[Mar 07]--You Are What You Eat

            Please indulge me as I trot out once again my defense of clichés, please. People tend to dismiss well-known pithy sayings as “clichés.” The reason sayings become clichés is because over time folks recognize that there's truth contained within them, that they speak of something that is generally true. For example, “You get what you pay for” is generally true, although there are plenty of exceptions.
            What do we mean when we say “You are what you eat”? Well, that’s pretty simple, right? It’s a call for us to eat healthier, to try to eat more healthy food and stay away from the less-than-healthy variety.
            Why do we think that this applies in the physical realm but not in the spiritual? Why does the present zeitgeist cause us to think that it doesn’t matter what a person believes, as long as they’re sincere? A person might sincerely think that another chocolate bar will do him no harm, but facts are stubborn things.
            What does this have to do with today’s passage? God, through his prophet, is complaining about the lack of faithfulness of his people—a recurring theme throughout the book attributed to Jeremiah. He recounts, as he often does, how the Lord was so gracious and wonderful and merciful and powerful on the behalf of his chosen people, and in return they continually turned away from him. But I want to call attention to the last few words in the reading: “They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves.”
              My friend, this is a fact of life you can count on: You're only as good as the god that you worship. If the god you worship is harsh, cruel, arbitrary and unloving like Allah of the Koran, then what type of people do you think that will produce? If the god you worship is the impersonal almighty Dollar, then do you think that might affect your personality and character?
              If the god you worship is supposedly the God of the Bible but you only care about the aspects of his character that you like, like his love and mercy but not his holiness and justice, then that will lead to flaws in your outlook and lifestyle.
              Now, don’t get me wrong. There are exceptions to this: People can sometimes rise above the god that they supposedly worship. There are plenty of Muslims in the world who don’t act at all like the Prophet they supposedly follow as an example, and I for one am grateful for that.
             And there’s a reason I was very careful in my wording: At best you’re only as good as your god, but you might be much worse. In the case of the God of the Bible, that’s certainly true: All of us fall far short of his perfect standards. He’s perfect love, and I’m certainly not showing that all the time in the way I treat others. He’s perfectly holy and righteous and full of grace, and you know that you’re not.
            So how do I apply this? Make sure that the God that you worship is the God of the Bible, not someone you’ve made up. Read all of the Book, not just the parts that appeal to you. And if there’s an idol in your life, something that’s a rival to your Savior, be aware that the old “cliché” is true.

Father, what about me? Am I worshipping the real you, or someone I’m making up? All of my false images of you? Let’s a do a search and destroy.

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