In a recent BodyBLoved blog post, I wrote about how often I become distracted thinking about work during Sunday church sermons. I see so many parallels between the life we are meant to live free in Christ and the life I believe we are meant to live free from food rules and diet mentality. But the Lord recently revealed to me a new parallel (new to me anyway!). The parallel was so remarkable that I could not believe I had never seen it before. I suppose that’s how the Lord works though – it is in His timing, not ours, that He reveals things to us.
The parallel that He introduced me to is the one that He makes repeatedly in scripture about the abundant living that comes with living a life with Christ and get this…the enjoyment of food. Our God loves food. Yes he does! He talks about it over and over again throughout the New and Old Testaments, with repeated analogies of food, beverages, and faith. Check this out!
We see an analogy between enjoying food and enjoying the Lord in Psalm 34:8 “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”
We see life lived with God compared to a banquet feast in Isaiah 25:6 “On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine-the best of meats and the finest of wines.”
And in Isaiah 55:1-2 “Come, all you who are thirsty, comet to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you delight in the richest of fare.”
And one more and then I’ll stop. Psalm 63:5 “I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.”
Okay, I lied, one more... I mean it’s Revelation, how can I not? Revelation 3:20 uses the imagery of table fellowship as a sign of deep abiding and communion “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”
Ya’ll, what really resonated with me is that God enjoys food and that He created us to enjoy food. He then took the enjoyment of food that He gave us and used it to illustrate over and over again in scripture what life is like with Him.
Think about the richness of this. He gave us food. And He didn’t just give us a pill that we could swallow that gave us all the nourishment we need, He gave us food made creatively with different flavors, colors, textures, and smells. He gave us a variety of plants and livestock, so that we’d never get bored.
And then He created us to have taste buds that can enjoy a variety of flavors. He came to earth as Jesus and ate and drank with us. And I mean He wasn’t just snacking on kale. He ate and drank a lot. So much so that He was accused by the Pharisees of being a glutton and a drunkard. (May I just point out that food shaming existed even back then!) And then He chose the delight and satisfaction that He gave us in food to compare how good and abundant life is with Him.
Of course a broken world would want to mess this up for us. Of course a tangled web of complicated food rules fraught with guilt and shame would be created by diet culture. And all of this is contrary to what God says about food. We were created to enjoy food, so much so, that a satisfying, peaceful and enjoyable relationship with food should serve as a reminder of what it means to be satisfied and joyful in a life with Christ.
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Megan is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. Megan specializes in non-diet, heath at every size nutrition therapy for women and nutrition therapy for the treatment of eating disorders. She believes that difficult relationships with food and body image are barriers to women living life fully the way that Christ wants for us and she loves helping women find freedom in eating and acceptance of their bodies so that they can turn more attention towards living.