NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–“Lose weight fast.” “Look better.” “Increase your energy.” These are all claims that vitamin companies, weight loss programs and people looking to make lot of money use to get our attention. And, most of us have to admit that we’ve fallen for these schemes at least once. Each year Americans spend $40 billion supporting the weight loss and diet industry in pursuit of the “perfect” body overnight.
Meanwhile, a massive amount of health information and warnings are at our fingertips, yet Americans are still facing an obesity epidemic that cuts lives short and reduces our overall quality of life. Over half of all Americans are considered overweight or obese. That means, if it’s not you, most likely it’s the person sitting next to you.
Does all this matter to God? Where can a Christian find information about what he should or should not eat? Does the Bible offer any insight into these matters? Let’s start from the beginning and find out.
God created the human body to need fuel to function. When God created Adam, he told him what he could eat for nourishment and to sustain life. (See Genesis 1:29.) In the Garden of Eden, God gave Adam the assignment to work and care for it. God knew Adam would get hungry, so he directed Adam to eat from any tree in the garden except one — the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Later in Genesis, God gave more directions about the food that humans could eat for nourishment. After the flood, God expanded food choices to include meat. (See Genesis 9:3.) Out of God’s love for his people, he gave them laws regarding food for their safety and protection. Eating as God directed was an act of obedience.
So, does what I eat matter to God?
For the Christian, the Bible is our guide to life. Everything we need to know about living holy and pleasing lives is found in God’s Word, including information on nutrition. You won’t find next week’s dinner menu, but you will find guidelines that can help you with your food choices.
Food choices today are abundant. Yes, God created our bodies to eat, and he created food. But nowhere in Scripture will you find God creating many of today’s processed foods with labels that read more like a chemistry textbook. How can you know what foods are best?
First, evaluate the purpose of your body. In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Paul said that we are the “temples of the Holy Spirit” and that worldly things shouldn’t defile our bodies. Making wise food choices is an offering of physical stewardship to God and an act of worship. (See Romans 12:1.) Since we must eat to survive, eating properly is an act of self-discipline and self-control. We live in sinful bodies with sinful desires for things that aren’t always best for us. And, while no food is “bad,” too much of anything is very harmful and leads to the health issues many face on a daily basis.
Secondly, view proper nutrition from a biblical focus as summed up in 1 Corinthians 10:23: “Everything is permissible — but not everything is beneficial.” Here we find both freedom and responsibility. We have freedom because our salvation, worth and relationship to God are not based on what we eat. We have responsibility because we must choose what is beneficial and allows our bodies to function properly. “Fit 4: A LifeWay Christian Wellness Plan” offers education and information on nutrition and fitness with a strong biblical and scientific base. Fit 4 can teach you how to make the best choices to benefit your health through weight loss, disease prevention and lifestyle management. For more information about Fit 4, log onto our website at www.fit4.com.
God loves you and created you. He cares about every aspect of your life. Making wise food choices is one way to honor God with your whole life.
Polk is the health ministry specialist at LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.