Christians love to point out the major or more obvious sins in the lives of the people around them. Sins like adultery, misuse of alcohol or drugs, swearing, and homosexuality – but what about the elephant in the room? You know, the sin that everyone (and yes, I really do mean everyone) in America commits. And I don’t mean that we all struggle with it. Many of us are just sinning and not thinking about it. This sneaky sin is that we are not good stewards of our body because we do not take good care of it. We do not glorify God in our body.
Of course as Christians we know that our body is only temporary and we look forward to our eternal body in Heaven with Jesus. But it seems that we have all forgotten that although are bodies are temporary, we need to be good stewards of the body that God has given us. At the end of 1 Corinthians, we learn about some of the Christians in Corinth who were involved in using prostitutes. They believed that bodily desires and cravings were of no concern, which was a common belief of the Corinthian culture outside of the church at that time. But in chapter 6 Paul reminds the Corinthians, “’All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are helpful” (1 Corinthians 6:12a). Although Paul is specifically pointing out the issue of sexual immorality, he is doing so in reference to their lack of control of their bodily desires, which could have included anything from food to sex. “All things are lawful for me” (vs. 12) and “Food is meant for the stomach and stomach for food” (vs. 13a) are both believed to be popular slogans for the Corinthian people. Paul is reminding the Corinthians that they were bought with a price (vs. 29b), and he is calling for the Corinthians to glorify God in their bodies (vs. 20). Although our bodies are temporary, what we do with them now is important.
It may be because I enjoy many food related things, such as cooking and reading recipes, information about growing and eating real food, and the food industry, but it seems that health through food and real food blogs and books about eating well are saturating the Internet. These things are very important to me, therefore I am very thankful for these bloggers and journalists, but there is something disheartening about them as well. As I read their stories and see their passion for taking care of their bodies (and the world around them), I notice that many of these people are not believers, yet they do and have done more to take care of their bodies and the world we live in than most Christians do in their lifetime. Now, I don’t know if this man is a believer or not, but think about this situation for a moment: Say you just picked up some lunch from the nearest drive-thru and went to sit on a bench outside of a building to eat before you return to work, and Michael Pollan (a professor at the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, who has studied and written many books on the food industry and societies’ relationship with food and nutrition) walks up and sits down next to you. You two strike up a conversation starting with him asking you about where you bought your meal and you tell him how you get your lunch at this fast food joint a few times a week because its so convenient and it just tastes so good. Then you lead the conversation to talking about his beliefs, hoping talk to him about Christianity and the Gospel. He begins to tell you about his passion for real food and his desire to help people overcome their medical issues such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and even some cancers by helping them change their views on food. He would also tell how it burdens him greatly to see people eat things that not only aren’t good for them, but are down-right bad for them and not even care. Then he asks about your passions and beliefs (a Christian’s dream – to have someone actually ask us what we believe). But then you look down, to take a drink of soda before you answer his question and realize what you are eating. I can’t imagine how hard it would be for him to sit and listen to you tell how awesome God is for creating the universe and for saving you from your sin when you are sitting there eating a Big Mac with a large fry. My guess would be that he would wonder, “If God created you and loves you, and sent His Son to die for you, then why do you eat foods that are slowly ruining the body that He created and gave to you?”
As I said before, this is something that all Christians deal with; it wasn’t until just a few years ago that I realized the unhealthiness that I was putting into my body. My mom would send me posts from 100 Days of Real Food that I would quickly read but not think much of. I wasn’t over weight, I wasn’t extremely lazy or against healthy foods, I just didn’t care. It wasn’t until one day when I really started reading Lisa’s story and information that I began to understand the problem of processed foods. I slowly began to realize the lack of care for my health that I had for many years. I used to do those Myspace surveys when I was in high school and they always seemed to have the question: “Are you a health nut?” or “Do you watch what you eat?” Each time I’d proudly answer with “Not at all!” or “Absolutely not!” I am ashamed of those answers now that I realize how little I cared for the body that God has given me. Even then, I loved God and I strived after Him, but there was a huge sin that I ignored until just a few years ago. Once I learned this information and realized this sin, it seemed I was even more responsible for what I ate than before. I always knew that what I was eating was unhealthy, but now I really know how bad processed foods are for me. And even more than that, I am the cook in our house. Therefore, not only am I responsible for what I eat, but I need to take care of what my husband eats as well.
Since then, I have done much research, read many articles and books about food, health, and nutrition. I know how awful some foods can be and I know the impact that some foods can have on people’s bodies. You may not know a lot of this information; information like how “a group of ten middle-aged, over-weight, and diabetic Aborigines living in… Western Australia, agreed to participate in an experiment to see if temporarily reversing the process of westernization they had undergone might also reverse their health problems,” and when they were done with the experiment, “all of the metabolic abnormalities of type II diabetes were either greatly improved (glucose tolerance, insulin response to glucose) or completely normalized (plasma lipids) in a group of diabetic Aborigines by a relatively short (seven week) reversion to traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyle.” You may not be a nutritionist, a food journalist, or a “foodie,” but you do know that many of the things you eat are not good for you; and you do know many of the things you eat are not only not good for you, but they are actually bad for you.
I hope to encourage you to rethink how you treat your body. Do you glorify God in your body? I want to help people to make this change (and for people to hold me accountable to this lifestyle as well). It isn’t about eat less of this or eat more of that. In fact, you can still eat brownies, or cheeseburgers, or Mexican food (which I personally couldn’t live without), or even pizza pockets! In the next few weeks I will be posting a series of posts entitled Escape of the Western Diet. These posts will explain some basic – but important – real food information to help you get started on this endeavor.
Until then, here are some good resources that helped me when I was first learning about real food:
- Deliciously Organic’s Start Here page
- 100 Days of Real Food’s Start Here page
- You Are What You Eat Eats Too
- Real Food Defined
- Michael Pollan – Resources
- Book: In Defense of Food
I hope that my heart was shown here, and I hope that you have been encouraged to make a change to begin to glorify God in your body.