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  • Writer's pictureRenata Joseph

Spiritual Bulimia

Spiritual Eating Disorder Series (Part 2)

Last week my blog talked about how, with anorexia, people control of their appearance by controlling their caloric intake and level of exercise. As a spiritual analogy, that might look like not taking in enough spiritual food to sustain the works we do for God. We look good on the outside, doing all the church-y things, but we are spiritually weak. This week's analogy differs from anorexia, in that the affected person is taking in loads of food, instead of starving themselves, but they somehow remain underfed.

Bulimia is known as the binge and purge disorder. It's when someone takes in an inordinate amount of food (bingeing) and then gets rid of those excess calories by throwing up, using laxatives etc. The point here is that the food they intake makes them feel emotionally good, but they prevent it from growing them physically.

Have you ever encountered someone whose sole entertainment is listening to preaching and Christian music, yet they don't exhibit the fruit of the spirit in their lives? Maybe they spend hours each day reading their Bible, but they are petty, judgmental, greedy and unkind. This, to me, is spiritual bulimia. They are taking in the spiritual food that should strengthen and grow them, yet somehow they are staying spiritually weak and immature.

In Matthew 13, Jesus talks about this very phenomenon in the Parable of the Good Soil.

Matthew 13: 5-6

Some (seed) fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.

As Christians, it isn't enough to immerse ourselves in Christian culture that feels good. We can ride the highs of emotionally stimulating music and motivational preaching, but never let the word do its refining work in us. In one ear, out the other is no different than the binge and purge cycle of bulimia. It's even worse if we regurgitate the word for others without allowing it to nourish us first.

Lord, forgive me if I have taken in more food that I can healthily digest. Forgive me for aborting the process that would make spiritual food sustain me, voraciously grabbing for the next word, the next spiritual high. Teach me how to feast on your word mindfully. Show me how to allow your Holy Spirit to bear fruit in my life, commensurate with the amount of spiritual food I am taking in and should be producing myself. I want to grow according to your plan for me. Amen.

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