What Are We Eating?
“There is a way that seems right to a [person] but its end is the way to death.” Prov.14:12
Last week our family visited a sea turtle conservation center, where they bring rescued sea turtles for rehabilitation and treatment to eventually return them to the ocean. As we observed one such turtle swimming happily in his temporary home, a staff guy told us how that particular turtle had nearly died of malnutrition and blockage before they rescued him. He explained that in order to stay hydrated, sea turtles eat jelly fish on the beach. Jellyfish are 95% pure water, so they act as God-given natural “water bottles” for them.
Unfortunately for sea turtles, plastic bags and jellyfish closely resemble each other. So this poor guy thought he was getting his health-food jellyfish hydration diet, but consumed the bags instead. These plastic bags are filling, making turtles feel full and satisfied, the same as jellyfish would. Except, unlike jellyfish, plastic bags provide no water or nutrition. They don’t get digested either. Instead, they stay in the turtles’ system, causing them to get bloated and dehydrated, having replaced the jellyfish. In the end, if the bags aren’t removed, they’ll destroy the turtles, due to lack of nutrition and water.
Immediately this reminded me of how often we consume things we think will feed and hydrate our minds, souls, spirits, as well as bodies. But instead, they’re camouflaged killers, making us feel full and nourished, when we’re really just getting bloated and stuffed with destructive elements that block us from receiving life-giving nourishment and living water.
How many of us have ever gotten into a relationship with someone, hoping it would satisfy and fulfill us, but instead it sucked the life out of us and left us broken? Or been misled into doing something we were told was “thrilling”, but brought only trauma and trouble? Or got sucked into investing time, energy, and maybe money in “the next big thing”, only to have it and us wasted? Or gone along with the crowd to fit in and feel good until we found ourselves jumping off the same cliff they did and hitting bottom? Or wishing later we hadn’t read or seen that stuff that left a nasty aftertaste in our hearts? Then there’s the actual no-nutritious junk food and drink that looks and tastes good, but messes with our bodies.
No one wants that. We all want the real deal. We want what we see to be what we get. Or at least what we think we see to be what we were looking for. But how can we be sure we’re getting jellyfish and not plastic bags?
First, realize that plastic bags exist— our enemy (the devil) places counterfeits in our path to deceive us, and purposely makes them look delicious so he can destroy us—In Jn. 10:10, Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Second, ask the Lord for wisdom and discernment to tell the difference. James 1:5 instructs us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
Third, set our hearts on doing the Lord’s will and trust Him that it will be best for us. Col.3:1—“Set your hearts on things above, not on earthly things.” If we seek what comes from the Lord, we’ll get it, and remain safe from harm. Mat.6:33—“Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” “These things” means all the stuff that really matters to us.
What about any harmful “plastic bags” we’ve already “swallowed” into our spiritual and psychological systems? Ask the Lord to remove them before they destroy us. If the staff at the sea turtle conservation center are willing and able to restore their turtles, how much more will He restore us to full health when we ask Him (Ps. 103:1-5)!