You might say that I enjoy a good potluck just as much as the next person. In fact, were one to take a good gander at my physique, I would dare say that the conclusion would be that I don’t miss too many meals. And judging from some of the other men in our congregation, I believe the same could be said regarding them as well (after all, I didn’t start the tradition of potlucks in Berryville; someone wiser than I did that). To some degree, eating is considered the sign of a healthy person. And while, admittedly, there are those of us (ahem) that could eat less, nevertheless, it can be generally stated that we get our “three squares.”
There are, however, those who do not eat like they are supposed to eat. I’m not talking about those who are so poor in the world that they don’t have food, but rather, those who refuse to eat as and when they ought. The condition that I am referring to is known as anorexia. This is a medical condition that describes a state of mind that compels an individual to eat so little so as to be dangerous. The thought seems very foreign to those of us who like to eat. However, did you know that there are actually pro-anorexia “help” groups available on the Internet for people who WANT to be anorexic? I recently learned that the search engine Google contains links to over 30,000 web pages related to the search term “pro-anorexia.” One might ask, “Who in their right mind would not want to eat?” And that is exactly the point. Those who have such a medical condition are not thinking correctly. And yet, many suffer malnutrition and some even suffer death due to this condition. Yet, what is most astonishing is that many of these have abundant access to food on a daily basis. It’s not that they don’t have food; they just refuse to eat it.
As horrible as the problem of anorexia is, there is an even worse problem. I’m not speaking about physical anorexia, but spiritual. There are many today who suffer from the condition of spiritual anorexia. Oh, they may be healthy physically, but their spirits are malnourished. They don’t eat like they are supposed to eat, spiritually. Like those who are physically anorexic, these believe that somehow, they will be better off by not eating. Yet, their condition does not grow better, but worse each day. It is (like the physical problem of anorexia) a faulty state of mind that causes someone to so think and act. And yes, you can find many groups on the Internet that will help someone to starve spiritually; I’m afraid to say that there are much more than 30,000 web sites devoted to spiritual pro-anorexic groups. Amazingly, some actually desire to starve spiritually. Is it that there is no access to spiritual food? No, there is plenty of spiritual food available; it is just that these refuse to eat. The consequences, however, for spiritual malnutrition are far more deadly than the physical�eternal separation from God.
We learn from the scriptures that Jesus is the bread of life (John 6:35, 48). He desires that everyone eat that spiritual bread and live (John 6:51, 58). He has made an abundance of spiritual food available for all (Matthew 5:6). Why would one not want to be nourished spiritually so that they may have eternal life? One can only come to the conclusion that they have a disorder in their life. What is that disorder? It is sin. Sin is what separates man from God (Isaiah 59:2) and what ultimately leads to spiritual death (Romans 6:23; James 1:15). Yet, amazingly, some refuse to come to Jesus that they may have life (John 5:40).
How can we avoid spiritual anorexia? We must sit up and take a bit of nourishment on a regular basis. We have opportunities for congregational Bible study on Sundays and Wednesday evenings. We each have our own personal Bible that we can study at any time. We have tracts, bulletins, pamphlets and other materials that we may take with us to study at other opportunities. The nourishment is available; what will we do with it? Will we eat? Or will we be “pro-anorexic”?