Friday, May 30, 2008

What Is a Healthy Diet?

Have you ever read the book What the Bible Says About Healthy Living by Rex Russell? If you haven't, put it on your booklist soon! It's so good! Here is the book summed up in just a few sentences:

The Three Principles

Principle 1:
Eat only substances God created for food. Avoid what is not designed for food.

Principle 2:
As much as possible, eat foods as they were created - before they are changed or converted into something humans think might be better.

Principle 3:
Avoid food addictions. Don't let any food or drink become your god.

This looks simple, but it is extremely profound. Just mull it over for a few minutes, then begin thinking of how you can begin implementing it into your life in little ways.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Are You Healthy? (Part 1)

You may not have an obvious sickness right now, but are you really healthy? Here's how the Webster's 1828 dictionary defines being healthy -

"HEALTH''Y, a. Being in a sound state; enjoying health; hale; sound; as a healthy body or constitution. 1. Conducive to health; wholesome; salubrious; as a healthy exercise; a healthy climate; healthy recreations."

I think sometimes that even though I do not have any particular obvious sickness or disease, I am not necessarily as healthy according to this definition as I could be. I am not really in shape or physically fit. Lemuel's mother could not have pointed me out to her son as a girl who "girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms" (Prov. 31:17).

After some thought on the matter, I think that there are basically seven essential ingredients to a truly healthful life.

A Healthy Diet - Out of the seven deadly sins, the one we tend to think about the least is gluttony. It’s like a bad word. It offends us. It steps on our toes. Yet the Lord used it twice in His Word, as well as phrases like being “overcharged with surfeiting” (Lk. 21:34) and having one’s belly for an idol (Phil. 3:19). And every time, it is associated with a heart that loves pleasure and self-indulgence more than it loves the Lord. Ouch!

How is this true? God’s Word tells us that our bodies are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psa. 139:14). In addition, we are temples of the Holy Spirit and, therefore, are to glorify Him in our bodies (1 Cor. 6:19-20). As a matter of fact, we are to glorify Him in everything we do, but specifically in our mealtimes (1 Cor. 10:31)!

It is said that Jonathan Edwards, that great theologian whose preaching God used to spark the Great Awakening, often pushed himself away from the table early. What if we practiced this habit? What self-discipline such a practice would instill!

But what do we so often choose instead? I, for one, am more likely to take an extra cookie, or a second helping. My dad just so happens to be a Baptist preacher, so we get to hear a lot of food-related Baptist jokes. Like the time when the kids' class at school was studying religion and each student was to bring some special item and explain its significance. Kind of like a "Show-and-Tell." Well, the first little boy brought a rosary and said, "I am a Catholic, and the rosary is special in my religion." Then the little girl brought a star of David and said, "I am a Jew, and the Star of David is special to my religion." Finally a little boy brought a casserole and said, "I am a Baptist, and the casserole is special to my religion."

That's funny, and we can laugh. But is that really what we want to be known for? Is not that gluttony - the worship of food? Even if we don't overeat, we can worship food in other ways. Is there some food that you cannot go without for more than a few days? Maybe it's ice cream, pop, chocolate, coffee, or anything else. A Christian is to have no addiction other than Jesus Christ.

Or what about eating unhealthy foods just because they taste good, even if we know they are harmful to our bodies and therefore perhaps cutting short our lives and abilities to serve God? What if we know that so much sugar and white flour is bad for us, but we just can't say no? What if we know that drinking so much pop is corroding our organs, but we just have to have it? What if our taste buds don't really enjoy water, whole-grains, fruits, and veggies, so we just don't take them? Is this not also idolatry?

Food is a means to an end. And that end is the glory of God. When eating food begins to interfere with our ability to bring Him glory, something needs to change.