Recently I’ve been busy writing curriculum for a faith and fitness women’s program. In April I will lead my first beta group through it, start to finish! We’ll do a group workout and then a topical study every Friday night at our local YMCA!
Writing this curriculum has brought up some interesting questions for me regarding physical health and how it relates to spiritual health. Just how connected are they?
I started an online group called Faith & Fitness Inspired (#FFinspired) so that I can connect with other Christian health/fitness fanatics and hash out our ideas. We’re a small but growing group with just a Facebook Page and Twitter account for now.
This brings me to the Faith & Fitness Blog Symposium.
Every month we’re coming up with a topic that relates to faith and fitness, to physical and spiritual health, and blogging about it to share our thoughts/ideas on the topic.
This month’s topic was:
- Putt-Putt Runner: G.I.G.O – FFInspired
- Run By Faith and Margaritas: Does God Care What Food I Eat?
- Running With Perseverance: Does God Care What I Eat?
Here is my take on the subject.
Does God care what I put in my body?
My main focus is on what we we eat and drink. My short answer is YES, and here is why:
1) God gave us food to eat.
In Genesis, God tells Adam He has given him all these beautiful plants and fruits for food (1:29). Clearly God cared what Adam ate and God made sure there was good stuff around. In the New Testament, Paul says of food that “…everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving.” – 1 Timothy 4:4 (NIV)
God cared enough to give us a HUGE variety of nourishing food.
“You cause grass to grow for the livestock and plants for people to use. You allow them to produce food from the earth– wine to make them glad, olive oil to soothe their skin, and bread to give them strength.” Psalm 104:14-15 (NLT)
Let’s get more specific, though. What about GM food or deep fried Snickers bars?
Does God care we if we “bad” foods?
2) It’s not about right or wrong.
When we ask if “God cares” about something it feels like we’re asking if something is right or wrong. We often think of “good vs bad” as if it means the same as “right vs wrong.” If you’ve eaten something bad, you’ve done something wrong. We shouldn’t look at food this way.
Food itself is not right or wrong.
“It’s true that we can’t win God’s approval by what we eat. We don’t lose anything if we don’t eat it, and we don’t gain anything if we do.” – 1 Corinthians 8:8 (NLT). This is specifically talking about food sacrificed to idols. Early Christians thought eating food sacrificed to an idol was a sin. This explains that food itself doesn’t carry that kind of weight in our spiritual life. It wasn’t the actual food that was a problem, but the fact that the food was associated with idol worship, and if someone saw them eating it they would assume they were worshipping that idol.
If food isn’t right or wrong, is God indifferent?
3) It’s about eating healthy to be healthy.
“All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.” – 1 Corinthians 10:23 (NASB)
So eating a deep fried snickers bar isn’t wrong. It isn’t a sin. However, when you eat crap it makes you feel like crap and…you’re pretty much only able to accomplish about the same. Yeah. God knows. In fact, it’s the same with our spiritual life. The bible often uses food/drink analogies (See John 6:35) when explaining spiritual things because nourishing our body works very similarly to nourishing our soul. If we put good in, good comes out, etc.
God isn’t indifferent because:
He wants us to put good things into our life so that good things come out of our life.
“A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.” – Matthew 12:35 (NLT)
He knows our physical reality is connected to our spiritual purpose.
“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?” – 1 Corinthians 6:19 (NLT)
He wants us to be healthy and what we put in our body is part of that.
“No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.” – 1 Timothy 5:23 (NLT)
Scripture reminds us that God wants us to do things that will positively benefit our health and the health of others. The food we eat and even the thoughts we think (Philippians 4:8) will positively or negatively impact our attitude, energy, and overall health.
So, what about the deep fried snickers bar?
4) It’s knowing when food is just food.
When we make unhealthy choices, God recognizes it for what it is. If we are a generally healthy person enjoying a treat, then that’s all it is…a treat! However, if we are constantly putting things in our body that have a destructive impact on our lives, that is another matter.
God knows there is such a thing as “Too much of a good thing.” He does not want us to make ourselves ill. Remember, our body is a temple.
- “Do you like honey? Don’t eat too much, or it will make you sick!” – Proverbs 25:16
There is a difference between getting that deep fried snickers bar once a year at the fair, and eating one every time you get sad or feel unhappy.
So, does God care if we eat our feelings?
5) It’s knowing when it’s about more than just the food.
God wants us to understand the implications of our actions. While food isn’t inherently right or wrong, there may be circumstances in which eating or drinking something would be the wrong thing to do. If your friend is a recovering alcoholic, don’t invite him over for beers!
- “It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble.” – Romans 14:21 (NLT)
Eating or especially drinking can lead to negative situations that God wants us to avoid.
- “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit,” – Ephesians 5:18 (NLT)
- “Do not carouse with drunkards or feast with gluttons, for they are on their way to poverty, and too much sleep clothes them in rags.” – Proverbs 23:20-21(NLT)
God wants us to depend on Him and nothing else. Turning to food for comfort or eating your emotions may help for a moment, but it wont solve your problem. Only God can give you rest from your trouble.
- “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.” – Psalm 62:5-6 (NIV)
What we put in our body may not be a matter of heaven or hell, but may be a matter of life and death. I believe God cares about the quality of our life (John 10:10), that He designed us to get nutrition and even pleasure from our food. He is not indifferent about what we eat (Matthew 6:26) and He knows how deeply connected our food is with our life, culturally and emotionally. I believe God wants us to make healthful choices for our own benefit and that doing so is a small but practical way to honor God and pursue His best for our lives.