I can turn it on
Be a good machine
I can hold the weight of worlds
If that’s what you need
Be your everything

But I’m only human …

Christina Perri

We aren’t machines; we can’t hold the weight of the world. We’re human, we feel and cry and care — it’s good!

The old Gnostic heresy that bodies are evil was wrong. Bodies are good. Bodies are a gift.

Psalm 139, “We are marvelously made by God.”

Human? Good; human emotion, good; human reason, good; eating, very good.

Mark Twain once quipped something like, “Success is eating what you like and letting the food fight it out inside you.”

I particularly like the fight inside between vanilla bean ice cream and Hersey dark chocolate sauce. The chocolate jumps on the vanilla.

I love food. I love to think about food. I love to thing about God and food. He made it.

Where do we find food in the Bible? Where don’t we?

Food came with the creation of plants, and Genesis records that God “saw that it was good.” Food is proof that God loves us!

God fed his people in the wilderness. In the OT, God gave the Jews, dietary laws, for discipline, in some cases perhaps for health, certainly to teach them to set themselves apart as a special, holy people. Food was given great value, when commanded as sacrifices and offerings.p

In the NT, Jesus turned water to wine. He fed his followers fish and bread when they were hungry. He declared the bread and wine to be sacraments. He defined himself as the bread of life.

Later Peter’s vision for a diverse church declared all foods clean.

The consistent narrative of the Bible is that food is love. Food is good. Food is a gift.

Food isn’t evil. Food is fun.

Of course of us at times have struggled with food. Some of us have developed unhealthy relationships with food and it is to us an area of weakness and even shame.

We’ve eaten too much, or too little, or unhealthily, and felt shame and guilt about eating. We’ve had other people force food on us, or perhaps criticize us for eating.

For some of us food has at times become an addiction, or a weapon to punish ourselves with, or a substitute for relationships, or even a form of protection.

Food issues are very deep and complicated. Eating disorders are very serious and people need help to recover from them. Professional help is needed.

I am certainly not perfect in this area of food choices.

Last Monday for snacks I had the following: Pinkberry yogurt, two bowls of cold cereal, three popsicles, some blueberries, two premium fudge bars and some double dipped chocolate peanuts. They are recorded on MyFitnessPal app on my phone

It’s a confession. Forgive me Father for I have sinned …

I have over indulged in the edible creation, the confectionary creation, the delectable, mouthable, tooth-worthy creation!

We can all identify. We all have our healthy and unhealthy choices.

We all have our healthy and unhealthy choices; we all have our bacon and our kale. I usually eat mostly fish, chicken, veggies and fruit. But I have my moments of food food too. I let the cheese and sausage fight it out.

But remember, food was given to us by God, in love, and eating it was meant to be act of freedom.

1 Corinthians 10:25, “Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”

Frappuccinos are the Lords, and everything in them.

All of us eat at times unhealthy food or in unhealthy ways to relieve stress, to sooth our emotions, as a response to being traumatized.

But the salient, significant, interesting question arises:

What is a proper relationship with food? How does this effect spirituality?

We find a good model in Daniel.

Daniel was among the Israelites taken captive from Jerusalem when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon besieged it.

In the book of Daniel, chapter one, verse 11 we find his story:

“Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.

15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. 16 So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.”

Daniel and the other men didn’t starve themselves. They didn’t stop eating. They simply made better, healthier choices. There is something important here to comment on.

They stopped eating somethings and choose better things. They had four things: a strong internal motivation, a higher calling, a purpose and a strategy.

They didn’t wait until they had health issues to discipline themselves. It is hard to learn healthy eating from a heart attack

And note that the text doesn’t say they never, ever ate meat again. We don’t know their food habits through the rest of life. But we do see from observation of people that monk, the flagellant, the extreme dieter, often just can’t keep it up.

Too many rules in any area of our Christianity, too much strickness, extreme asceticism, extreme self-denial … it tends to backfire!

Wisdom does not lie in food absolutes (I can never eat pizza again) but in a calling to a high purpose, in strategy, in self control, in moderation.

Daniel and his men ate out of of positive, not a negative motive, out of love for themselves, for their potential. The motivation wasn’t shame. It wasn’t guilt. It wasn’t from someone else telling them what to do.

It doesn’t work well to correct and criticize others about food choices. “Do you really want to eat that?” The answer is “Yes!” They do

Success comes when we eat with a purpose; to make ourselves the best we can be — useful to God and the king.

This matters. If you take inspiration from these ideas it could save your life! Jesus saves, but he may not save you from a heart attack if you consume too much fat and lethargy.

The desire to make good food choices is best to come from within, not comparisons, but from God, because we are excited about a higher purpose, being the best in the court, being men and women of wisdom and knowledge.

God honored Daniel’s discipline. Daniel 1:17 reports, “To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning.

When the king examined them, he found them ten times wiser than his own magicians and “… they entered the kings service.”

We can do the same. We can make healthy choices. We can eat to present ourselves to the one true king, as ones healthy and ready to be of use to him. We can enter our bodies into the kings service.

I’ve sometimes felt I couldn’t control. But I was wrong. I do have the power. I am not helpless.

We can eat to keep ourselves alive, to makes us happy, out of thankfulness of the gift from God, and to fuel our ability to love, to worship and to serve.

1 Corinthians 6:12 Some of you say, “We can do anything we want to. But I tell you that not everything is good for us. So I refuse to let anything have power over me.”

God loves you? Food is not evil. Your desire for food is not evil..

It’s okay to feel okay about you.

It takes time, but the goal is to get to a positive place with yourself and to be okay with your food choices — and to have them be mostly healthy.

This is a very positive place, “God, I am eating well, out of love for myself and so that I might be as much use to you as possible.”

Eat, drink and be useful! For this is the will of God in Christ concerning you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s