What you put in, and what you keep out

In the previous devotional I talked about joy. In an age like ours when so many people have become accustomed to instant gratification, we can mistakenly think that joy is easily attainable and sustainable in our hearts and minds.

Not always. It’s more like a diet than it is a pill.

I’m not talking about a physical diet, but a spiritual one. A healthy spiritual diet is thinking godly things and doing godly things consistently. At the same time, it is a conscious decision to NOT put certain things into your system. If you eat well all day and then gorge on junk for three straight hours before bed you’re going to undo much of your previous hard work.

Here are a few beliefs and practices to proactively keep OUT of your system: thinking that God won’t ever help (instead of trusting his presence), or that things won’t ever get better (thereby denying the hope Jesus has given you), or that you have no support in the body of Christ (perhaps because you have pulled back from it).

Here are a few more: keeping your worries to yourself (instead of honestly bringing them to God in prayer); focussing only on your needs (and neglecting the needs of others); and treating worship and rest casually (instead of taking them seriously).

Geneen Roth wrote about wanting to lose weight. She started what she called an “all-brown diet.” It consisted of cigarettes, cream soda and coffee! Sure, she lost weight, but what depravity!*

Don’t adopt a spiritual equivalent of the all-brown diet and stuff yourself with beliefs and practices which work at cross-purposes to what you actually want to achieve.

In the words of Paul, “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” (Philippians 4:8).

When it comes to your spiritual health, it’s not just about what you put into your system, but what you keep out.


Podcast: “Making margin in your life for discipleship—a talk with Sarah Han.” Click here to listen, or look for ‘The Pulse Podcast with Matthew Ruttan’ wherever you subscribe to podcasts: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Amazon Music, Audible or TuneIn.

Sermon: “Finding joy when you don’t feel it.” February 5, 2023. Click here to watch or listen.

–*Geneen Roth, Women, Food and God (New York: Scribner,2010), 145.

–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

You can also listen and subscribe wherever you enjoy podcasts:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s