It was pretty quiet Monday in response to my post…and yesterday was a “ghost town” here on the blog except for one commenter (thanks, Sandra!). Maybe faithful readers feel I have discredited myself.
I guess all I really know is what I have experienced. For most of my adult years, I focused on the nutrition content of my food and felt “good” or “bad” about myself based on my eating choices. There was a nasty pendulum swing that occurred when I was on that path. Truthfully, all those years I struggled with my weight and hyper-focus on my body even while obsessing about nutrition content in my foods. In fact, most of those years I was significantly overweight and not healthy at all.
My freedom from extra weight has gone hand-in-glove with letting go of my tendencies to weigh and measure my food (weigh and measure ME), to obsess about nutrition labels, to graph and chart calories in and calories expended with exercise.
Another possible indication that fixating on the content of the food may not be the answer is that for the past 20 years and more, we have, as a country, added more “diet foods” (reduced calorie, reduced fat, reduced sugar, etc.) and more “vitamin enriched” foods to our assortment of choices. Nevertheless, our country battles obesity and obesity-related health issues like never before! This problem is actually *increasing* even as our variety of diets, diet centers, and diet foods has increased! Certainly, if adjusting the content of our foods was the answer, this wouldn’t be the case.
Foods are often referred to as “treats,” “junk,” “healthy,” and so on. (Funny how the “treats” seem to overlap the “junk” lists for those who have these lists!) It IS tempting to develop lists that help me feel good about myself when I eat or don’t eat accordingly. But, is this wisdom?
The context of this passage isn’t “junk food” or “healthy food,” but the principles are very similar to the ones that exist when we make our good/bad food lists! Maybe we should pause and think–or, even, pray! Is the Lord really the author of our good/bad food lists? Do my lists really deal with my heart?
In Acts 10, the Lord speaks to Peter about his own “good food/bad food” lists and commands Peter not to call unclean anything the Lord has made clean. Again, maybe there is a principle there.
Because I am a child of God, given a trust — this physical body — I want to be responsible in the way I eat. I am commanded in 1 Corinthians 10:31 to do all I do to the glory of God including my eating and drinking. But eating according to artificially created lists isn’t the answer!
What if we allowed ourselves the same freedom that God invites us to enjoy? What if we were to enjoy all things in moderation and take Him at His Word, balancing our freedom with an eye toward understanding what 1 Corinthians 6:12 says:
The Lord may lead me to eat this ice cream or that salad or this enchilada or that shish-kabob. He may also lead me to fast my hunger for reasons I may sense or not. Maybe, I am called not to live according to lists–no matter how godly they may seem, but according to His Spirit in the moment.
When I look in Scripture, there are so many accounts where food has a role. I believe that He cares about this issue a great deal. In the earliest chapters of Genesis, Adam and Eve are in the Garden of Eden lured to eat outside of God’s boundaries. Esau gives up his birthright for the sake of some stew. In the New Testament even communion uses the symbols of bread and wine.
In the closing pages of God’s Word in the book of Revelation, are we promised a marriage dance of the Lamb? A marriage ceremony? No…a marriage SUPPER of the Lamb! God has seen fit that food and eating is important. I don’t believe He placed a broad spectrum of flavors and textures on this earth to torment us, but to bless us within godly parameters. Those parameters are simply…moderation. Eating when I am hungry, stopping when I am no longer hungry, doing so prayerfully, with gratitude and praise…who needs good food/bad food lists, points, or specially packaged foods? 🙂
I am encouraged in Proverbs 3:5,6 to trust in the LORD with all my heart and not depend on my own understanding. In ALL my ways (even in my eating?) I am to acknowledge Him and He will make my paths straight. I need to prayerfully consider what He wants from me in this and not lean on what seems to make sense based on what modern science says.
This sounds like a living, breathing, constant walk with the Holy Spirit. This sounds like being prayerful. Maybe this is an extension of a Spirit-filled, Spirit-dependent life.