“You’re eating carbs!” This was a comical question I was recently asked by a church friend of mine. She said it regarding the fact that I am doing Trim Healthy Mama, and yet here I was enjoying a piece of a muffin offered from the church snack.
I laughed and threw back the rest of the muffin, enjoying the sweet morsels.
We enjoyed a decent conversation after that about the balance that is needed with food to help us learn to have a healthy living perspective. It is from this conversation, and a few others I have been privy to over the years, that I write this post.
Turning Away from Food Idolatry
I know that this heading may seem a little strange, because really, can food become an idol?
But I have to say that it really can be! This is a relevant topic with today’s food culture, especially among Christians.
I can understand more dogma and legalism in those who are not of Christ, but for those who claim Christ, I believe that some appropriate balance and prioritization has been missing.
There are so many varying food philosophies out there today: Paleo, Weston A. Price, Veganism, Raw Foodist, Vegetarianism, etc. This, of course, does not even account for the loads of diet fads that exist too, like the Grapefruit Diet, Atkins Diet, etc, etc, etc.
I have come across a shocking number of food legalists in these circles though, many of whom claim the name of Christ as Lord and Savior.
One time I asked a question to a Paleo-follower about The China Study and I never returned to that woman’s blog due to her lack of tact in response. Another time I have been oddly “attacked” for purchasing non-organic meats, or foods.
It is heart-breaking to see the hatred that has been perpetrated all in the name of taking care of our bodies, which are “temples of the Holy Spirit” (referencing 1 Cor. 6:19-20). I recently read an awesome blog post on this topic by Stacy at StacyMakesCents, and I thought she said it so wonderfully:
“I’ve been put off by a lot of the Christians [who say they eat a healthy diet] who seem to heap criticism on their fellow brothers and sisters for not eating the same “healthy” way. “But, but, but” you yell!!!! “God said, ‘Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.’” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
You bet your bottom He said that. But you know what? He wasn’t talking about food here – he was talking about SEXUAL IMMORALITY. I hate to tell ya, but eating a Twinkie isn’t a sexual morality issue.“
Do you practice food idolatry?
We need to stop making food a stumbling block by placing it as an idol above the love of Christ that we are commanded to show.
If you personally are a food purist, by all means have at it!
Enjoy those delicious organic apples and grass fed beef, etc, but do not put a yoke of slavery upon your brother by holding them accountable to your personal convictions.
Remember, Romans 14: 1-4, 14-20 makes this topic clear:
“Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand…
I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.
Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense.”
Friends, though we do not dispute nowadays over whether or not it is okay to eat meat sacrificed to idols, we argue over whether or not someone should eat non-organics, or GMOs, or BPA-containing canisters of beans, or meat at all, or grains, or, or, or….
We still have the same arguments going on today that Paul was condemning ages ago. Our human condition leads us to project our personal convictions onto others and judge them accordingly.
But, “Who are you [or I, or anyone else] to judge another’s servant?”
If we are really concerned about the welfare of others and what certain ingredients or foods may do to their bodies, we ought to bring it to prayer before the Lord, seeking His wisdom and judgement on the matter, and only AFTER doing all this speaking if the Lord leads us to do so.
This is how to “speak the truth in love.”
I have to say though, there is a reason most people don’t feel very loved when someone “speaks the truth,” and that’s because there is no love present in the delivery or heart of the other person.
We must be very careful to speak in the name of the Lord if we have not consulted with Him on the words we are saying pertaining to the life of another.
Each Christian is Different, and yet still Approved by God
Some of us are drawn to legalism and therefore have to learn balance in being less stringent about things that are not essential doctrine.
Others of us are very lenient and need to learn to be more intentional about providing healthy and nutritious foods.
I personally fall into the first category, which is why Trim Healthy Mama has been such an awesome book for me.
I am what the book calls a “Food Purist” at heart, but I have neither the budget, nor the sanity to really handle what I believe to be ideal AND fulfill the other roles that the Lord has called me to.
He has never called me to providing a flawless meal plan, free of all GMOs, organic in everything possible, etc. He has called me to learn to prepare and cook healthy meals, provide food for my family, steward the money my husband earns for our family wisely, and keep my home well managed.
Other than that, any yokes I put upon myself are misery of my own making, and for years I experienced that exact thing.
The irony is that I had been following the Food Purist mentality for YEARS and then our son became sick with an incredibly rare auto-immune disorder! Hello!!!!
According to my research and human wisdom, an auto-immune disorder was not computing. It did not add up. The “world” told me that if I avoided this, this, this, this, and this that I and my family would be totally healthy and free of sickness.
You know what I learned? The world has a microscopic idea of what is really going on and there is only One Sovereign Lord who can truly lead me in the way I should go.
This was a HARD lesson for me to learn, but I remain thankful for the lesson because it helped to bring a greater peace and release of control over our health and wellbeing.
Truth is, there is only so much we can control, so we are called to do our best and leave the rest to God, period.
Any time that we think that WE are the ones providing protection or healing to our bodies through our food choices, etc. there is a hard lesson for us to learn right around the corner.
The Answer is Love
So, how should we combat the harshness that is all around us shouting what is and is not “good”? The answer is love. We need to love our neighbor as ourself, speaking in a way that we would want to be spoken to, understanding the need for gentility and kindness to be the marks of our speech.
We need to be thoughtful about our lack of Sovereignty and humble enough to know that we don’t know everything. We should be conscious of the fact that we are each called to eat and live in specific ways and that we are each held accountable to our Father in heaven to live according to that calling.
We are not here to place stumbling blocks before others, whether they are in Christ or not, but we are called to live sacrificially, putting others and their needs before ourselves.
These are the marks of the Christ follower. These are the signs of a lover of the Lord. And, as women who seek to make our homes a dwelling place of the Lord, our hearts ought to reflect this mentality both in and out of the home.
If you have been held captive by food idolatry today is the day to find freedom. There is only one God, one Savior, one Lord, and it is to Him and Him alone that we live and die.
I urge you to take your captivity to prayer, whether it be that of a guilty conscious having not the ability to afford all the organic foods you “ought” to be purchasing, or if you struggle with judging others for their choices to eat processed, boxed foods.
There is no peace, nor joy, in a heart of bondage. Today’s the day to experience true freedom!