September 10, 2012

What Shall We Eat?

Romans 14

I am convinced … that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean.
—Romans 14:14


Eating disorders are once again in the media. In reaction to obesity and overeating, people get into fad dieting and ideologies that reject whole categories of foods. Orthorexia is a new word describing malnutrition brought on by avoiding specific foods in the belief that they are harmful.

How can we avoid the extremes of stuffing ourselves and starving ourselves?

First, remember this principle: “Everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4-5). We need to be wise about what we eat, but we must also recognize that not every claim about foods being bad for us may be true.

Second, remember that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. “‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial” (1 Corinthians 6:12). Just because you can thank God for a fast-food meal does not mean that every meal for a month should be a burger with super-sized fries and a soft drink.

Third, those who gladly receive all from the hand of God should not despise people who abstain from certain foods. It’s not a loving attitude.

Thank you, O God, for the deliciousness of food. Keep us from harming our health by either gorging on food or becoming legalistic about it.

Thank you for living within us, in Christ. Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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