Where does food meet faith?
Doesn’t everyone eat, regardless of his or her personal beliefs? Sure, some folks select specific diets based on their religious creed, but other people make similar choices without those restrictions. So how can I talk about the junction of faith and food?
Strap in for not one, but three posts on the topic!
First, food meets faith in our bodies, the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Our everyday living is an offering to God.
“Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.” (Romans 12:1-2, The Message) (emphasis mine)
We tend to think our offerings to God are the big things, the important things. The times we do an act of service, perhaps, or share God’s word with others. When we teach a Sunday school class or pray for a shut-in. When we sing in the choir or help with the youth group.
But the Bible is clear that “whatever you do—whether you eat or drink or not—do it all to the glory of God!” (I Corinthians 10:31 The Voice)
Sure, the big things matter, but so do the everyday things. We all need to eat, but are we honoring God in our food choices?
Eve didn’t! Sin entered the world as a result of her eating something she’d been forbidden to eat. She offered some to Adam and he joined her. There have been far-reaching consequences to one “simple” food choice.
So, obviously, what we eat matters.
We tend to say that gluttony is the “food sin” (verses like Philippians 3:18-19 seem to indicate this). If self-control is the opposite of gluttony, we can make a case for this belief by quoting verses like Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (NIV)
But I don’t believe it’s the only way that Christians sin with their eating.
My body—your body—is God’s temple. Think about that for a minute. It’s a holy place. When we’re in a temple, a tabernacle, a church sanctuary, how do we act? At least if we care about God, that is. Unbelievers may desecrate what we believe to be a holy place, but the true believer won’t do it.
In Jesus’ day, people scammed each other right in the temple courts. Mark 11:15-17 tells the story of how Jesus became angry and threw them out. “Didn’t the prophets write, “My house will be called a house of prayer, for all the people”? But you have made it into a “haven for thieves”.”
If Jesus felt so strongly about the physical temple courts in Jerusalem, don’t you think He has opinions about what goes on into our bodies, which Paul calls God’s temple in 1 Corinthians 6:19? “Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who comes from God and dwells inside of you? You do not own yourself.” (The Voice)
God calls his people to be set apart, says Peter 2:9: “But you are a chosen people, set aside to be a royal order of priests. . .” (The Voice)
Ah, like priests in God’s temple? How would a priest act?
He’d honor the temple.
As Christians, let’s accept the challenge to be “set apart.” Let’s consider what we put into our bodies—not just the quantity of it, but the quality of it. Let’s look at whether it’s healthy for us, if it will help us think more clearly, if it provides clean-running, uncontaminated fuel for us.
Yes, everyone needs to eat to stay alive, but we have choices. Are you honoring God with your choices where food meets faith in your body?
(Photo of my granddaughter and my grephew taken by Hanna Sandvig. Used with permission.)
Part 2: Where Food Meets Faith in Our Churches.
Part 3: Where Food Meets Faith in Our World.
Holly Michael says
Valerie, I really like this article. It’s a topic I don’t hear much about. Our walk as Christians should manifest itself in every area of our lives. This is another good reminder to think about how we care for our body, God’s temple.
Valerie Comer says
Thanks, Holly! Please share it, if you like. There are 2 more posts coming on the topic. Two more for now, at least…