Have you ever contemplated the link between your stomach and your thoughts? Your gut and your brain? Maybe you’ve had a “gut feeling or a “gut-reaction.” Surely you’ve had the sensation of “butterflies in your stomach” that come with a nervous stomach, or felt so scared when speaking in public that the stage fright made you want to throw up.
Do you think could be a link between your stomach and brain? Science says yes. In a 2012 article called, “The Gut-Brain Connection,” Harvard University Medical School’s Health Publication states the following: “The brain has a direct effect on the stomach. For example, the very thought of eating can release the stomach’s juices before food gets there. This connection goes both ways. A troubled intestine can send signals to the brain, just as a troubled brain can send signals to the gut. Therefore, a person’s stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression. That is because the brain and the gastrointestinal (GI) system are intimately connected — so intimately that they should be viewed as one system.”
1. Did you hear that conclusion? “The brain and stomach should be viewed as one system? It clearly states that “intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression.” So, does that mean that resolving intestinal distresses would eradicate (or at least greatly improve) anxiety, stress and depression? And could that work both ways and bring healing to many intestinal conditions by merely reducing stress? Harvard gives a clear answer to that question too: “Based on these observations, you might expect that at least some patients with functional GI conditions might improve with therapy to reduce stress or treat anxiety or depression. And sure enough, a review of 13 studies showed that patients who tried psychologically based approaches had greater improvement in their digestive symptoms compared with patients who received conventional medical treatment.”
So, if scientists are stating that the brain and stomach should be viewed as one system, then surely what we put into our stomachs can affect what goes on in our brains. In short, our food influences our thoughts. But if that’s true, then we need to ask if it is possible that our thoughts can affect your faith, because if so, then it could also be said that your food affects our faith. Let me unpack that for you: it has been scientifically proven that your food influences your thoughts, and so if it can be Biblically proven that your thoughts influence your faith, then it could be said that your food is influencing your faith. Consider it. You could—at this very moment—be chemically pushing yourself toward doubt. Having an off day? Feeling faithless? What if it is something you ate last night? Spiritual food poisoning.
So listen how Philippians 3:15 shows that faith and thoughts are intertwined: “Whoever has a mature faith should think this way. And if you think differently, God will show you how to think” (GWT). And how Isaiah 26:3 links trust in God with thoughts: “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Harvard’s shocking statement that “the brain and the gastrointestinal (GI) system are intimately connected — so intimately that they should be viewed as one system,” is not so shocking when you consider that the Bible made the connection a long time ago: fasting. Abstaining from food greatly impacts your thoughts and ultimately, your faith. Literal fasting involves the removal of some or all foods from the diet—replacing it with prayer—and I can attest personally that fasting has always resulted in immediately increased faith for me. This connection originates with our Creator. Perhaps there is even an underlying physiological reason for how an intestinal detox results in clearer thinking and sharper faith. Not to in any way undermine the spiritual miracle of fasting. It is just to confirm that the gut-brain link also provides a food-faith link. In closing, look at these Scriptures in a new light and see if perhaps they link food with faith, or with doubt for that matter: “But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4, KJV). "
1. Harvard article link: Harvard Medical School, “The Gut-Brain Connection,” HYPERLINK "http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/the-gut-brain-connection"http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/the-gut-brain-connection
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