Good nutrition is essential if one desires a healthy lifestyle. Combined with regular physical activity, dieting can be a major health boost. It helps with weight loss and promotes overall health. It is good for Christians to be conscious of what they eat and how they eat—their bodies are temples and must be properly taken care of. But there is greater spiritual value—beyond the losing of a few pounds or any physical benefit—for the Christian who is conscious of everything he feeds on.
In the first chapter of the second epistle of Peter, the apostle outlines seven qualities (or traits) of a godly life—virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love (2 Pet. 1:5-7). These qualities are to be added or supplied to the foundation of faith. The Christian is justified by faith, but that faith is not to be left alone. To his faith, the Christian must add virtue; to virtue, knowledge; to knowledge, self-control; to self-control, steadfastness; to steadfastness, godliness; to godliness, brotherly affection; and to brotherly affection, love.
While these qualities may seem arbitrary and unimportant to the casual reader, Peter thinks otherwise and emphasizes the importance of these qualities. First, he says that the believer who actually possesses the seven qualities and grows in them would not be ineffective and unfruitful (2 Pet. 1:8). This is to alert the reader who would want to take a casual glance at these qualities to stop for a minute and pay closer attention to them. If the Christian desires to be useful and fruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, then he must possess these qualities and increase in them. But that’s not all.
In verse 9, the apostles describes the state of the Christian who lacks these qualities—”For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins” (2 Pet. 1:9). The Christian who does not strive towards attaining these qualities suffers from spiritual myopia. She can’t see clearly into the future because her vision is hazy and the promises of God are swallowed up by her desires. And she cannot be excited about her salvation when she looks into the past, because she has forgotten who she was and how God cleansed her. These are grave descriptions and should not be taken lightly.
Just as a man’s eyesight is affected by what he chooses to eat, so also is his spiritual eyesight affected by what he consumes. Improper diet can affect visual acuity, not only in the physical realm but also in the spiritual realm. The Christian who suffers from spiritual myopia in his walk with the Lord suffers from a curable disease, and he needs not despair. His ailment can be cured by the most readily available treatment—the Word of God.
The Christian is given new eyes upon receiving and trusting in Christ for salvation. But she needs to properly feast on God’s word in order to sharpen those new eyes and develop the godly traits that Peter outlines. The more she feasts on God’s word, the more she sees as God intends her to see. And when her regular intake of God’s Word begins to diminish, her vision suffers. She forgets God’s future promises and his past deeds. She becomes ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. She must watch her diet if she is to grow in the things of God.
But it is not enough for the Christian to only eat the right stuff. He must also abstain from the wrong stuff. His appetites and how he is led by them often stunts his spiritual growth. And he must decide to stop consuming what the world offers. The decision to eat from the Lord’s table must be accompanied by a resolution to stay away from the table of devils.
The Christian who learns to feed on God’s word regularly will grow in the qualities that Peter mentions and be useful in the work of the Lord. If you want to be useful and fruitful, dear Christian, watch your diet.