Yes, we’ve all heard it—you are what you eat. If you eat nutritious food, your body will be healthier than if you don’t. An extremely healthy friend gave me a kitchen magnet that states “If you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?” It’s true. The body is the housing for the rest of what is Us. We are the landlords who must maintain and improve this personal piece of real estate. Information abounds on how to care for our one-of-a-kind property.
It follows that the same applies to your soul. It must also be nourished and maintained or it won’t grow and most likely will fall into disarray. At the very least it will fail to thrive. In keeping with Biblical tradition, let’s look at this as an analogy; a healthy soul is like a healthy body.
Of course, there are many books to guide us on nutrition for the soul, the Bible being the first-and-foremost authority on the subject. And, of course, there are countless devotionals, testimonials, textbooks, etc. to read and apply the knowledge to our care of the soul. There are also sermons, movies, lectures, TV evangelism, and many, many other forms of media to teach us. Finding information on nutrition for the soul is the easy part. The difficulty comes in thoroughly digesting it and making it a part of you. This comes with practice and dedication just like any healthy diet. You know what they say; no pain, no gain. More importantly, to maintain it you must make it a life change, not just a temporary fix because you don’t feel good.
There is a flip-side to soul nutrition. That is, doing what is bad for the soul. “Everyone who passes through this life unknowingly leaves something and takes something away.” — Robert Fulghum. I am an ardent believer that everywhere we go, a trace of us remains, and that everything we are exposed to, like it or not, leaves its mark on us. Think of the many echoes of words in our heads from something we’ve heard. Good or bad, it’s there. Knowing this, where did those words or ideas come from? This is where the idea of healthy choices comes in. Are we putting ourselves in places where we will encounter good words or bad words, exposing our sponge-like minds to violence and hate? When we encounter non-Christian ideas and words, what do we do with it? Negative words and attitudes are contagious, just as much as positive ones. It’s like stepping in paint. You might not be aware of it, but it sticks to you. Like it or not, you leave traces of it behind.
Your soul must be strong enough to withstand non-Christian influences. This is where the idea of housing your soul comes in. What kind of house does your soul live in? What building materials do you use? Is it built on fear of pain, of change, of adversity, of blind faith? Blind faith is just that, faith by not seeing. While this is commendable, wouldn’t our faith be stronger if it’s also built on what we know? The Lord has given us a Bible full of his acts of faithfulness. Jesus’ life, our lives, and those we come in contact with, also hold numerous examples of the Lord’s faithfulness in fulfilling promises and answering prayers. In other words, know why you have faith. Use those building blocks of Biblical and personal history to create a fortress that will withstand any storm or attack.
A healthy body needs proper nutrition, exercise and rest. How much more important is your soul than your body? Your body is temporary. Your soul is eternal. Does your life reflect this distinction? Bodies don’t become healthy overnight. It takes a commitment of time and diligence. Day by day our muscles become stronger, our body healthier, enabling it to do what it wasn’t able to last week. Don’t expect a healthier soul just by desiring it. Control what goes into it. Eliminate what is unhealthy for it. Exercise it with prayer. Face the pain of trials and work through them with faith built on knowledge, coming out stronger for the experience. Nourish your soul with love. Jesus knows you are worth loving, and Jesus is never wrong.
Make a commitment to have a healthier soul. Feed it, exercise it, nurture it, strengthen it.
Remember, no pain-no gain!