“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:8-9).
As I grow older, I tend to be more careful with what I eat, selecting the types of food which could help me to stay healthier and stronger. I will also try to avoid whatever food that is high in fat, sugar and carbohydrates. Why? I guess I don’t want to grow my ‘centre forward’ into a big ‘water melon’. However, at times, it is very difficult to decline kind advice, like “just a plate of char kway teow, eat it once awhile never mind la.” In fact, I like fried noodles very much, so I ended up with one excuse after another to consume oily fried food, disregarding possible adverse outcome. I am only thankful that I am not keen on consuming fast food, otherwise, I might end up being obese if I lack discipline or self-control.
Is there any difference between discipline for physical diet and discipline for spiritual diet? There are many alerts and warnings from the Bible for consuming unhealthy spiritual diet from the lusts of the flesh and the eyes, to the human pride of the self-life, to the rich and deceptive worldviews and values. The temptations and lures are projected all over the media, from cable television, movies, magazines, internet, digital apps and social media, etc. One click or one act could affect our relationship with God, our loved ones, friends and others. We could be living with shame, guilt and regrets after consuming unhealthy ‘food’ and suffering the consequences, including running away from our Holy God.
The Apostle Paul gives us the following advice in Philippines 4:8-9: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you”. He didn’t give us specific items for our spiritual diet, instead, he has given us the characteristics of healthy spiritual food to help us decide what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. Let us continue to reflect on them and put them into practice. The promise is that the God of peace will be with us, which is a wonderful and freeing truth. If we exercise discipline and make the right diet choices, we shall experience His peace. Let us encourage one another to take care of our spiritual health by pointing to what the Bible teaches us.