ten days - they were considerably healthier than those who lived the fancy lifestyle in court (Dan.1). With the coming economic collapse we might as well get used to a simpler and healthier lifestyle anyway. Then we can testify with Paul:
"Do not incline my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men who work iniquity; and do not let me eat of their delicacies (man'am)" (Ps.141:4, NKJV).
"For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of Elohim" (2 Cor.1:12, NKJV).