You are what you eat from your head down to your feet. That’s what SchoolHouse Rock told us in the late 70s and early 80s. SchoolHouse Rock were those public service announcements with catchy songs and good animation that aired during Saturday Morning Cartoons. I’m really showing my age here.
But it’s true. We are what we eat. The body processes and digests and absorbs what it needs, of course, but we are the products of what you feed yourself.
This is true of what we consume with our eyes and ears as well. Our mental lives and spiritual lives are fed by the things we read, by the entertainment we consume, by the music we hear. Our thoughts are composed of what we feed our brains. Our prayers are composed of what we feed our spirits. Our worldviews are nourished by the ideas and values and views of others.
We do not like to admit this. We prefer to think of ourselves as free and independently-minded. We think that what we value and think and choose to believe is up to us and our rational skills. We think that something will influence our minds only if we want it to. We are in control.
Yet experience, the social sciences and Scripture all contradict this. Hearing repeated messages affects our beliefs about ourselves and the world. Our educational system is founded on this fact. We make physicians by immersing them in medicine. We make plumbers and electricians by immersing them in class and then in their apprenticeships. At the seminary they made us Lutherans by immersing us in reading Luther and Lutheran theology. An Orthodox priest friend of mine became Orthodox by reading Orthodox theology.
What do you read? What do you watch? What are you being taught and what is being modeled to you? What perspectives and philosophies and theologies are you feeding your spirit and mind with? Christians need to remember that we are what we eat. We believe what we watch and hear and experience. Violent movies and shows leave marks on our spirits. A steady diet of shallow songs and shows leave us with less depth to our thinking and emotions.
This is why the Church has always fed us with the Word of God. She feeds it in our ears with the lessons and sermons. She feeds it in our eyes with the images in wood and stone and glass. The Church feeds it in our noses through incense offered to the Lord. The Church feeds us the Word of God in, with, and under the bread and wine.
We are what we eat. You belong to Christ, and are of Christ, because you have been fed Him. Make Him and His Word and His Body and Blood your steady diet. Be fed in great proportions. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1Co 2:16-1 ESV) and, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. “ (Rom 8:5-6 ESV).