Processed Foods and the Grace Gap

chipsProcessed foods are located in the center aisles of most grocery stores. Giving up processed foods is easily done by not shopping in the center aisles. Usually the produce is up front, the dairy on the side, with the fish, meat and chicken along the back wall. Everywhere else belongs to processed foods.

The most valuable space in food stores is the produce section and it is usually wide open and accessible as soon as we walk into the store. However, some processed food companies have found their way into it. These are items like salad toppings, packaged mixes that use fresh produce, caramelized mix for apples, shortcakes for berry desserts, vegetable chips and crackers, dried fruit snacks like apple chips, and dried fruit that has been processed with a coating of sugar. The trick is to see these interlopers for what they are: escapees from the center aisles, and spend time picking the fresh produce that will earn us good health. Once we get used to eating fresh produce, we won’t want to venture into those dark and salty aisles in the middle of the store, and the processed foods displayed in the produce section will look like the counterfeit foods that they are.

Except for one or two items that no matter how hard we try, we cannot resist. Potato chips are described as the perfect processed food in Michael Moss’ book, Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. That is because they are wholly and perfectly combined with salt, fat, and sugar, the three key ingredients that are kings in the processed food industry. The sugar in a potato chip comes from the potato starch, with the salt added and the chip cooked in fat until it reaches a perfect state of crunch. Cheetos, Doritos, Chex Mix, etc., have all been manufactured to give a perfect taste sensation, utilizing all the taste buds in our mouth and throat. It is no wonder that they are so hard to give up.

In our spiritual lives we have much the same condition. We have an open path to God through Jesus Christ, just like we have an open path to the produce section. Communication with Him provides amazing powers of spiritual health and contentment. However, we all have stumbling blocks that keep us from centering wholly on God. Through scripture and prayer, God reveals to us these habits, practices, and thought patterns that separate us from Him. When once we overcome one, He reveals another or an old one crops up, and we find that we are always struggling with something because He is transforming us to His own perfection and holiness.

In Carol Kuykendall’s video, Our Story, a woman describes her Grace Gap. This is a place where we stand now in our sin–be it a menacing thought pattern, a worldly distraction, or a soul-binding habit–and the place where we want to be free from it and its temptation. That little area is the Grace Gap and holds the hope of a future new you. It is where our loving Christ’s spirit dwells in us. The Holy Spirit of Christ dwells in our longing for freedom and in our soul-wrenching repentance. He is calling us ahead, cheering us on to “Let go and let God”. Serve Him there, where it is a mighty struggle because in our struggles we find that He is a powerful force that can fill us with joy that comes only from knowing Him in those trenches. This is where He disciplines us and we know that He loves us because of it. So do not despair; we are in the Grace Gap.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness…” and “for the Lord disciplines those whom he loves.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 and Hebrews 12:6

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