“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” – Galatians 5:22-23
Satan has confused the world with his slick tricks just like he did with Eve in the garden. Incapable of stealing and destroying the life-giving fruit of the Spirit, Satan has altered its appearance causing some of us to doubt its life-giving properties. Those starving for this good fruit see love as merely a feeling, not an action. Joy has become an outward measure of happiness, not an inner attitude. Peace is displayed as an absence of strife, not the presence of God. Patience has become worldly tolerance, not a willingness to wait on God. Kindness is expected, but not easily shown. Goodness has become relative and is no longer based upon absolute Truth. Faithfulness is in one’s own strength, not in the hand of the Almighty. Gentleness has morphed into weakness and self-control has completely shriveled. This kind of deformed fruit makes Satan’s work so much easier.
Satan once had me believing I could cover up all my insecurities and mistakes by doing good things. The truth is I can never do enough good to cover my own sin. Once I realized I couldn’t out-sin the cleansing power of Jesus’ blood, I was able to relax, accept His grace and enjoy loving the God who saved me. Acting out of love rather than duty provides a basketful of blessings from the unspoiled fruit of the Spirit. Nothing breeds love like love.
So, what does this have to do with healthy living? Everything, when we view God as a loving Father who has given us rules to ensure our well-being. In Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14, God gave the Jews many laws pertaining to a healthy diet. He wanted a remnant of His people to endure so that we and our children could benefit from His love and mercy. Today, science has even confirmed that God knew what He was doing when He outlawed eating certain animals. (By the way, today’s physicians still use many of God’s hygiene laws to protect their patients and communities from disease.) Scavengers and bottom-dwellers such as pigs, vultures, shrimp, lobster, oysters, etc. were meant to clean up the environment, not to be used as food. I know. I know. They taste good. But remember, we are what we eat and we are also what they ate. Just think about all the parasites and harmful bacteria these animals ingest.
I have listened to every argument as to why it’s okay to eat pork, shellfish, and the other banned animals, but none of them explain how these animals’ bodies have changed since creation. The pig’s continued inability to sweat forces toxins to remain its flesh while its appetite for disease-laden things remain the same. Shellfish and catfish, whether pond-raised or wild, still eat poop and it’s their bodies that are checked by scientists to determine the amount of pollution in our waters. Basically, they always have been and still are unclean animals.
Man has spent years trying to convince himself that anything fried long enough and doused with enough Ranch dressing or butter can be tasty. Satan has enjoyed watching man change God’s life-giving food by adding chemicals to prolong shelf life, removing nutrients to enhance appearance, modifying genes to increase yield, and administering hormones to fatten his pocketbook. In a nutshell, man has messed up our food and Satan loves it. He likes nothing better than for Christians to make poor choices causing them to become unhealthy and ineffective examples of God’s power.
It’s true; we no longer live under the Old Law. God’s grace covers a multitude of bad choices. However, if we want to honor God with a strong and efficient body we should carefully consider what we put into it. I now enjoy eating the things God meant for food so much that I no longer miss the unhealthy foods that kept me feeling so bad. When I prayed for God to heal me I knew I had better listen to His advice. It was no coincidence I was pointed toward a doctor who shared my ailment and taught me to overcome it by making healthier food choices. God loves us all so much that He is faithful to transform our cravings into those that benefit us. Believe me when I say, I was a connoisseur of fine pork ribs, shrimp, cream filled doughnuts and various flavors of ice cream. But, when I found out how good I felt eating from God’s bounty in a healthy form, my life was transformed on many different levels. God’s way is always best!
I don’t eat the way I do in order to prove my love for God. I eat the way I do because I love God and I am truly grateful for His mercy. I don’t want to serve Him because I need to justify myself. I can’t. I want to serve Him because I love Him and I want everyone I know to love Him too. I don’t want you to be convinced to change your health habits because you think you should. I want you to change them because you have fallen deeply in love with a God who has always been deeply in love with you.
This has been a tough blog for me to write. I know there will be some pushback, but I do value your comments. There have been some great ones so far. Go back and take a look. (You can also click on the Healthy Living category at the end of this post to see all health related posts.) Please pray for God to reveal the specific physical and spiritual changes that need to be made in order to glorify Him. Pray for strength, energy and endurance to accept His challenges. He won’t let you down.
It has also been joyfully difficult to concentrate on my writing since my daughter just gave birth at 2:00a.m. to Jessa Leigh, our first granddaughter. She is the latest expression of God’s love that motivates me to want to remain healthy for as long as possible. I won’t mind if you say a little prayer for her and her mom. Expect an extra post this week with pictures!! God is good – all the time!
Thanks for reading. Stay tuned next week for how to exercise more efficiently.