I’m sure you have heard it before… the ammunition often used against pastors is the prevalence of a life marked by gluttony. This creates an obstacle to the integrity of the Christian message as it would be hypocritical for a person who is obese to speak about an idolatrous relationship with food. This creates the perfect storm amidst our culture. The combination of wide spread prevalence added to the fact that we literally wear the sin for all to see, creates a unique problem. What do we do? We just don’t talk about it. It is the proverbial elephant in the room.
Let’s begin with a few things that are NOT being discussed here:
- What size you wear or how you look in a swimsuit…
- What diets or exercise routines you’ve done or will try on Monday…
- What glory-day achievements fill your imaginary trophy case..
Instead, let’s look at a few very theologically simple ideas that should inform our choices.
- God creates beautifully! God created you beautifully. Rather than defining beauty by what photoshop can accomplish on a magazine cover, believe that the greatest artist our universe will ever know has perfectly created you in His likeness.
- God creates intentionally! The plants, animals, water, light and darkness were all intentional. They were created intentionally not only to reflect His glory, but to provide for the culmination of creation, Adam & Eve.
- God created us stewards of His creation! We must not forget that Adam was working in the garden before the Fall (Gen 2:15). Work was not a product of the Fall but rather God’s original intention. The idea of being fruitful and multiplying is an opportunity to steward God’s creation. In the New Testament, we are called to bring honor to God with our bodies because they are ‘temples’ of the Holy Spirit. Our bodies are the beautiful creation of God, provided to us for faithful stewardship.
Ideas for Application:
- Exchange the idol of image for the joy of worship. If our health is merely the pursuit of looking like an image the media has exalted, we are nose-diving into the depths of idolatry. That path of idolatry is greased with pride and lust. Instead, affirm the beauty of God’s creation in you, his provision for you, and faithfully pursue the call to steward that beauty well. That is worship.
- Exchange the solace of substance for the person of Jesus. Do not find comfort in the substance of unsatiating food, while damaging the canvas of the Creator; when you have a Savior who died to bring you peace. Our relationship with Jesus is grown by us running to him in moments of stress and despair. We again find ourselves idolatrous when we run to the pleasures food, or anything else, instead of Him.
- Exchange cultural pressures for God’s intention. Our calendar displays our value system. The idea of ‘fast food’ is an indictment on our value system. Slow the pace of life down enough so that you are able to acquire the food God created, prepare it with the family and friends God provided, and enjoy it worshipfully in the manner God intended.
Challenge: Set a goal for your home to acquire, cook, and eat real food together regularly multiple times every week.
Questions: How do you integrate the intersection of spiritual and physical health? How can you make food an opportunity to invest in your family, friends, and neighbors?