I find health and nutrition to be fascinating. I enjoy reading about it, talking about it and experimenting with it.
This past April I completed a 30-day water fast, where I ate no food and drank only water and took a few supplements for 30 days. I know, it's a bit nuts.
So why did I do it? Fasting is something our modern society has long forgotten; however, historically it was seen as an incredible means of staving off disease, maintaining a healthy weight and rejuvenating the body.
It also has a spiritual element as well for most world religions, though my motive was primarily the former. While this experience brought some incredible health benefits, something I haven't shared with many people is just how much I learned about my own spiritual condition.
In Jeremiah 17:9 the Bible says, "The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?"
While I don't pretend to think I know how bad the human heart is, the experience of going 30 days without food definitely helped me better understand this reality. I learned that food is a mask because even though it provides us with energy and nutrition, it also provides us with comfort.
So, perhaps it's better to say that comfort is a mask, and food is a major contributor to our comfort.
The term "hangry" comes to mind, which is a combination of the words "hungry" and "angry." We've all experienced this feeling, when we skipped a meal or had to wait a long time to eat, and our emotions "get the better of us."
The truth is, it's not our emotions getting the better of us, it's our heart condition that is getting the better of us when our mask of comfort is taken away. The point is, going 30 days without food removed my mask of comfort in a way I had never experienced before.
Typically, I'm not a moody guy. (For those wondering, my wife confirmed this for me.) However, after a 30-day-long buildup of hangry, I was shocked by how moody of a guy I was underneath my mask of comfort - how little things that shouldn't bother any normal, rational person would irritate me.
I was astonished and ashamed by how many times I had to ask God and my family for forgiveness for snapping about inconsequential things (not that snapping about consequential things makes it any better).
In short, I was completely surprised by how much my heart is still in desperate need of God's grace and for the gospel of Jesus to further change me to be more like Himself.
The older I get the more amazed I am by how true the Bible's description of the human condition is, and this fast further showed me that. Our condition is bad; it's really bad! In fact, it's much worse than we could have ever possibly imagined or guessed.
However, praise God, through Jesus Christ we have the antidote to this deadly condition, and it comes by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
It doesn't promise to enable us to live a perfect life, but it does allow us to say as the great hymn writer and clergyman John Newton once said, "I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am."