Don't Eat the World
I have been a few pounds overweight for the better part of a decade and occasionally I try to do something about it. I say occasionally because I have not yet figured out how to be good at more than a few things at the same time. There's only so many battles you can fight in a 24 hour period and for better or worse losing weight has not often made the cut. During the days and weeks that I have decided to wage that war, I stop buying processed foods and instead consume things that are real. Nuts. Meat. Fresh produce. If you have tried something like this then you know that the first few days are terrible. You become very cranky but after you make it through the I-hate-everything phase something magical occurs. Your body adjusts and your cravings change and you start to prefer apple slices to Big Macs. This is a real thing. I promise.
Tuck that idea away as you read this excerpt from Daniel chapter 1 starting in verse 3:
"Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king's palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king. But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food, or with the wine that he drank."
As a parent, I think there is great wisdom in the above passage. Did you notice that Daniel was educated in the literature and language of the culture but that he refused to eat their food? He was in the world but not of the world. He learned their customs and participated in society but he did not ingest or draw sustenance from the food they offered. This is how we raise godly children in a pagan society:
We love the world. We interact with the world. We don't eat the world.
We have chosen to homeschool our kids during these early, formative years because we want to feed them real food all day, everyday. We want to fill their hearts and minds with truth and beauty and virtue so that when we send them out into the world we won't be sending them hungry but full. It is our hope that after years of eating the Bread of Life they will reject and have no craving for the cheap, stale, imitations peddled on every corner. Someday my boys will see a pornographic image and it is my hope that they will turn away because they have known real beauty, and this is not it. It is my hope that when a professor or sitcom or friend tells them there is no difference between men and women or men and monkeys that they will recognize the lie because they have studied truth. And when they do partake in sin, I hope it tastes bitter in their mouth and settles poorly in their belly so that they will repent and turn back to what is true and lovely and noble and right. (phil. 4:8) This is what happened with me as a child. I sinned (and still do) but I could never stay in that sin very long - I didn't have the stomach for it.
I think people assume we keep our kids home because we are afraid of the world. This is not the case. Our children, like your children, were designed and chosen by God for this moment in history. They must go into the world in order to be salt and light in their generation. But first they must be strong. First, they must be trained. First, they must be full. It is people who are filled with the Spirit who have something of value to offer a hungry world. Of course, you don't have to homeschool in order to fill your children with the things of God, but there is so much truth and beauty and light for kids to dance around in and we are jealous for the hours. The Lord may not call you to homeschool but God has absolutely called each one of us to raise our children up in the knowledge of God. So...
As you contemplate what to make for dinner, consider what else you might offer your loved ones.
Serve God's Word at your table. Feast on His wisdom and beauty. Invite your family and friends to enjoy His many benefits and give thanks that every hunger and longing can be satisfied in Christ.
8 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, 9 for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry,
and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
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