“‘What am I feeding in my life? Am I feeding the flesh or am I feeding the Holy Spirit by the thoughts I allow myself to dwell on, the places I allow my mind to go?’ Honestly, there are times when I want to feed my flesh. It’s something that we all struggle with because, even after we become Christians, we still have the flesh to contend with. But when I feed my flesh by dwelling on things that my flesh wants to dwell on, I end up not feeling well spiritually, not being truly content and satisfied by what I’ve dwelt on. When I feed the Holy Spirit though? That’s when I find joy that reaches down deep to my depths. That’s when I find that peace that passes all understanding.”
God has been working on my heart again about some things that I had let become too much of a focus, things that I was spending too much time doing. And it caused me to remember a blog post I had done about, “What Are You Feeding?” You can check out that full post here if you’d like.
It makes a difference what we feed ourselves. It affects our hearts, minds, and attitudes. One of my daughters was recently telling me about how she’d been trying to broaden her music horizons. We mostly listen to Christian music in our home and in our car. It’s not that we think anything is wrong with other music, it’s just that our preference has been Christian music. My two oldest children are discovering that there’s a whole music world out there that they didn’t know existed. They’ve participated in some games among their peers where part of the object has been to identify a song or a music artist or something relating to secular music and they have realized just how woefully uninformed they are. This has made them want to stretch their wings a bit in the music realm and see what else is out there. They’ve enjoyed discovering new artists and new genres of music. But recently one of my daughters was talking with me and she shared how, though she enjoys listening to other music, she’s noticed that if she listens to secular music too much and doesn’t intersperse some Christian music in there, it tends to affect her attitude and the way she thinks about things. She recognizes that it’s okay to listen to some secular music, but that for her, she does better if she doesn’t let that music be all that she listens to.
I recently had a similar realization about something for myself. I read a lot of Christian fiction, but I also read a lot of what is considered “clean” fiction, meaning it’s not Christian, but it doesn’t have any inappropriate language or scenes in it. I went through several weeks recently where I read only clean fiction and no Christian fiction. There was nothing wrong inherently with reading the clean fiction, but that was all I was reading, and God brought it to my attention that it was affecting the condition that my heart and mind were in. I realized that I needed to take a break from that. A diet of solely clean fiction was not helping me be drawn to Christ. It was not helping me grow closer to Him, instead it was pulling me away. While it was clean fiction, it didn’t always espouse the values of Christ, and that was affecting my thoughts and my heart. The Lord convicted me that for a period of time I need to step away from reading clean fiction and focus back on books by my trusted Christian fiction authors, ones that I know will point me to Him as I read them. And that when He gives me the all clear in the future at some point to be able to read clean fiction again, I need to be careful not to let that become the sole thing I consume.
Neither the secular music my daughter listened to nor the clean fiction that I read was bad or wrong. We had just let it become all that we were consuming, and because of that our minds, hearts, and souls were feeling the effects of consuming so much of something that didn’t point us to Jesus.
These may not be the problem areas for you. Those things that were issues for us may not be what you struggle with. There might be something else though. Something that while there’s nothing wrong with it, you’re simply focusing too much on that thing, spending too much time on it, feeding yourself too much of that thing, to the point that it’s keeping your heart from being where it needs to be with the Lord. Maybe there’s something you feel the Lord has been prompting you to let go of for a little while, so that you can refocus your heart and mind on Him. Let me encourage you that it will be well worth letting go of that thing, that God has something greater that will fill you more perfectly and satisfy you more deeply if you just let go of whatever you’ve been holding on to.
What are you feeding yourself? What are you feeding your heart, your mind, your soul?