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What Are You Letting In?

Story of the Day for Saturday April 21, 2012

What Are You Letting In?

Their vine is the grapevine from Sodom. It comes from the fields of Gomorrah. Their grapes are filled with poison, and their clusters are bitter.
Deuteronomy 32:32

Chris McCandless craved adventure.  Rejecting the materialism of American culture, he hiked into the Alaskan wilderness – both to prove he could live off the land with only the provisions he could carry, and to seek a deeper wisdom to life.

Before plunging into the wilderness, Chris bought a book on edible plants. He wanted to forage for food like the native Dean’ina Indians. He ate berries and dug wild potato root. He also hunted game – mostly birds, porcupines, and squirrels.

But something was wrong. He kept losing weight.

Jon Kraukauer, pieced together this episode of Chris McCandless’s life in his book, Into the Wild.  Through extensive research, Krakauer discovered that Chris noted in his diary that he began eating the seed pods of the wild potato. What McCandless did not know was that, in the summertime, wild potato seed pods become toxic with a chemical called swainsonine.  It blocks the body’s ability to convert other foods into energy.  No matter how much food you eat, you will starve.

When McCandless finally realized his mistake, he was too weak to get up and gather more food. Local hunters found his body later that year.

I like healthy foods.

But –  hold your applause – while I like healthy food, I also scarf down junk food in generous portions.

For example, I love huckleberries. These wild, mountain berries have no greater joy in life than to rush antioxidants through our bodies, and to increase our vigor and zest. But I also love bratwurst – those delicious gut bombs larded with enough cholesterol to plug a drainpipe.

It’s not enough to eat healthy food. All the nutritious food in the world won’t help you if you’re also sucking down poison.

Is our spiritual diet really any different?

Before you think I’m just being a scold, let me emphasize that the issue is not what we are exposed to, but what we embrace.  For example, in Proverbs it says we should avoid associating with people who are easily angered, because we’ll become like them. But it’s impossible to avoid contact with hot-tempered people.

What we’re exposed to doesn’t poison our minds; it’s what we embrace that matters.

God wants us to embrace all that is good. But, when it comes to spiritual health, what you keep out of your heart is just as important as what you let in.
                      (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)