Like most Americans, I think about food, diet, healthy living way too much. I used to worry about it. I want to be a good steward of the body Yehovah has given me. But, I find the more I meet believers from all over the world, the more I realize this idea of healthy living is an American obsession. So, as I try and step back from the false ideas of diet, exercise, and medical care, I desire to understand what Biblical living means in body care. I have spent a great deal pondering this idea, as I often struggle with illness or body weakness.
So, many people have written so much on this very topic. The topic of Biblical health. But I wonder, I really wonder if this is just feeding the obsession? Is this joining into the lie?
Over the last several months, I, have had bouts of illness. Some viral germs, some stress related, and some unknown causes. I have wondered if my diet the cause, is my environment to blame, lack of activity, or maybe just stress.
So, I prayed about it. I tried this and that. But I just kept hearing Yehovah softly say, “it is not what goes into the mouth, but what comes out of the heart.”
I knew those words, and I have gone to them in the scriptures many times to ponder what is Yehovah trying to tell me.
15 Then some Pharisees and scribes *came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2 “Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” 3 And He answered and said to them, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother is to be put to death.’ 5 But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever I have that would help you has been given to God,” 6 he is not to honor his father or his mother.’ And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you:
8 ‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far away from Me.
9 ‘But in vain do they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’”
10 After Jesus called the crowd to Him, He said to them, “Hear and understand. 11 It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.”
12 Then the disciples *came and *said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?” 13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”
15 Peter said to Him, “Explain the parable to us.” 16 Jesus said, “Are you still lacking in understanding also? 17 Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? 18 But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. 20 These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.”
I know this story well. As a Torah observant Christian, I get asked about this passage often. Many believe that somehow these verses are Yeshua saying that people are now able to eat anything they choose and do not need to follow the laws of clean and unclean things in Leviticus 11. Obviously, when we look at this passage in context we know that is not the case. But, what is He saying, and what does it have to do with my desire to be healthy? Why was Yehovah constantly whispering these words to me?
Over the years, I have had doctors put me on special diets, and others on special medications. I have been diagnosed with all kinds of things, from Lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, Hashimoto’s, Thyroid disease, Hormone Imbalance, Manic Depression, and the list goes on and on. No matter the diagnosis, no matter the cure, I have found one thing to be true that Yehovah is God.
I have healed from illness with medication and I have healed without medication. I have been saved from death by surgery and I have been cured without surgery. So, what is He saying?
I have been super healthy and full of energy eating McDonald’s every day of the week, and I have been sick as a dog eating whole foods, fresh foods only diet. So, what is the answer?
Does diet really matter as much as we think it does?
(Let me be clear I do believe God has a standard in His Word that He clearly gives us of things we should eat and things we shouldn’t. I also think His word makes it clear that gluttony is a sin.)
Recently, I decided to do a six-day fast and detox my gut. I had been having terrible reflux for months with constant stomach pain. So, I decided to do a bone broth detox. I would only eat bone broth for six days. By day two my gut was feeling much better, but I was feeling weak and sick. My blood sugar was crashing every evening. So, instead of ending my fast, I just decided to eat a small dinner each night. It helped. But not enough, by midnight I was getting migraines from my sugar dropping so low. So, I needed to eat some berries to bring my sugar up.
This experience was interesting to me. One of the other things I had hoped the fast would help me with was my chronic allergy issues. I had hoped that after the six days I would be able to clearly see that I needed to adjust my diet. What instead happened was each day I felt worse and worse in my sinuses. I wasn’t suffering from food allergy issues. I realized it was the opposite I needed more food. I added into my diet a high does of vitamin c, and immediately began feeling better.
This experience made me realize even more that I have no idea how my body works.
So, as I was praying this morning about all these things again Yehovah whispered again to me a teaching of Yeshua.
“Don’t worry about what you will eat or drink?”
This is from Matthew 6
5 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
I don’t know that I have an answer. But what I do know is Yehovah wants me to seek His Kingdom first. If I am so consumed with thinking about my health and diet, then I cannot be focused on the Kingdom. When we get married we often say the lines, “in sickness and in health.” We make a commitment to our spouse no matter our health or theirs. No matter what we will do our part to put the marriage first. Often that means even if we are not feeling our best we must do our part in the marriage. If I am the wife, mother, homemaker, there are things I must do for my family no matter the condition of my body. It is the same when we commit our lives to Yehovah. IF He calls to a task and we agree to obey and do as He leads us. We must trust that He will care of the body He provided us with. Often in Scripture, we see that Yehovah uses the weakest of men.
So, I guess my conclusion is that God doesn’t want me to spend so much time thinking and worrying aobut food and drink. He wants me to spend time doing His good work. If I am not feeling well, then I can trust Him to be my strength. Because He works all things together for the good who love and obey Him.
(yes, I realize that is a tennis serve, but you get the idea.)