If you “make New Year’s Resolutions,” “set goals” or simply “look for a fresh start” for the New Year, you are probably like millions who recommit to healthy eating on January 1. Sadly for believers looking for help with this, they won’t get much help from the pulpit.
To fill this void, here are six Bible verses to ponder to help you jump start your eating habits in 2013. Who knows? Maybe your pastor has a vision for healthy eating in the new year; considering sharing these with him.
Genesis 1:29: Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you.” Folks, these are not idle words. Think about it: These word come directly from God to us (via Adam and Moses) informing us of our food source. From the very beginning of time, fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts and seeds were God’s healthy staples for mankind. Because He cares for us and our nutritional needs, our loving Creator specifically designed a plethora of healthy, perfect foods. Remember, God made plant-based foods; man made things like Twinkies, Starbucks and Chick-Fil-A.
Practical Application: The most important part of new eating habits is adding healthy, life-giving foods to our diets. Sauté chopped onions, peppers and spinach and make scrambled eggs. Layer lettuce, sliced tomatoes, avocados and sliced cheese on hummus-schmeared whole grain toast. Make a batch of homemade pesto, and spread it on a chicken breast or fish fillet. Bake and serve for dinner with rice tossed in a little pesto and a salad.
Genesis 3:13: Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” What was man’s first act of disobedience? In spite of clear instructions directly from God, Eve rationalized her food choice and ate food God said not to. Did you catch that? From the beginning God has cared about what we eat; He has communicated His instructions to us; and the Adversary has tempted us into eating foods that destroy rather than give life. Sadly, a peek into a typical church fellowship meal reveals that Satan is still doing this, and we are still letting him.
Practical Application: Sober up. Very real forces of evil want to pull us away from God’s design for eating. Enlist all the same tools you would for any other spiritual battle: Prayer. Accountability. Bible study. See my Resource page for a variety of practical tools.
Leviticus 11:3 You may eat any animal that has a divided hoof and that chews the cud. The entire chapter of Leviticus 11 is dedicated to explaining the difference between animals that God designed to be eaten, and those that He did not. Have you ever read it? God makes it clear: some animals are permitted to be eaten, some are not. Some birds are permitted, some are not. Some fish are permitted, some are not. Mountains of theology explain why these laws don't apply to Christians, but why did God designate some animals as clean and others as unclean? Did He just flip a coin to determine which would be which? Are the commands arbitrary? Or is there some kind of hidden wisdom in the dietary laws that we have overlooked?
Practical Application:If you never have, prayerfully read and chew on Leviticus 11. If you think it does not apply to you, ponder why. If you think it does, prayerfully investigate how. For an in-depth study on this topic, consider reading Holy Cow! on your own or with a group (it has discussion questions at the end of each chapter).
Daniel 1:11-13 Daniel then said to the guard...“Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food...”Daniel 1 tells the story of the prophet Daniel and his friends, who resolved not to eat the king’s food delicacies. He pleaded for a simple diet of vegetables and water for them, and as a result, they were healthier and better nourished than anyone else. Why does the book of Daniel devote nearly a whole chapter to the prophet’s dietary preferences--and his outstanding knowledge and wisdom? While this chapter from Daniel does not “prove” it, the connection between diet and intelligence, diet and health, and diet and appearance is well-documented in scientific literature today. Why is it widely ignored by the Church?
Practical Application: Read Daniel chapter 1. If you are looking for a vigorous, practical way to mirror Daniel’s lifestyle, consider starting the Daniel Fast. It need not be a life-long commitment, but it is a great way to press the “restart” button on your eating habits.
Proverbs 23:1-3 When you sit down to dine with a ruler, consider carefully what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are a man of great appetite. Do not desire his delicacies, for it is deceptive food. I don’t know what ancient kings’ “delicacies” were, but today’s “deceptive” foods are many, including foods that might taste great and even appear healthy, but are often processed, refined and filled with toxic additives. Granola, pasta, energy bars, and diet soda come to mind, as well as standard “delicacy” fare. Perhaps Daniel knew in these verses when he asked for vegetables and water. These verses also address those of us with “great appetite.” It’s not just what we eat that matters to God, it’s how much and our attitudes, too.
Practical Application: Identify two or three delicacies or deceptive foods or drinks that you would like to be free from this year. Prayerfully study why these foods are harmful. Enlist help from a friend, asking for prayer and accountability if needed.
3 John 1:2 Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. Throughout Scripture, God consistently cares about us, our health, and what we eat. You might not hear it from your pastor, but there are clues throughout Scripture that can help strengthen your resolve to eat better this year. Turn to God in thought, prayer and deed in this area, and be amazed at how He can help you!