Balanced Bodies and Satisfied Souls
Soon a new year will stretch before you filled with the potential to deepen your relationship with your heavenly Father and to increase your ability to fulfill the special plan He has just for you! You are more likely to fulfill that plan if you are spiritually and physically fit. How will you begin the new year? Are you approaching it with a solid understanding of the nutritional requirements necessary for spiritual and physical vitality or are you randomly starting it without a deliberate dietary plan?
A Balanced Body
Physically, you know that your body has specific nutritional requirements in order to function properly. When you stand on the scale and observe the weight that it records your response may be, “I surely have more than fulfilled those requirements in the past, and now it is time for me to consider a diet—a new plan for my nutritional intake!”
As you review your knowledge of nutrition you know that a variety of foods are necessary to nourish you—meats, eggs, grain foods (breads, cereals, pastas), fruits, vegetables, dairy products as well as fats, oils, and sugars in moderate amounts. You recall that no one food is more or less important than others; they are all needed and they all help one another nourish you (reread Genesis 1 as a reminder that each act of creation concludes with the statement, “And God saw that it was good”).
First Things First
Meats and eggs supply the protein necessary to build strong bodies and maintain body tissue. They are also a rich source of iron needed for rich red blood and the prevention of anemia, as well as the essential B vitamins. The word protein comes from the Greek for “first” and should be the first criteria when planning meals. The grain foods supply vigor and energy because of the carbohydrates, sugars, and starches they contain as well as significant amounts of the B vitamins, thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin.
Our gracious heavenly Father packaged some of our best cosmetics in the fruits and vegetables He created. Rather than beauty coming from jars, tubes, and fancy bottles, a healthy glow from within, the source of true beauty, is the result of a diet that abounds in the beauty foods—fruits and vegetables. A healthy body silhouette is a combination of balancing proteins, fats, and carbohydrates with plenty of low-calorie fruits and vegetables complemented with exercise.
It Still Does a Body Good
Dairy products build and maintain bones and teeth; as well, the calcium and phosphorus contained in milk helps calm the nerves. Their protein helps maintain body tissue while the fat supplies energy and vitamin A for sound growth and general health. Vitamin D fortified milk supplements the “sunshine vitamin,” which the body produces when exposed to the sun.
Too Much of a Good Thing…
Fats, oils, and sugars are the “plus” foods—while they are to be used in moderation each does contribute some nutritive value to our diets. Fats and oils provide the body with energy, bring some of the important fat-soluble vitamins into our system, aid in digestion of essential foods, and endow our meals with full-bodied flavor. Sugar provides quick energy and helps the body utilize other nutrients, although its most obvious contribution is its taste, which makes many foods more appetizing.
A Satisfied Soul
An intentional spiritual dietary plan is as essential to your spiritual growth as a deliberate dietary plan is fundamental to your physical well-being. 1 Peter 2:2-3 teaches that “spiritual growth is marked by a craving and a delight in God’s Word with the intensity with which a baby craves milk. A Christian woman develops a desire for the truth of God’s Word by:
- remembering her life’s source (“the word of the LORD endures forever”—1 Peter 1:25).
- eliminating sin from her life (“laying aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy, and envy and all slander”—1 Peter 2:1).
- admitting her need for God’s truth (“as newborn babes”—1 Peter 2:2).
- pursuing spiritual growth (“that you may grow thereby” —1 Peter 2:2).
- surveying her blessings ( “Lord is gracious”—1 Peter 2:3).”
When you make sound nutritional choices you have the opportunity to dramatically reduce your risk for many health challenges. The same is true in your spiritual life—when you decide to ingest a regular diet of God’s Word, spiritual vitality results. According to Psalm 119, an excellent Spiritual Nutrition Guide, God’s Word is your . . .
- source of blessing (vs. 1-8).
- challenge to holiness (vs. 9-16).
- teacher (vs. 17-24).
- source of strength and renewal (vs.25-32).
- direction for life-priorities (vs. 33-40).
- reminder of God’s unfailing love (vs. 41-48).
- comfort in suffering (vs. 49-56).
- portion (vs. 57-64).
- standard for correction (vs. 65-72).
- source of consolation (vs. 73-80).
- hope for revival (vs. 81-88).
- unwavering standard (vs. 89-96).
- foundation for wisdom, understanding, and insight (vs.97-104 ).
- direction for life (vs. 105-112).
- shield (vs. 113-120).
- surety (vs. 121-128).
- starting point for understanding (vs. 129-136).
- reference for pure counsel (vs. 137-144).
- response to cries for help (vs. 145-152).
- deliverance (vs. 153-160).
- basis for peace (vs. 161-168).
- reason for praise (vs. 169-176).
As you proceed through this year, purpose – through our Lord’s strength – to improve both your physical and spiritual nutritional habits. Remember, happy is the woman who understands her physical and spiritual nutritional requirements and who filters her daily decisions through the changeless instructions found in God’s Word (Psalm 119:9-16).
Dr. Patricia Ennis is a Distinguished Professor of Homemaking at Southwestern Seminary. She has authored several works, including Precious in the Sight of God, The Art of Becoming a Godly Woman, Practicing Hospitality, the Joy of Serving Others (with Lisa Tatlock), and Becoming a Young Woman Who Pleases God, A Teen’s Guide to Developing Her Biblical Potential.
 John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible (Nashville: Word: 1997), note at 1 Peter 2:2, desire the pure milk of the word.