Friday, July 22, 2011

examining our hearts in eating {food on friday}

Image: Piyachok Thawornmat /
Healthy eating is important to most of us. We often desire to change our eating habits for the better. But why?

Before we can change the way we eat, I think we have to examine our hearts.  

Eating is necessary for life, and I believe God gave us food for our enjoyment, and for His glory. Did you realize that eating is referenced 700 times in the Bible? Food is the stage around which many Biblical stories in both the Old Testament and the New are set. And eating is specifically addressed in I Corinthians 10:31, where it says, "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." 

So eating is important for our bodies - not only physically, but spiritually, and it's for God's glory.

Food is necessary for our existence, but we are so busy that we don't stop to really think about what we are putting in our body. Is it healthy? Is it good for my body? Or is it harmful to me? Will this particular food be helpful to supplying my energy needs? Will it make me feel sluggish and bloated and keep me from doing what I'm supposed to do?

Then to the spiritual side- am I thanking God for the food he has so abundantly provided? Or, am I turning to food to replace God as my comfort? How do I think of food? Do I obsess about what I'm going to eat so that I won't gain a pound- has food itself become my god?

So we can see there is definitely more to food than just eating for survival. 

We need to examine what relationships we have with food before we can change our eating habits. What is our motive for healthy eating? Do we seek approval from others for our looks? Do we deprive ourselves of the enjoyment of food so that we can gain recognition or acceptance for our size?  Or, on the other hand, do we enjoy food too much, and rather than having self-control, we allow food to reign over our bodies, making what we are going to eat the focal point of everyday life? 

Our bodies are temples of the Lord, and He created us for His purpose.

In 1 Cor. 6:19-20 it says, "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."

Sadly, sometimes we make the very feeding of the temple itself an idol. We seek to maintain and feed our bodies, but when we take it to one extreme or the other, we've gone too far, seeking our own glory and not His.

God wants our focus to be on Him, not on our own appearance or desires. For women, this is a huge struggle as we seek to do His will but find our focus on weight loss or weight gain instead of what He wants for us. It's a battle that's not black and white; the war is internal, and it's not one we like to talk about.

I face the battle myself- I find myself far too worried about an extra inch or two, and what I'm going to eat or not going to eat. I want to be real with you guys- I'm as guilty as anyone else. God has been gracious to start showing me my faults in this area and is changing my heart, and I'm so grateful for it! Oh, it is amazing to serve the Lord. He is so, so kind and patient with us, even though we don't deserve it.

It's a delicate balance- one of desiring to honor the body that God has given us, and being thankful and enjoying the food He has given us. It's easier said than done, of course. But God gives us so much grace. Being thin isn't a sin. Being overweight isn't a sin. It's the focus of our hearts- are we letting food control us either way? Pray through this. And don't be afraid to let God take over the stronghold eating and your appearance has in your heart.

On the practical side, are there little daily decisions we could make that would make us healthier for His glory? Sure, I think so- like replacing fake foods with the foods He has provided naturally gives us healthier bodies. Instead of eating processed and preservative-injected chicken nuggets, you can choose to eat a fresh grilled chicken breast. It's just about being thankful and enjoying the naturally-occurring food God has provided for us here on the earth.

Image: Ambro /
So do we have to make every food decision perfectly? Should we go all-natural everything? No, it's about moderation and healthy decisions, focusing on what God has for your family.  It's not a legalistic system where you have to drink hormone-free milk or you're not living for Jesus. Absolutely not. It's about seeking God's will, and God's glory as we enjoy the wonderful blessing of food, not focusing on ourselves and our pleasure, but what He wants for us. 

And do we have to be perfectly fit or in shape? No way. It's about taking care of our bodies so that we can do what He wants. Are people who don't exercise sinners? No. Are people that enjoy exercising often sinners? No. It's all about the heart and motive of the person doing it. And there's grace to be found there- each person is different and unique, and no woman will be exactly the same as another. 

Pray over what God would have you to do in this area. He gives us so much help if we ask for it, and turn our burdens over to Him. It's truly amazing that He cares, even about what we eat and our inner struggles with appearance. Isn't that cool?!  :)

What parts of eating do you struggle with? Do you feel the inner battle raging too?

Linking up at Encouraging Words!
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