Food is not the Problem
Today we are studying Day 5 of 60 of The Lord’s Table online course at Setting Captives Free.
Many of us come to this course desperately seeking help to lose weight—but now trying to do it “God’s way.” We have tried practically every diet under the sun—resulting in utter failure.
The diet industry is correct in observing the facts that too many calories in and too little calories burned cause weight gain. Their hypothesis: If we are overweight, then food is the problem. Their solution is to change the types of food we eat to bring about weight loss.
But God’s solution is contrary to their solution:
20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations-- 21 Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," 22 which all concern things which perish with the using - according to the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.
The principles of the world are man-made system of rules—which focus only on the external body. It does not deal with the issues of the heart—which is where real change takes place. Haven’t you noticed that when you are told to deny your body something that it craves, you only want it more? That’s because your heart attitude did not change with the behavior. That is the problem. Food is not the problem.
So, when we understand that our condition is a result of indulging the flesh, we realize it is foolish to change the types of foods with which we indulge the flesh. If I forsake eating of all breads and only indulge with meat, what have I profited? My heart and lifestyle have not changed and even though I might lose weight for a time, it will surely come back on until I learn the problem is I have a habit of indulging my flesh, rather than the type of food I eat.
Paul warns the Colossians to beware of those who will try to control and manipulate you into living under the burden of man’s rules and restrictions instead of the freedom found only in Christ.
Colossians 2:8-10 says, 8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
This Christian life is not about outward behavior. Restricting certain foods or denying ourselves certain types of foods by following a set of man-made rules is not what following Christ is about. God looks at the inward part of us—the heart. He wants our hearts to be filled up with Him and then our outward behavior will conform to what’s inside our hearts.
Nothing Is To Be Refused
In 1 Timothy 4:1-5, Paul points out that commands to abstain from foods which God created is in the list of the characteristics of those who depart from the faith!
“1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer." 1 Tim 4:1-5
Note: I would like to make a distinction between foods God created verses the “anti-food” man has created which is passed off as food, such as Twinkies and other chemically processed “foods.” I’m not saying eating the anti-food is a sin, but we must answer to God if these anti-foods are causing physical harm and weakness.
We are to receive all types of “real” food with thanksgiving to God who created it. We are to eat the God-created foods in a disciplined and self-controlled manner. This is a life-style approach rather than the temporary diet method.
For the Christian, this way of life requires a constant feeding on the Word of God, praying without ceasing and being filled with the Holy Spirit as we live in this self-indulgent fallen world.