Does my diet matter to God? The short answer is if your diet (meaning your eating habits) and related thoughts are consuming you, preoccupying you, changing the way you think about yourself or others, or causing you anxiety, anger, or shame…then YES, your diet matters to God!
And better yet, He helps!
There are only a handful of Scriptures that address eating directly. However, as a biblical counselor and RDN, I am trained to look beneath the surface to find out what is driving things like eating behaviors. For instance, as strange as this sounds, the way you eat can be the result of motives and desires to glorify God or to glorify yourself.
I’m sure that needs explaining.
First, let me clarify the word “glorify” to mean worship. Next, let me clarify “worship” as the act of trusting in, serving, loving, and giving great worth to something or someone. As Christians, God is to be our only object of these actions and devotions.
Our diets may reveal our worship
While we may not connect our eating with the idea of worship, many of us, myself included, have a long history of using food for the purposes of:
- Soothing sadness
- Filling the boredom
- Finding comfort
- Dealing with anxiety
- Calming or procrastinating over stress
- Subverting relationship conflicts
- Covering guilt and anger
These can demonstrate a love of or giving great worth to food. Remember these phrases from our definition of worship?
With these actions, we are turning to food as the solution to our heart problems, a source of peace and comfort, and a remedy for real-life situations. The problem is that food cannot accomplish any of this. But as Christians, we have the great privilege of coming to the Lord for help with our sorrows, loneliness, anxiety, fear, and, of course, our guilt. To go to another “god” means we are worshiping at the wrong altar; the altar of food.
Not all people have this particular god. Some may have diets that reflect a desire to:
- Get admiration from others by changing our body shapes
- Gain control over life
- Become more valuable and respected
- Look better than others
In these cases, we are not so much worshiping food as we are worshiping ourselves. When I want to have the approval of others or win in comparison to them, I am not loving them – I am loving myself. When I use eating to gain a sense of control over my life, I am trusting in my own power instead of God’s sovereign care in my life. And when I diet and do all sorts of eating-related behaviors in an effort to be of more worth, I am attempting to discard the great value given to me in Christ in favor of what I can earn on my own. In other words, I have been worshiping at the altar of me.
You can see that yes, my diet matters to God because of what underlies it. But there is an eating style that brings glory and worship to God alone. And it isn’t even weird!
An eating style that glorifies God
Well, of course, you need to eat lentils and unleavened bread in silence while Gregorian monks chant.
No! Only during Lent.
OK, I’m kidding! But isn’t this the picture you had in mind when you read the heading of this section? Let me put your mind, and tastebuds, at ease.
There is no need to become legalistic with our eating styles to please the Lord with them. Instead, just by learning or reacquainting yourself with these four foundational truths, you will begin to eat in a manner that glorifies God.
Food is a good gift from God
Psalm 104 and Psalm 145 explain that it is God who provides people with food, and that this food is good. We must dismiss the modern cultural idea that any foods have moral weight to them. While there were restrictions in the Old Testament Law, those have been removed (Mark 7:19).
Food is meant to be enjoyed
The more we learn about the human body, the clearer it becomes that God has intentionally designed us with multiple ways of enjoying food…deeply and thoroughly. If you think about it, He could have made eating just another compulsory activity. But He made us with the capability of truly enjoying foods through all our senses and neurological activities. He furthermore made such a variety of tastes, textures, mouth feels, aromas, and combinations within the food as to keep us enjoying them throughout our lives. What a kindness!
When you next sit to eat, notice all the ways God has created food to be enjoyable and all the ways He created you to be able to enjoy it. Then, eat with thanksgiving. In eating with a thankful heart and being mindful of God’s kindness in this way, it becomes very hard to practice sins such as gluttony, drunkenness, or worshiping at the wrong altar at that moment. For more help in this area, get your free ebook, “Escape the Binge in 4 Simple Steps” HERE.
Food has purpose
A primary purpose of food is to nourish and provide everything our bodies need to function. It isn’t a coincidence that the very nutrients our bodies need are found in the delicious foods He created (true science is faith-building!).
Speaking about God’s created design, we can also note that He provided built-in bodily cues to tell us when we need to eat and when it’s time to stop. Now, these have often been abused and need to be relearned, but that is another day’s talk. If you want to learn about this now, download the free ebook HERE.
But food also has other purposes. For example, we demonstrate our love for others by sharing food with them or celebrating with them around food. These are both clearly demonstrated in Scripture.
Food is a memorial of God’s provision
That brings us to the best part!
As Christians, we trust that it is God alone who has provided for, and continues to provide for, all our needs (Mt. 6:25-26). The food itself can be seen as a representation of the True Manna, Christ, who has been provided for us (John 6:32-33). In other words, having food to eat each day is a tangible reminder of God’s faithfulness to you!
Therefore, when looked at correctly and undertaken with thanksgiving to God, eating becomes an act of worship multiple times a day. Eating becomes a hard stop in our busy lives to come back and remember all that God has done.
To answer the initial question again…Yes. Our eating behavior, or diet matters to God because He cares about our hearts, motives, desires, and our worship. When we adopt an eating style that includes intentionally enjoying the good gifts of God with thanksgiving, following the designed cues He intended to guide our eating, and with recognition of His continual provision, we are now worshiping the Lord with our eating!
Did you need this today? If so, comment below and then come join us in our private Facebook group, Food and Body Peace Sisters! It’s good to know that we are not alone in this.
If you need help going from preoccupation with food, eating, or your body size, then I am here for you, my sister! Book a free Kickstarter Plan call HERE and let’s get you on the path to freedom, peace, body confidence, and a lifestyle of health today!