The classic old saying “A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” is not something I would assume is true. For anyone that knows my husband, however, this would be an accurate depiction. He enjoys food.
When we began dating, he once told me: “Melissa, you are like fast Sunday. Whenever I am unable to be with you is when I truly realize how much I miss you.” I remember being a bit dumbfounded and unsure of what to say, but then the spirit softly touched my heart and told me that he was expressing himself through one of his biggest love languages—food.
Food sustains, comforts, and nurtures our mortal bodies. Without frequent rejuvenation of this substance, the body becomes weak and eventually fails. My husband knows if he comes home and is greeted by four emotional girls (myself included), the diagnosis is hunger, and the best prescription usually involves food.
Directions for Physical Health
In the Doctrine and Covenants 89, the Prophet Joseph Smith received guidance and warnings for the temporal salvation of Latter-day Saints known as the Word of Wisdom. It has been over 188 years since this revelation was given, and I can see that living according to the standards outlined in the Word of Wisdom has blessed my life.
I have followed this counsel all my life. Although I have not become an Olympic athlete, run a marathon, or participated in an extreme sport, I have hiked beautiful mountain trails, pulled wagons full of children, and felt the rush of achieving physical challenges.
Spiritual Promptings for Healthy Living
This revelation, however, entails so much more than what I have been able to accomplish. As one of the “Ideas for Personal Scripture Study” in the August 16-22 Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Doctrine and Covenants suggests: “Modern prophets have also warned of harmful substances and behaviors beyond those mentioned in the Word of Wisdom (see ‘Physical and Emotional Health,’ For the Strength of Youth, 25–27). What are you prompted to do to better care for your mind and body?”
When life has become overwhelming and unbearable, I have felt tempted to escape and numb my suffering. Nevertheless, I have followed the counsel of the Word of Wisdom to avoid using harmful substances and unhealthy lifestyles. As a result, I am free to choose how I will cope and manage the pains of life. These significant consequences have allowed me to maintain the companionship of the Holy Ghost who has given me added strength, direction, comfort, and protection through my life’s challenges. They have also enabled me to have adventures with my family.
Elder James E. Faust taught: “We all have an inner braking system that will stop us before we follow Satan too far down the wrong road. It is the still, small voice which is within us. But once we have succumbed, the braking system begins to leak brake fluid and our stopping mechanism becomes weak and ineffective” (“The Great Imitator,” Ensign, Nov. 1987).
In April of 2018, President Nelson reinforced this principle by stating: “In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost” (“Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” Ensign, May 2018, 96).
I have felt and can testify that their words and counsel are true. Maintaining the presence of the Holy Ghost has given me added strength to resist choices that would have resulted in self-inflicted heartaches. Living according to the standards God has given has made it possible for His blessings and grace to be accessible to me.
Spiritually Fed by Jesus
God has promised “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise” (Doctrine and Covenants 82:10). I have learned that just like feeding my physical body, I also make constant decisions of what I am feeding my spirit.
Christ said, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). As I have sought constant nourishment from the Saviour, I have felt myself sustained, carried, and comforted. I am so grateful that during the hardest moments of my life, I did not yield to the temptations of Satan to numb my feelings. Christ is the eternal source where I can turn. He only will enable me to become whole.
Rejoicing in Christ’s Words
Elder Takashi Wada, of the Seventy, encourages us to celebrate the gospel of Jesus with family, loved ones, and friends: “True feasting is more than enjoying a delicious meal. It is an experience of joy, nourishment, celebration, sharing, expressing love to families and loved ones, communicating our thanksgiving to God, and building relationships while enjoying the abundant, incredibly delicious food. I believe when we feast upon the words of Christ, we ought to be thinking of the same kind of experience...Feasting upon the words of Christ will bring life-sustaining revelation, reaffirm our true identity and worth before God as His child, and lead our friends into Christ and everlasting life” (“Feasting upon the Words of Christ,” Ensign, May 2019, 38-39, 40).