I Am What I Consume
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom . . . Colossians 3:16
Once, I daily filled myself with drugs, which painfully and radically consumed my life. My pills turned me into a walking disaster, but they didn’t stop there. My addiction erupted out of my life and into the lives of those around me. When I lost my job and went to treatment, I didn’t do so in a vacuum. Rather, my disaster became the disaster of my wife, children, boss, and coworkers. The chaos in my life spilled out and the closer others were to me, the more their lives were disrupted. In my addiction, I told myself that I wasn’t hurting anyone, but that was a lie. I was destroying myself and in turn, I hurt everyone around me.
Recovery then, is the opposite process. While in treatment, I went to God, asking him what I must do to turn my life around. I’m sick of this life. I don’t ever want to come back here. Tell me what to do and I’ll do it. He asked me to make a genuine effort to abandon myself and follow him daily. For me, that necessarily meant starting every day by praying and reading the Bible. Now, I daily get up early to pray and read. In filling my head with something healthy to start the day, I’ve found my mind and my life transformed. That change in me has in turn, spilled out, affecting those around me in a good way.
This was Paul’s command in today’s passage. In it, he told his audience that they must let the word of Christ dwell in them, transforming them, allowing it to spill out into the lives of each other. This is no passive process though and it doesn’t happen accidentally. Paul’s command was that they purposefully ingest God’s word every day, following it and being changed by it. Their transformation then poured out of them into the lives of others.
What we fill ourselves with is what makes us who we are, which necessarily spills out of us. What are we made of? Social media, video games, and Netflix? Those things aren’t necessarily bad, but they’re not the stuff of which we want to be made. Daily, we must decide who we want to be and then we must fill ourselves accordingly. If we don’t purposefully choose the healthy, by default, we usually choose the unhealthy.
We become that which we consume. If we want a certain life for ourselves and for those around us, then we must daily fill ourselves with those things which will get us there.