Food is something that we need to survive. We were designed to need food to sustain us. In a nutrition class, we were asked, “If it was possible would to live a complete healthy life without food and only taking a pill, would you?" The majority of people said no. Some just skeptical, but even those that allowed this fake possibility to be true, they still would rather eat food. Some reasons including holidays, celebrations, social events, getting to know people, enjoying cooking, and family mealtime. Think about how much connection and interaction occurs around meals. I know God has His reason for designing us to need food and I believe part of it is building community and connections. The bible is filled with tons of verses encouraging community and in His wisdom, I think He knew how important meal times are for us to connect.
God does not give us a specific restriction on what to eat, but he does make it clear that there is a correct reason behind eating. Our goal in our diet and life should be to glorify Him, and help those around us. The way we celebrate should be to glorify Him, if you look at your last celebration were you already filled with God’s joy or were you trying to use food and family to become joyful? Were you drinking to the advancement of His kingdom and trusting in the eternal hope you have or were you just numbing the hopelessness you feel? The motives behind our lives, including our food are very important to God. You may need to continually check your motives to live a life that will glorify Him. I know I need to it is very easy for me to get caught up with myself and focusing on the what instead of the how and why behind my diet. We know that God is gracious and compassionate and will help to steer us to live a life pleasing and honoring when we turn to Him.
If you are on a diet or have a meal restriction it is easy to think the host will become annoyed or make it hard for you to host a celebration making meals that you do not want to eat and have leftovers of this verse from Romans springs to my mind, “Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.” (Romans 14:6-9, NIV). Every action we take is out of gratitude of God. We live for Him, and this include our diets and our celebration. We are so blessed to be given the gift of freedom! Jesus sets us free from strict rules. He knows that it is our hearts that defile us, not the food we eat. His problem with food and diet arrises with why we choose to eat.
He cares about every aspect of your life, meaning that in our freedom, not everything should be done. “‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything'—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.” (1 Corinthians 10:23-24). He cares about us acting for the good of everyone and to glorify Him. “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God—even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.” (1 Corinthians 10:31, NIV) Our actions have consequences for other people. It is possible that people are looking to you to stay strong and resist the treats, so they can resist. People may see you as someone healthy, and see what you eat and then validate that they can eat it. This may be someone with a health condition that it is worse for them to consume unhealthy treats or someone that cannot stop once they start. As much as we have a tendency to think about food as an individual choice, as Christians, we are called to live for others and our food choices could effect those around us. As we begin to grow in this process we need to be listening to God about how our choices could effect others. We also desperately need His help to continue to eat for the advancement of His kingdom.