The Lord seems to me to be calling His people to reevaluate many aspects of their lives in light of the Scriptures in these days.
We are being called to line up our marriages, how we raise and educate our children, how we worship, how we dress ourselves, how we spend our money, and a plethora of other issues with what He has directed us to as being the best and wisest ways as shown through His Word.
One of these areas I’m seeing addressed with increasing interest is that of food.
God has a lot to say about food in the Bible and in His goodness chose to make food beautiful and flavorful so that through the necessary act of nourishing our bodies we could be thankful, rejoicing in what He has provided for us. And so I’m delighted to see the topic of what choices Christians should make when sitting down to their meals being discussed in literature, sermons, and on the internet.
While I have been interested in healthful eating habits and learning which foods are most natural and closest to the way God intended them to be consumed, I’ve had to filter much of the information from other worldviews through my own as authors engaged in discussions of evolution and primitive diets, etc… Some just leave their faith or worldview out of the discussion altogether in an attempt to educate a more diverse audience, but I’ve always been interested in hearing the topic from a distinctly Biblical perspective.
Recently, I have had just such an opportunity when I was blessed with a copy of Health for Godly Generations by Renee DeGroot and as I read through the book I was challenged and convicted to persevere with many of the changes we’ve made to our diets over the years and to contemplate more carefully what choices are made for feeding my family in the future.
While Health For Godly Generations is full of information to help you embark on your journey to more healthful eating habits, the issue of primary importance woven throughout is the foundation for reformational thinking that is lain and the case that is built for including our eating habits among the ways that we glorify God. The worldview used throughout the pages is strictly Biblical and attempts to bring every issue we have when making food choices into subjection to the Bible.
Allow me to share with you a few choice quotes from Health For Godly Generations to whet your appetite for more~
People in every culture constantly search for and raise food, making use of the natural things He created and following their created role of subduing the earth. God provides the food we need for difference seasons: foods that ripen in the summer are energizing; foods that can be preserved for the winter are warming. God has created a wonderful variety of foods, and God has given man the resourcefulness to use this variety. Mankind was created for God’s glory, and creation was established for God’s glory. God “satisfieth the desire of every living thing… and preserveth all them that love Him” (Psalm 145:16,20). Christians should deliberately use what God created toward the praise of His glory.
Searching out how God’s world works and how we can cultivate it to please God is a mercy and a blessing. As the Bible, especially the book of Psalms, indicates, God extends untold blessing and mercies to His people whey they fear and obey Him. As Christians come to know Scripture, God reveals more to us about His patterns in nature. When we are sanctified, we begin to understand more and more about how to live God’s way.
“If “culture is religion externalized,” as Henry Van Til proclaimed, and if diet preferences are an element of culture (which they are, since diet isn’t universal but is shaped by geography, people groups, and traditions), then all food practices, including harvest, preparation, nutrition, and consumption, are associated with the working outward of a people’s religion. Whether a tribe worships the sun and soil, the harvest itself, or the God who gave it, this obeisance is a religious activity. Whether a tribe revels excessively in food and drink or consumes it in disciplined moderation, meals are a cultural and religious activity. A distinctively Christian and reformed view of culture will likewise affect our food preparation and diet choices.
True beauty is sought as we cultivate food in the way God created, preparing it purely and wholesomely to nourish and strengthen us, and serving it lovingly at the family meal table. We can use the natural beauty and pleasure of food to build godly culture. Science and inventions not used for God’s glory, however, can lead to the making of food products that are not good and wholesome, and which do not beautify our bodies and the earth.
As Christians, we must not only care about the spiritual health of the heart, but encourage whole-body health by supporting the body with pure and balanced nutrients. There is a God-honoring way to eat just as there is a God-honoring way to behave. To behave well and eat well are elements of a full-orbed vision for godly life and culture. Indeed, nutrition equips us with the body possible to work for God, as well as defining our view of the earth- our arena for spiritual and cultural actions.
“Food must be grown and eaten in recognition of His ways being higher than our ways, and our ways in need of divine restoration. Romans 12:1-2
God owns everything He created. God is the sovereign disposer of all things. Our bodies and the earth can be treated as if they are our own, but God has the ultimate control, and He easily proves it to be so. We must treat our bodies like they are God’s whose they are. As in salvation when we gave up control of our fleshly will and ungodly spirit, every area of our lives must yield to the Lord’s will. Christians are stewards, not owners, of their bodies, and are called to serve God, not to work against Him. Each person is God’s living creation, designed to reflect His majestic glory. Our bodies are not, therefore, vessels to fill with whatsoever the grocery or pharmacy will sell us. 1 Cor. 6:19-20
Sadly there is scarcely a difference between the way that human bodies and the truths of God’s Word are treated by Christians and treated by the world. Little difference is seen in the outcome of diseases in Christians versus the world, either. For Christians who profess to have cleansed hearts, who believe that God created all things, and who claim that God’s Word is truth, this record is unfortunate. Our hearts and our bodies are called unto purity both spiritually and physically. God’s people need to live holy, separated lifestyles as part of a testimony to the world and impact upon it.
In order to use physical bodies for God’s glory, Christians need to apply wisdom. To do this, we need to seek the purpose for which God created us and the principles He gave us for serving Him. God created mankind to labor and be industrious, to bear and to teach children, and to proclaim His wonderful works among the nations. Strong, healthy bodies and sharp, disciplined minds are instrumental in accomplishing God’s plan for us. Nourishing plant and animal life was specially created and suited to sustain us in this important work. Our physical health is an important part of our ability to to obey God, though we will never be completely healthy- or completely obedient- until we receive glorified bodies from God.
I submit that whatever your conclusion is after you study health and nutrition, your conclusion needs to be the result of thought and conviction… Christians need to make objective decisions. Food industries perceive a wide market, but I see an even larger need for Christians- that of self-discipline and responsible decision-making. Healthy people do not just naturally gravitate toward healthy lifestyles. Any course of action takes decision-making, discipline, and diligence.