Thursday, 23 August 2012

God's view on food

Food has been a big part of my life in different ways. I have loved cooking more or less since I was 6 years old when I started cooking for my stuffed horse. That passion grew and was a big part of my life growing up as I tried to learn as much as I could about it while cooking "all the time". It also lead me to going to culinary art school (which was actually so basic that I lost a huge part of that interest during those years) and also working in some restaurants. It has also been a big part in the way that I hated food through the eating disorders I had for about 4½ years when I was a teenager, and after that, trying to find a balance.

As for now, I study nutrition as you might know so food is still a big part of my life. However, this summer has changed my view of it quite a bit as I have studied God's word on the subject and there are a few different aspects I'd like to speak about concerning this. This does not mean that I am against nutrition - but I don't see it as important in itself anymore. Something can be important in the view of the world, but I believe that the only thing that is really important is God and the things of this world (that is perishable) will only have a value if it is in direct connection to God. God created food to be good, and nutritious, but if God's gift, nutrition or food in this case, becomes more desirable than God himself, then we have misunderstood the whole thing and made it into an idol.

One reason why nutrition can be desirable is because it gives us a (false) hope of a long life without sickness. That however is not what life is about. We have not fulfilled God's calling and God's will for our life through that we are healthy and live a long life. This life is only a shadow of things to come (Col 2:16-17) and instead of seeing nutrition and food as a way of getting a long life, we need to look at it from God's perspective. (And actually, as believers, why do we want to live long on this earth anyways? I can't wait to come home to God and away from the troubles of this world! - Phil 1:21, not that I don't want to live here, but that I don't see value in life in itself apart from God). If you still want to get a long life then look at proverbs 10:27 - The fear of the Lord adds length to life.

God can use nutrition for his purpose - but He stands above nutrition. And that explains why "really healthy" people can still get sick and die in their sickness, and other people who has not lived a healthy life can still live a long life without getting sick. Nutrition/food is not ultimate - God is. Life is not about avoiding suffering of all costs either, God uses suffering for His purposes and His purposes are good. Not that we should seek suffering, but also not so that we should try to avoid it as hard as we can. (But that is another subject I'd like to develop another day). Eternal life is what matters. God matters. Not the things that is perishable. And in that light, we can see what is truly good about nutrition and not what we might think is good about it.

I want to share a few bibleverses:

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ... Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”?... Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. Col 2:16-17, 20-21, 23

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.. Romans 14:17

But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.
1 Cor 8:8

They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer... Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.1 Tim 4:3-5, 7-8

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  Col 3:2

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both. 1 Cor 6:12-13a (I will not be mastered by anything - that goes both ways concerning food; mastered by the obsession of eating healthy and mastered by overeating)

One thing that I have believed is that we need to eat healthy because we are the temple of God. The scripture doesn't teach us that our bodies are a temple of God in the way of that we should try to be without sickness though. If He cared about our bodies in that way, then it would also be "wrong" to get a bruise. It is not our physical bodies that needs to be perfect, God will destroy it anyways and give us a new body when we come to heaven. If it was the physical body that is important then He would not have allowed sickness or allowed Jesus to be beaten and whipped. Our bodies are of no value, it is perishable. We will not bring it into heaven. The way it is a temple of God means that we now have access to a close and personal relationship to God through the new covenant. We don't have to go to a building to meet God, but God lives in us. When the bible speaks about us being the temple, it speaks about sexual immorality (1 Cor 6:12-20) and idols (2 Cor 6:16). It doesn't say that we need to watch what we eat because we are the temple of God. 2 Cor 5:1 speaks about our physical body and there it doesn't refer it to as the temple of God but as an earthly tent - that will be destroyed! 

This doesn't mean that nutrition has no value, because if it has a direct connection to God - then it is of value. It is not wrong to care about nutrition. But it is extremely important to make sure it doesn't turns in to an idol. God is supreme! And in that freedom (of seeing what is of real value - God), I can care about nutrition and food and delight in that but also be willing to give it all up as it ultimately has no value compared to God.

I don't know if I will work with nutrition in the future. Honestly, the more I get to know God, the less I care about nutrition and the more I want to become a missionary and lead people to Christ. But I still know God has a purpose for making me learn all these things and hopefully I will be able to use it as a blessing from God to others.

I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 1 Cor 10:23

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