You Are What You Eat

Corey StumneBy Corey Stumne6 Minutes

I played competitive tennis growing up in the St. Louis area.

I had a friend named Sam who also played. We were competing in a tournament in mid-July over a decade ago and needed to grab lunch before the big match, so we stopped at Cici’s Pizza.

If you don’t know about Cici’s, it’s famous for offering a five-dollar all-you-can-eat pizza buffet. Basically, it’s the dream restaurant for any 18-year-old guy.

Man, did we get our money’s worth — especially Sam. In awe, I watched him consume three sodas, some cheese bread, and a lot of pizza.

I mean a lot of pizza.

Granted, Cici’s slices are small, no doubt. But when it was all said and done, Sam had eaten over 20 slices.

After lunch, we drove across the city and competed in the tournament. The heat index for the 2 p.m. match was well over 100 degrees. As you probably could’ve predicted, Sam didn’t make it out of the first set before everyone watching his match had the privilege of seeing every single one of those 20 slices of pizza again on the hardcourt.

Which brings me to my point: You are what you eat. If you eat a bunch of nasty, greasy, and heavy pizza before you play tennis, you’re sure to feel nasty, greasy, and heavy. It’s true; you are what you eat.

Don’t believe me? I’d like to invite you to the next youth group lock-in at my church. At a lock-in, the youth minister (that’s me) brings as many kids as possible into the church, locks the doors, and plays run-around physical games literally all night long. The students don’t stop moving until 7 a.m. And what do we do to make sure they’re fueled up to last all night? We set out a table full of soda, Oreos, chips, cookies, candy, dips, pizza, ice cream, and popcorn. If they want it, we’ll have it.

After eight straight hours of filling their bellies with carbs and sugars and then running all over the building, ask any of them how they feel. Or, better yet, watch them. Right before pickup, the lock-in looks like a warzone with bodies lying everywhere, kids moaning in the fetal position, some crawling to the bathroom, and others calling their mothers for help. Why?

It’s because you are what you eat.

In the fifth chapter of the book of Jeremiah, the Lord says: “What fault did your ancestors find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves.”

Did you catch that? The Lord tells Israel he sees who they’re following and worshipping. Worthless idols! And because of that, they too became worthless.

Yes, you are what you eat. That’s a true statement. But let me suggest to you a statement I believe rings just as true:

You are what you worship.

If you worship sexuality that degrades and is shameful toward women, you can expect to feel the same — degraded and full of shame. If you worship the endless cycle of producing money, you can expect one day for your life to feel like an endless cycle with no real meaning. If you worship cheap and shallow worldly success, you can expect to one day obtain it … but you can also expect to end up being cheap and shallow.

But, if you worship the Lord, you can expect to become like him — filled with his characteristics like joy, peace, love, and hope.

What do you worship? The question becomes more important as our lives become more chaotic and stressful. I encourage my students to look at a few things to determine what it is they truly worship: the content of their prayers and what they fill their calendar with are usually big indicators as to what they worship. But, at the end of the day, I’ve taught them the simplest way to determine and define their worship is all about where most of their attention goes. What their mind drifts to, their mediations, their dreams … all these things are indicators of the things they worship.

So, what do you worship? Are the things you worship going to help turn you into something good and pure? Or will they end up getting in the way of what you actually want? Do you worship the Lord? Are your attentions and desires directed toward Him? Do you crave to feast in His presence?

After all, you are what you eat.

And, more importantly, you are what you worship.