While most people start the New Year off with a diet, we’ve spent January focusing on seeking the Lord, which definitely should be our number one priority (Matthew 6:33). But, let us not forget that God also has a purpose and plan for a healthy body. We’ve all heard the phrase “you are what you eat.” Some people might ignore this statement, but from my own experience I know it’s true. I remember all too well when I desperately tried to get the energy I needed from convenience foods. I drank sodas galore and consumed candy bars and potato chips all day. These food choices were good for a quick fix as I bustled about being a young wife and the mother of two preschool daughters. But within a short time I was slumped in a chair, a deep fog in my brain, wondering, What’s wrong with me? Why don’t I have any energy?
I found part of my answer at the doctor’s office where I learned that I was suffering from the “sugar blues.” I was a junk food addict and my body just could not process all of the sugar I was ingesting. But, another element that I discovered in my quest for energy is that what I put in my mouth is not just a physical issue— it is also a spiritual issue.
Does this statement surprise you? Then, it might also surprise you that God has a lot to say about food. In His Word He’s very specific. In Old Testament times God restricted what His people could eat. (You can read about these restrictions in the book of Leviticus.) Why did the God of the universe take the time to give His people a detailed set of rules for eating?
First, there were medical reasons. People in those days had no concept of how diseases started or were transferred, so they ate anything and everything, sometimes without even cooking it. By following God’s rules, the Israelites were healthier and more productive.
Second, by following God’s rules for eating, the children of Israel were set apart from those who didn’t know or follow God. They were “different.” Their food restrictions kept them from mingling with and being caught up in the cultures around them that worshiped false gods.
Are you wondering, Do you mean I can honor and glorify God even when it comes to what I eat? The answer is yes. 1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us, “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Yes, it’s possible for us to eat in a way that honors and exalts the Lord. Here are a few verses to start you off on a path to healthier eating:
Bite by Bite, give God control of your food intake and appetite. “The fruit of the Spirit is… self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Eat only what improves you life. “‘Everything is permissible for me’ – but not everything is beneficial – I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12).
Look to Christ for help to avoid overeating or under-eating. “Clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (Romans 13:14).
We can give glory to God in an everyday way when we choose to follow His rules for better eating, which leads to better living… God’s way!
Question: Can you share with others any verses or thoughts that have helped you view your eating habits as a spiritual, rather than purely physical concern?
This encouragement is especially important for the teen girls in your life. For this and biblical guidance for other teen life-questions read my book, A Young Woman’s Guide to Making Right Choices.