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How Shall I Eat? - She Seeks - Week of October 27


{how shall i eat?}
finding the rightful place for food in our lives

I sat in my living room, listening to a friend cry a river of tears. She was lamenting over how she had relapsed again, feeling powerless over the same destructive cycle she worked so hard to rid herself of. It was not a binge on alcohol or drugs...but food.

My friend is just one of several Christian women with whom I have come into contact this year who have struggled with issues related to food. I, myself, have had my own 'phases' of dysfunctional eating patterns as a teen and into my twenty-something years. No matter how much we love God, we are all susceptible to the whispered lies of our looks obsessed culture. It's no wonder food is misused and abused and the rightful place for food in our lives is completely and utterly...wrong.

Sometimes I wonder what Jesus' relationship with food was. Did he crave the unhealthy things? Was he ever tempted to turn to food for comfort? Did the thought, "I feel fat" ever cross his mind?

Jesus did eat, and that we know for certain. The gospel accounts reveal several instances where Jesus is eating dinner with his disciples, sharing a meal with tax collectors and dining with sinners (see Matthew 26:26, Mark 9:10-11). Eating was a communal and cultural experience through which he could develop and deepen relationships with those whom he loved.

But turn a few pages and the very same Scriptures also warn us not to 'set our minds on earthly things' like food and drink and not to gratify the desires of our flesh (see Philippians 3:19, Romans 13:14), for it will lead to destruction and shame (Proverbs 23:20-21).

Where then is the rightful place for food in our lives?

The answer is certainly not black and white. We all come in different shapes and sizes with different health needs and issues -- raised with different cultural norms and traditions surrounding food. But one passage I keep going back to as I evaluate my own relationship with food is 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, where the Apostle Paul says: "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."

This verse has helped me to view my body, not just as a physical entity but a spiritual one. What a beautiful thought that we are temples for the Holy Spirit. For that reason, we should treat them with utmost care, respect, awe and honor, being mindful of what we put into them. One way we can do this is to pause and ask ourselves the following questions before we eat:

~ Am I eating because I am hungry? (If not, ask God to show you the reason and to help you turn away from the food)
~ Will this food nourish and energize my body?
~ Do my eating habits glorify/honor/reflect God in my life?

If you are struggling to find the rightful place for food in your life, take comfort, my friend, that you are not alone. As long as we live on this earth, the cravings of our flesh will always be something we have to battle. But God never intended for us to be held in our own self-bondage when it comes to food, so we must not give up in continually asking Him to crucify our own desires on the cross, seeking His healing touch through prayer and professional counsel if need be. It is not always easy to make wise decisions about what to eat or not eat, especially as the holiday season draws near. But when we choose to be more mindful and conscious about what we are putting into our bodies, asking God for wisdom and strength in our weakness, He will empower us through His Spirit that is within us.

Wherever you are today, speak these words of truth over your body: I am a beautiful temple handcrafted by my Father and used for His noble purposes. I will rejoice as I seek to glorify God in my body through the food that I eat today. Amen.

Ephesians 2:10, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."

Behind Those Eyes: What's Really Going on Inside the Souls of Women by Lisa Whittle

Ali is currently intrigued with all things squash—as in the vegetable. Yellow, acorn, spaghetti...she loves finding new ways to cook them all. Got a favorite squash recipe? Feel free to share it in the comments section—all other holiday recipes are welcome too! For more on Ali, check out: www.alismithonline.com

Check in with Ali at She Seeks this week.

© 2011 by Ali Smith. All rights reserved.

For more devtionals like this one, check out Proverbs 31 Ministries

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