What we bring home from the grocery store is what we eat, and I often bring home Bare Naked Granola, Peanut Butter Puffins, and Triscuits. Even though these products are touted as being healthful in some circles, Dr. Furhman puts them squarely in the processed foods corner. I eat the processed granola for breakfast.
My daughter has a friend who eats steel-cut oatmeal soaked overnight in milk, so I thought I would try it. I soak them with coconut milk kefir or regular kefir (one of the few dairy foods I can eat), and add raisins (or other fruit you like). In the morning, I add a half of banana. Like granola, it is very filling. I’m hoping I’ll get used to eating oatmeal and get out of the habit of eating processed granola.
God is concerned with the little things in life (Zachariah 4:10), the things we are in the habit of doing. He is not waiting for us to do some big thing to make us worth his divine love. Dietrich Bonehoffer, a Christian man who stood up against the Nazi regime, said that God is not concerned with success or failure, only with a willing acceptance of the judgement of God and that it is through the cross that God sanctifies pain, lowliness, failure, poverty, loneliness, and despair.
Being hung on a cross was the ultimate failure in the Roman Era. God took Christ on the cross and made it the ultimate success (Galatians 3:22) but it is also a judgement on us that we are sinful (Romans 3:23). My bad boys might be a box of Peanut Butter Puffins now, but there was a time when my bad boys were much more serious. Thankfully, just like breaking the habit of eating processed granola by replacing it with something good, many of those old sinful habits are gone (Romans 6:12 & 13). God is concerned about the small things because that is how we grow: either toward sin or away from sin. Nothing is too small for an eternal creature (Galatians 6:7-8).
Living for physical pleasure can lead us down a lot of dark alleys (Romans 7:15). Just like my reaching for processed foods all these years and thinking they were good for me, we can be doing seemingly harmless things that one day add up to a real problem. Whether it is food or drink, money or love, we are vulnerable. God’s judgement on us is true (Romans 5:8-11) and that is why Christ not only made the sacrifice on the cross but he also gives us a helper, the Holy Spirit, to give us a fighting chance. Knowing we are often slaves to our bad habits, the Holy Spirit can help us pray for freedom from bad habits and lead us out of darkness and into truth (Galatians 5:16-26).
Richard Foster says it well: “Frankly the battle is won or lost precisely in the trifling areas of life…It is the small fidelities that are most helpful in training the heart toward God. These thousands upon thousands of little actions of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit slowly but surely change our heart.” (excerpt from the Spiritual Formation Bible).