During the years I was in college and the one year before I was married, I ate a lot of junk food. I grew to love junk food. So when I eventually married, and my wife began to prepare healthy, well-balanced meals for me, I’ll admit that I really didn’t have a taste for it at first!
But over time, after abstaining from junk and dieting on healthy cuisine, I soon developed a taste for that which was actually good.
Similarly, Christians can change their tastes to match what is actually worthy of their delight. There are three truths about the Christian life that if you come to understand will really help you in this realm of beauty:
We like what we know. Some people think, “Well, I happen to like that, and there’s nothing I can do about it.” That is simply not true. We develop a taste for things we regularly feed ourselves. We like what we’re accustomed to.
We can change what we like by changing what we know. Unbelievers are constrained to do what they like, but not believers. Christians have freedom in Christ to give things up even if they really like them. And Christians have freedom to bring things into their lives that they might not really like at first.
As Christians, we have an obligation to like what is worthy of liking. We have the responsibility to judge all things and evaluate whether something is worthy of our delight based upon absolute standards about the nature and character of God. If we determine something to be unworthy, we have an obligation to call it what it is and rid ourselves of it. And if we determine something to be truly worthy, then our delight in that thing magnifies our delight in him who is ultimately beautiful.
Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is on faculty at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He has written several books, dozens of articles, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and two children.