Excerpt form Let Food Be Thy Gift
Jesus did not diet
As long as we use food as a means to our ends (for weight loss, comfort, entertainment and identity), we tie our infinite need for hope, love, joy and truth to a finite need and we blind ourselves from the gift that food is designed to be.
Perhaps, you have heard that food is fuel, food is energy, food is information and food is calories. Unfortunately, these metaphors and this fragmented understanding of food fails to see that food was designed to be a gift of remembrance, encouragement, inspiration, nourishment and friendship, and a reflection of someone infinitely greater than the things that were created by him, for him, in him and through him. The someone I am talking about is Jesus, and if there was anyone that we can look to and see how healthy, holy, whole and human beings are designed to live on earth, then it is him.
Even though I am not an expert theologian, I can promise you that Jesus never counted calories, never dieted and never used food to avoid his fears, fill his time or control his feelings. Without a doubt, Jesus was both aware of our need for food and he was completely aware of our need for more. The Bible tells us that Jesus not only repeatedly fed the hungry food, but he promised eternal fullness by being the Bread of Life. He said, “The one who comes to Me will never be hungry, and the one who believes in Me [as Savior] will never be thirsty [for that one will be sustained spiritually].”
Given the real life living example of Jesus Christ, you would think that Christians would be one of the healthiest communities physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and relationally. You would think that Christians by their very name, “Little Christs” would be a community so full of truth, love, acceptance and knowing that this fullness would leave no room for starvation or gluttony.
Because the main thing and really the only thing that Christians have been called to do is “To love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and love one’s neighbor as yourself.” Any christian who is trying to obey this call would 1) spend a lifetime trying to do it and 2) find it absolutely impossible to hoard gifts of food or money or starve to death when they are working with all their heart, mind, soul and strength to keep their hearts and hands open to receive the daily love from God and then remain open to give that love to themselves and to their neighbors.
See…Jesus knew that God is Love and love like God by its very nature is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and infinite. Therefore, it cannot be contained, controlled or grasped. It can only be experienced and enjoyed as it moves to consume our spirits, hearts, minds, bodies, and relationships. As love moves in us, it leaves no room for pride, guilt, shame or fear, and it doesn’t tempt us to use things, like food, to avoid our truths, numb our feelings and distract from our deep need for communion and community. Jesus knew that Love, not food, would fill our infinite hunger and it would transform our thoughts, words, deeds and desires.
The truth is that we don’t really have a food problem. Rather, we have a love problem. We can never receive or give food or exercise, money success, work, truth or love as gifts until we know who we are and how we are designed to be nourished at our deepest levels by Love and Truth. When we accept ourselves as the amazing gifts that we are, then we will give ourselves and our neighbors the most beautiful gifts that are designed to remind us of who we are, how much we are loved and how we are designed to eat to the nourishment of our bodies.
To be healthy is to be whole and to be whole is to taste, touch, smell, hear and see love. In being whole, love becomes food and food becomes love that nourishes our spirits, hearts, minds, bodies, and relationships. Our bodies are one of the most accessible holiest of places where we can receive the gifts from our good dad, experience the natural overflow of thankfulness and share our gifts with our neighbors.
Remember, food is food and food is so much more. But only when we are full of love, will we work extremely hard to receive and give foods that are a gift of nourishment. Only in wholeness can we be healthy and only together can we practice who we are and how we are designed to be nourished spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically and relationally by love and food.