By Not Known
It’s sometimes said that eating is our national hobby. Most of us enjoy choosing and consuming food, know restaurant ratings well and are delighted to give or accept invitations to dine.
The Bible has a similarly positive appreciation of food. An initial vegetarian diet was soon replaced by freedom to eat just about everything (Gen 9:3). After Jesus, the Old Testament food laws were relaxed and we can again eat almost anything with thanksgiving (Acts 10:9-15; 15:28-29; 1 Tim 4:3-4).
Food is listed as one of God’s gifts (eg Ps 104:14-15) and a bountiful ‘table’ is a powerful image of God’s best blessings (eg Ps 23:5; Matt 22:2). This is all good news: we thank God for our food and can enjoy the food that he gives us. However, there are some food traps. Unwise eating can damage our health, especially if we have a low-exercise sedentary lifestyle. More seriously, discontentment can lead to a terrible state where enough is never enough and our stomach becomes our god (1 Tim 4:6-7; Phil 3:19). On a social level, a failure to share food with the hungry is indicative of a life that does not belong to God (Matt 25:35,42).
Thus, food has its place, but it is not first place. As Jesus says: Is not life more than food? (Matt 6:25). He warns that preoccupation with physical food can keep us from seeing our need and the source of food for the soul (Jn 6:26-27,35). Our soul-food is found by connecting to God through faith in Jesus, devouring his word, letting it become part of us and drawing energy from it to live a vigorous life with and for the Lord.
What will we eat today?
Many of us plan our eating for the day, set aside time to dine and make a restaurant booking. And we do the same tomorrow and for tomorrow’s tomorrow. But, what about our soul food? It’s often a casual affair with the odd snack on God’s word, missed spiritual meals and super-light portions. Indeed, some of our spiritual diet may be like junk food. This is the kind of spiritual
‘eating’ that gives a rush of energy but which fails to build us up and may even damage our spiritual health. The Bible encourages Christian adults away from an infant’s diet of spiritual milk and points us to spiritual solids (Heb 5:12-14).
These solids are the further truths about Jesus that will inform and sustain our faith in him through tough times. Attention to our spiritual diet is key to an enjoyable, energetic and healthy life with God.