How To Feed My Soul To Create In Me A Clean Heart

Our souls need feeding just as our bodies do, and what we feed them matters. How do you feed your soul to create a clean heart?

For several years, I have chosen a “word” to guide my daily choices at the beginning of each new year. I prayerfully seek God’s guidance when choosing my word. My husband and I listened to a podcast about clean eating in December that convinced us to change our diets to “clean.”

As I prayed for my word in 2024, that simple word “clean” resonated with me. I chose it, then quickly realized God gave me that word for purposes far greater than dietary.

What Defiles Us

Listen and understand: It’s not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth – this defiles a person.” Matthew 15:10b-11

In Matthew 15, Jesus makes a statement about what defiles a person. His words offended the Pharisees because they were fixated with keeping themselves “clean.” When his disciples questioned the meaning of this statement, Jesus explained it further by saying “whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled. But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimonies, slander. These are the things that defile a person.”

We live in a world obsessed with the temporal. Jesus never was. It’s easy for the things of this world to overshadow the things of eternity. Food intake can be an idol, whether it’s gluttony or an unhealthy obsession with following a strict diet. We shouldn’t be enslaved to anything except to Jesus Christ, including food. We should be disciplined and wise about what we feed our bodies, but we should be even more careful about how we feed our souls. Our bodies are temporary, our souls are not.

Food Diary or Soul Diary?

Several years ago, with one of my New Year’s resolutions, I decided to create a food diary. I’d heard it would be helpful to accurately understand everything I consumed. It did help me be more disciplined- mostly because I knew everything going in my mouth would be on paper. After only a few days, I was shocked to see the person who claimed to not eat many sweets (me) with a whole lot of bite-size treats in my daily routine. I foolishly thought these small bites weren’t affecting me. Actually, they were the stumbling block to my weight-loss goals.

I’d forgotten about that diary until I chose the word “clean” this year. I began the first morning of January 2024 with my notebook, prepared to start another food diary, but that wasn’t what happened. My morning devotional referenced Psalm 51:10 where David plead to the Lord “Create in me a clean heart O God. And renew a right spirit within me.” My word, “clean” was in the first devotion I read this year -but not in reference to food.

I quickly realized I didn’t need a food diary. I needed a soul diary. Instead of writing about my food consumption, I began writing daily about the things I consume that have negative impacts on my “heart.” Instead of focusing on cutting calories (which has naturally happened with a clean diet) I decided to increase the “good” things I was consuming for my soul and reduce the things that were unhealthy, unbeneficial and unnecessary.

Guarding Our Hearts

This reduction included obvious things like watching TV shows that weren’t necessarily “bad” but didn’t honor God and wasted a lot of time. It also included my use of social media. There are some wonderful things about social networking. But I noticed on the days I was easily agitated or anxious there was pattern of either too much time spent on it or viewing content that provoked negative emotions. I realized nothing good came from visiting profiles that opened old wounds or caused new offenses to fester. Once again, I was shocked to see how just a “little bit” of unhealthy scrolling drastically affected me.

Proverbs 4:23 states “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” That’s an imperative in Scripture meant for us to obey. It takes diligence and intentionality to do this, especially in a world where we often don’t know what will come through our newsfeeds. There are things we can’t control, but there are things we can control. I decided to guard my heart from my own sin by being prudent about what I chose to view.

The first half of this year is almost over, and I’m amazed by the overall improvement of my health. I can’t say I’ve eaten “clean” every day, but I have most days. Physically, I feel stronger with more energy and less fatigue. But of far greater value is the benefit to my spiritual health and walk with the Lord because of the choices I’ve made as a result of asking God to create in me a clean “heart.” This isn’t the first time I’ve surrendered my life to walk in holiness with the Lord, but I’ve realized that I needed this fresh reset and commitment to be disciplined and cautious about my soul intake.

Good Instead of Junk

I’m re-reading the entire Bible this year and several other books. This is replacing time spent scrolling social media or watching mindless television. Now, I’m free from the conviction of allowing my eyes to see or ears to hear things that are not edifying. I’m regularly praying for the people who’ve caused me hurt, instead of scrutinizing their words on social media. I’m choosing to purposefully fix my thoughts on things God says are good. And I’m looking and finding God in everything and everywhere without distractions. I feel…. …well, I feel “clean.”

Clean diets and clean hearts take work. The doctor in the podcast I referenced earlier made a profound statement about food intake. He said “it’s not what you do (or don’t do) one day that will kill you, it’s what you choose do every day.” That’s true about our physical heath, and also true about our spiritual health.

Making it a daily habit to eat clean foods and refuse “junk” food is great for our bodies. But making a daily choice to be spiritually “clean” is even more essential. Jesus spoke often against the Pharisees’ ignorant obsession with caring for their bodies but neglecting their hearts. I’d encourage you, my sweet sisters, to listen to Jesus. Let’s fix our minds of what He says is important, and place the temporary things of this world in proper perspective – below the things of eternity.

In His Word

In Psalm 130:23,  David pleads with God. “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” This is wonderful place to begin your intentional spiritual cleansing. Ask God to search your heart and help you see any areas in your life that may not be honoring to Him.

Psalm 51:10 reminds us that is God who creates clean hearts. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” It is His kindness that leads us to repentance. Our responsibility is to listen and obey when the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin. Each time we intentionally choose obedience to His ways and to forsake our ways, we become refined and purified by our loving Father.

In Your Life

Have you ever considered a clean diet or “food” diary for your soul? I’d love to invite you to join me on this journey – beckoning God to create in us clean hearts.

It may beneficial to use a diary, and write down what you allow your eyes to see and your ears to hear. Compare the amount of time you spend on social media, movies, videos, etc. with the amount of time you spend in God’s Word and in prayer. Intentionally choose to cut out the things you wouldn’t do if Jesus were sitting with you, and to increase your time with the Lord. Record how these choices affect your overall health.

We Recommend

Several years ago I read Holiness the Heart God Purifies by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. This book inspired me to choose holiness in every area of my life. It’s easy to slide into the ways of this world if we aren’t intentionally seeking to honor God with every aspect of our lives. There is true, everlasting joy in living as God instructs us to live.

Glenna Marshall’s book Everyday Faithfulness gave me hope to persevere in choosing faithfulness through every trial and temptation this life has brought (and will bring) my way. Every small step of obedience we choose strengthens our faith and brings glory to God. It’s a beautiful testimony of Glenna’s life and a true source of encouragement for all believers.

Let’s Connect

Brenda is the Director of Women’s Ministry at her church in Casper, Wyoming. She has a passion for helping women navigate the seasons of life that are both bitter and sweet by knowing the truth found in God’s Word and clinging to Jesus Christ. If you’d like to read more from Brenda, you can find her at Women of the Way, on Instagram, or on Facebook.