HONOR GOD WITH YOUR BODY
The next time you sit down to a thick, juicy steak dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy , white rolls and butter, and homemade apple pie, ask yourself this question: Am I honoring God with my body? When you run to the store late at night for your favorite flavor of Haagen Dazs, ask yourself this question: Am I bringing glory to God with my body? When you get to the bottom of a new bag of Ruffles while watching the tube, ask yourself this question: Am I worshipping God with my body?
What does it mean to honor God with our bodies?
"Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." (1 Cor. 6:19,20 NKJ)
Most Christians know and believe that fornication and adultery are out with God. We usually agree that illegal drug use is a sin. Drunkenness and pornography are routinely condemned by the church. Why? Because these things go against Scripture and are harmful to human beings.
Is it possible to sin, or fail to please God in our eating?
A while back, I heard a Christian make this comment: "We don't smoke, drink, or fornicate, so all we have is eating." Since then, I have often heard the same sentiment, usually from overweight believers. Some people even laugh about the way they themselves or other believers eat, thinking it's funny. We, as Christians, proudly put off the heinous sins of the world and think of ourselves as righteous, while in private (and some feel no shame doing it openly) we'll eat an entire box of doughnuts, or whatever, and pack on the pounds. We sit down to meal after meal after meal, snack after snack after snack, eating in ignorance, or to the contrary, in absolute rebellion.
The church at large is pretty quiet on the subject of gluttony, which is why Christians are able to "get away with" overeating and eating unhealthy foods. If gluttony were preached against as often as adultery, there would be a lot more pressure on folks to get some control over that area of their lives. But in the churches I've attended, eating has been a part of nearly every function, whether it's mealtime or not, and the teachers have fed the children cookies, candy and crackers loaded with fat, sugar, flour stripped of its nutrition, and artificial colors and flavors morning, noon, and night.
Sometimes I think there is more obesity and poor health in the Body of Christ than in the general population! It's no wonder our pastors aren't addressing the issue of eating, because they're probably afraid three-quarters of their congregation would get mad and leave. After all, most people can't keep their poor eating habits a secret--the evidence is apparent for all to see. That could be embarrassing. Not only that, but many, many pastors are overweight themselves.
Consider theses tidbits:
- The average American carries 8 pounds of material on the walls of his colon due to the foods he eats.
- Fatty deposits that lead to atherosclerosis are being found today in 3 year olds.
- Many, if not most, sicknesses and diseases, including mental and emotional problems are, directly or indirectly, caused or exacerbated by poor diet.
- Healthy or so-called "diet" foods often contain ingredients more harmful to health than the foods they are meant to replace.
"For you once were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. (Eph. 5:8,9 NIV)
It's up to us as individuals to find out what the best, most healthful way to eat is and then do it. Don't wait until your pastor tells you to change. He might not ever do it. But God has made it plain in His Word.
I've had people tell me that God doesn't care what we eat, so long as we are moderate, so long as we don't get too fat. What is too fat anyway? Ten pounds, 20 pounds, 100 pounds overweight? What is moderation? How can you set the limit, when it takes sometimes years for certain foods to have their full impact on health? Most disease takes long enough to develop that the connection to diet is lost or overlooked.
Why does God care about what and how much we eat? Because He's mean and He doesn't want us to enjoy anything? No, because He has a plan for your life, and you need to be fit and full of energy to perform it. And you need to be alive. You can't serve the Lord on the earth from an early grave. You won't do all you could for Christ from your sickbed or sleeping off the sugar blues. You won't serve the Lord to full capacity if you're too ashamed of yourself to minister to others. Our health is vitally important to God. Christians, more than any other people, need to eat to live, not live to eat.
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship." (Rom. 12:1 NIV)
Eating right, like doing anything else right, involves sacrifice. But, as we know, sacrifice is a necessary part of the Christian life. Remember the supreme sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, who "for the joy set before Him endured the cross." If we will but follow the example of our Savior, and focus on the joy--the joy of a long, healthy life, the joy of the security we can offer our loved ones, the joy of helping others and touching many, many people's lives, and the joy Paul described in 2 Timothy 4:7: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." --then we will find the changes much easier to make and stick with.
Now don't come under condemnation and make a mountain of new rules for yourself that you can't live up to. Some of us know very little about health and good nutrition or have attitudes surrounding eating that need uprooting. Many of us have flesh that has been out of control for a very long time, and it's going to take time and diligence to reign it in. Change is often synonymous with process. First, make a commitment to learn and to grow. Then ask God to show you what you need to do, or stop doing, and to give you the willingness and strength to perform it.
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." (1 Cor. 10:31 NIV)