Does Jesus care about What You Eat?
by: Alyssa Ward
We live in a society obsessed with diets and body image. Like with all issues, Christians must search for a Biblical answer to the importance of food. So, does Jesus care what you eat? The answer is simple: yes and no.
While this dual answer may not seem simple at first, it becomes quite clear when looking at Scripture's take on the body. We can affirm that the human body has value, as it was created by God and is used for His purposes.
“For it was You who created my inward parts;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You
because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.
Your works are wonderful,
and I know this very well.”
We also know that Jesus is being represented by what we do with our earthly bodies. While our minds may jump to avoiding sin as most important, we are called to be even more focused on what we DO use our bodies for.
“Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, Whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Because God created and Christ has redeemed our bodies, we know that He cares about how we treat them and feed them. I talked to Maggi Gilbert, a recently relocated former member of FBC Choctaw and registered dietician, to understand how she relates Christianity and caring for the human body.
“If we shift our perspective and ask ourselves, ‘Does it matter? Does Jesus care what I eat?’ Absolutely. He has given us this earthly temple to take care of. Nutrition is not the only way to take care of it...but nutrition is a big one.”
Maggi encourages people to implement mindful eating, eating habits that take note of both the type and amount of food being consumed, which helps us make dietary decisions that are both responsible in consideration of our well-being and enjoyable.
Mindful eating considers the purpose of the food we eat. Food can have many purposes, such as:
Utilitarian: food is fuel for our body and is necessary for life
“Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”
“Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.”
1. Symbolic: the festivals and sacrifices of the Old Testament and the Lord’s Supper both utilize food as a representation of God’s spiritual workings.
“The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?"
1 Corinthians 10:16
2. Relational: Food gathers people together and helps promote fellowship in the body of the church
“And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.”
3. Enjoyment: God created unique and varying foods on purpose, for our pleasure!
“Eat honey, my son, for it is good;
honey from the comb is sweet to your taste.”
A heart focused first on Christ will direct that loving focus to overflow into all our daily habits, including food. Maggi emphasizes, "Once we start to find our identity in Christ and seek out Scripture and what the Bible says about this, that's when the perspective shift happens. How can I honor Christ through nutrition? How can I honor Christ with my body? And that goes on to movement, healthy habits, and mental health.”
I would argue that Jesus cares not WHAT we eat as much as HOW we eat it.
Do we eat food as fuel in order to do the work the Lord places before us? Or do we avoid eating out of worry for our physical appearance?
Do we take the Lord’s Supper in joy and reverence?
Do we “break bread” with fellow believers? Or do we avoid opportunities for fellowship because they don’t fit our current diet?
Do we eat until satisfied? Or do we overfill ourselves without consideration of the consequences?
Do we thank God for the abundance of His creation as we eat? Or do we eat only to please ourselves without appreciating God's goodness?
My friends, eat with joy. Eat without condemnation, and instead consider your body's needs so that you may continue in the Lord's work. Eat without worry, and instead with love for the God who created both your body and food. Eat without obsession and instead with thankfulness for today’s daily bread. Eat without fear, and instead in sweet fellowship with the friends, family, and church around you.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.”
1 Corinthians 10:31
If you're interested in learning more about Maggi and what she does as a Christian dietitian, visit her website at maggigilbert.com.
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