The other night, Jason and I sat at the kitchen table playing a board game together. It had been a few hours since supper, and I was hungry.
I don’t know about you, but I love barbeque chips. I could eat them until they made me sick. (I did, once, actually, as a kid.) We don’t really buy barbeque chips very often, but this night we had some, our leftover potluck offering from a recent picnic. They were the perfect late-night snack
With every bite that went into my mouth, I thought, this is loaded with chemicals and is processed beyond any resemblance to an actual potato. It is terrible for me. And man, oh man, is it good.
I know processed food is bad for me. I want to eat healthy food. I really do. And I want to feed nutritious, yummy food to my kids. But sometimes I struggle to know how to do that. I go to the grocery store and turn over each item carefully, scrutinizing grams of refined sugar and the price per ounce. I look for the words “organic” and “nitrate-free” and still wonder if I’m doing it right. It’s exhausting.
I can’t think of a single area of my life that consumes my energy and my thoughts more than my food. I wake up in the morning thinking about what I’m going to fix for breakfast. I spend hours each week planning meals, acquiring food, and preparing it for my family. And I experience enormous amounts of guilt any time I decide to throw in the towel on the planned family dinner and just order a pizza.
I’ve poured through tons of books on food looking for guidance–cookbooks, books about eating locally, books about how the food we buy at the supermarket gets there in the first place, books about making things from scratch, books about getting your kids to eat vegetables, and books about cutting fat and sugar and grains out of your diet.
After all that, I am more confused than ever. Everybody has a different theory on what to eat (and more importantly, what not to eat). How am I to know whose is best?
I know I’m not alone. I think a lot of us are struggling to find a balance between enjoying our food and eating what’s good for us.
Between being scrupulous about what goes into our kids’ mouths, and being the easy-going type of parents that let them have suckers from the bank on a whim.
Between having our cake, and eating it, too.
But where can we turn? Who can help us navigate these turbulent, murky waters?
After a while of trying to go it on my own, I had a thought: I wonder if the Bible could give me any direction on what to eat.
It’s embarrassing that it took me so long to come up with that idea. It just goes to show how easy it can be to divide our lives into little compartmentalized segments that don’t touch and think that something in our life is outside the purview of our Creator. But I honestly looked almost everywhere else before it occurred to me to consult my Bible.
Is it possible that God has given us some instructions for this area of our lives? I sure hoped so, but I didn’t have any clue where to start, so I opened my Bible to the beginning and started reading Genesis.
Three chapters in, I felt like a moron.
“I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food….” 1:29
“You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil….” 2:16-17
“When you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God….” 3:5
“The woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye….” 3:6
“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it….” 3:17
How could I wonder if the Bible had anything to say about food, when it’s right there at the very beginning of everything?
And the more I looked for it, the more I saw food showing up all through the Bible. The Garden. The Passover meal. The manna. The bread and wine.
If the Bible had even a little to say about eating, I think it would be noteworthy, since it’s something we do, on average, three times a day. But there’s more than a little about food in the Bible. Over and over again, food is right there in the midst of everything God is doing. And I want to understand it better.
These next 30 days won’t be me beating you over the head with a Bible and giving you a list of food rules to follow, because I don’t want to tell you what to eat any more than I want you telling me what eat. Nor will we us the God’s word to come up with some “get healthy using the Bible” diet scheme.
No, I just honestly want to explore the Bible with you, and see what it has to say about food and how that applies to our daily lives. We’re going to examine not just what we eat, but how we eat it, and what our attitude about it is. We’ll talk about hospitality and the things that are said around our tables, and how to interact with other people about what they eat. We’ll look at food as a vehicle of God’s provision, and his goodness, but also as a huge factor in our battle with sin.
I’m excited to see where God takes us. Won’t you join me?
This post is the first in a series of 31 posts on what the Bible says about food and eating. Check back here for links to the rest of the posts as they’re written.
Day one: What does the Bible say about food?
Day two: In the beginning
Day three: The lie that ruined everything
Day four: After the flood
Day five: That foul appetite
Day six: A verse for your Sunday
Day seven: Passed over
Day eight: Bread from Heaven
Day nine: More than a fad diet
Day ten: Food in God’s house
Day eleven: Milk and honey
Day twelve: House of Bread
Day thirteen: A verse for your Sunday
Day fourteen: Just as God had promised
Day fifteen: In the presence of my enemies
Day sixteen: Women of valor
Day seventeen: Dry crusts, dry bones
Day eighteen: Eat, pray, love
Day nineteen: The Daniel Fast
Day twenty: A verse for your Sunday
Day twenty-one: True fasting
Day twenty-two: The bread of life
Day twenty-three: The passion of Christ
Day twenty-four: Breakfast on the beach
Day twenty-five: We’re in this together
Day twenty-six: What God has made
Day twenty-seven: A verse for your Sunday
Day twenty-eight: Meat with blood in it
Day twenty-nine: Love feast
Day thirty: Food & forever
Day thirty-one: What I’ve learned