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A Grace-Filled View on Food

on August 19, 2013 by Jami Balmet 36 comments

Guest Post by Stacy from Stacy Makes Cents


“And the Lord God said, ‘Go therefore into all the world and eat only organic, whole foods that are grown by local farmers who feed their animals non-GMO corn.” –Fanatical Food Christian 1:1 Uhhhh, no. Sorry, that’s not in the Bible – but sadly, some Christians act as though it is.

Hi, my name is Stacy and I’m a Christian who eats a healthy diet. But, I’ve been put off by a lot of the Christians in this same category who seem to heap criticism on their fellow brothers and sisters for not eating the same “healthy” way. “But, but, but” you yell!!!! “God said, ‘Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.’” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

You bet your bottom He said that. But you know what? He wasn’t talking about food here – he was talking about SEXUAL IMMORALITY. I hate to tell ya, but eating a Twinkie isn’t a sexual morality issue.

I’m gonna talk straight up today about how we should be looking at food – because guess what? FOOD IS NOT A SALVATION ISSUE. Period.

Multigrain Bread

 There are two extreme camps when it comes to food in the Christian world.

1. Eat it All Abraham:

Well, Jesus declared all foods clean in Mark 7:19. That means I can eat whatever I want. At a church potluck, I can gorge myself on Velveeta and Cool Whip. Please pass the Doritos and give me some of that Marshmallow Fruit Dip for my apples because they need a little somethin’ somethin’.  Jesus wants me to be happy and food makes me happy. Life on earth is so short I might as well enjoy all the Hostess cakes I can before I go to heaven to live for all of eternity. I’ll be good later and drink a Diet Coke to balance things out.

TRUTH: I seriously doubt that Jesus meant we should eat as many Doritos as our body could hold. Really. Because the Word also says, “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial…” 1 Corinthians 6:12. You SHOULD be taking care of your body the best way you can with the knowledge that you have. Just because you CAN eat it doesn’t mean you should – quality of life should really be considered here. Yes, your time here is short…but do you want to spend it in pain and agony?

Tiramisu French Toast

2. Organic Obadiah:

I should honor God with my body. In the Garden of Eden, when everything was perfect, Adam ate organic vegetables and prospered. Scientists have messed with our food chain by making food GMO (genetically modified) and if we eat it, we’re saying that’s okay with us. Stay away. Only buy organic. The Word specifically outlines what we should and should not be eating…and frankly, if you’re not following that advice, then you’re not following the Word of God. Shame on you. Haven’t you read The Book?

TRUTH: Yes, God expects us to take care of our body. But he’s not condemning us to hell because we slipped up and ate a Snickers bar on vacation. God shows us grace and He is patient with us. And he is MOST PLEASED when we show love to our brother, no matter his eating habit. Healthy food is good for you, but it doesn’t take the place of our need to rely on God for all our health and wellness. He is the author of life – not us.

Bacon-Cheese Topped Chicken

So, how should we look at food as Christians? Well, I’m not entirely sure about you but this is what my husband and I have decided:

We will eat healthy food and try to eat locally as much as possible. We will attempt to eat whole foods, but don’t wig out if occasionally we slip up and have the #5 meal at McDonald’s.

But, here’s the main point: we will not reap condemnation on those who choose NOT to eat like us…and trust me, that’s most of my family. I will not give a sermon to an overweight mom in the grocery store because her buggy is full of Fruit Loops and frozen lasagna. Instead, I’ll smile at her and give her some love. And when a family member serves me up a nice big plate of broccoli covered in Velveeta, I’ll eat it – because that’s what I believe Jesus would want me to do.

There is a fine line between Abraham and Obadiah – I want to be in the middle…don’t you? I want to eat healthy, while showing love and respect to those who have not made the same choice.

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:31

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  1. Thanks for the reminder. My husband and I have navigated through this issue within our marriage and also around others. I usually feel guilty about not being an Organic Obadiah, and have to remind myself often that it is not a salvation issue. I’m just trying to teach my children to make healthy choices and teaching them the options… I realized there is a good chance that my daughters will marry someone similar to us financially and they won’t be able to do 100% organic healthy everything. I’m not going to teach them that all organic = successful eating.

  2. I agree for the most part. My refusal to eat GMO has a lot to do with God though. I truly feel these companies, like Monsanto, are playing God and altering His Creation to a point that, as a few scientific studies have come out now showing, our bodies are experiencing serious consequences because of it, and they are patenting His Creation and prosecuting farmers for patent infringement when the wind happens to blow their Frankenseed into their fields. It’s not an elitist issue; just like other Christians don’t want to support Godless or immoral companies, I include GMOs in that. And I also understand not everyone can afford to eat only organic – sometimes I can’t either. But rather than give my meager pennies to a company and industry I find to be evil, I will pay for regular conventional that might have some pesticide residue that I will wash off as best I can at home.

    There I also a difference in what you personally feed your family, and what you partake of with grace when served by others who may not have the same dietary ideals as you. I will certainly eat what’s lovingly given me.

    And since the blog post pointed out early on scripture taken out of context, let’s go back to Mark 7:19. This is Jesus response to the Pharisees in regards to Jewish custom of ceremonially washing hands prior to eating, and accusing his disciples of eating with defiled hands; because it is Jewish custom and tied in with them spiritually, Jesus’ response was that what you eat does not defile a man [spiritually] but what proceeds out of the man is what defiles him [spiritually]. I personally believe this scripture also absolves previously verboten swine and cloven footed animals that were “unclean” according to Old Testament Jewish law.

    Jesus is not saying that any willy billy food is okay for you and it won’t defile you. This is scripture completely taken out of context. We live in a sinful world and there are things that are not of God and not good for us. Are we going to slip up and eat things that aren’t good for us? Oh yes. We are not perfect. But just like we strive to be Christ-like as we are commanded, I strive to eat as physically beneficial as I can. That means I choose not to support Godless GMOs or eat fast food like McDonalds, since there is no value to my physical well-being (the food is highly processed, denatured, and non-nutritive). Like it or not, there are consequences to our health, that’s just a fact. And I want to get my body to a healthy place and keep it there in order to best serve The Lord in that capacity.

    I also see it as part of God’s command for us to be stewards of the earth. Taking care of what he has given us. If we don’t, there are consequences; poor health, poor environment.

    • We are reaping the bad decisions of certain companies and practices…decisions were made and now we have to live with the consequences of those. But worrying about them daily will just send us all to an early grave. So, we just try to do the best we can with the resources we are given. 🙂

  3. This was such an amazing post!!! I have definitely felt shame and guilt for not being one of those two extremes. I do want to be healthy, but I think you are spot saying in that it is best to be somewhere in the middle. That is why I love Jami’s new book Real Food for the Real homemaker. I didn’t feel guilty for not following a set of rules, but empowered to know how to make better choices.

  4. Love this! Yes, I post things about anti-GMO but my biggest thing is that we all should have the right to eat how we want. And the fact is that is how “THE BOOK” says it, too. Thanks for this wonderful insight!

  5. That is completely our philosophy too, except unfortunately for me I have serious food limitations and I am very sensitive to toxins in my system. In other words while I am not morally opposed to the occasional piece of cheesecake if I had one my immune system has a flare up. God grants us wisdom for our own unique situations and bodies.

  6. Love, love, love, love, love it!

    Can’t we all stop making assumptions about other people’s goodness and parenting skills and intelligence based upon what they put in their mouth? Thank you for saying what needed to be said.

  7. Preach it Sista! Stacy, I’ve always appreciated the sense of humor in your writing, but this takes the cake…. er Twinkie. Great job lightening up the mood on a heavy topic while speaking truth in a solid way. Feel free to come guest post for us anytime! 🙂

    In all seriousness, I think this is another topic that becomes a “all things in moderation” issue. I appreciated your example of 1 Cor 6:12, which is such a valuable verse, but weaving in the message of grace is key, too. Great job.

  8. Couldn’t have said it better myself. This is exactly the philosophy my husband and I abide by. We really came face-to-face with it during a season when we were practicing vegans. We made a very conscious, spoken agreement early on that no matter what we were served at a friend’s or family member’s house we would be grateful and show an attitude of gratitude. Thanks for making a great distinction on such a potent, present issue! Critically applicable in today’s Christian culture.

  9. I’m glad to hear you say this!

    I’m currently struggling with my weight, and from what I read from Christians all around the blogosphere is all organic, all whole, all non-GMO…and it just seems so far off from where I am right now, it’s a big overwhelming!

    Your post gave me some initiative to just START, even if I’m not eating whole, organic, non GMO meals 3-5X a day.


  10. I love it! I find that I’m kinda like a pendulum when it comes to food. Some days I’m at one extreme, others I’m on the other end of the spectrum. Usually, I’m somewhere in between. I love food. I’d love to spend all day planning/shopping for/cooking organic, local food that tastes awesome. In real life, I know that our budget would be totally out of whack and I wouldn’t have time for the relationships God has given me if I did that. I try to make the best choice in each situation and plan ahead so that I more frequently have healthy options. On a side note, my husband and I are planning an “eat local challenge” for ourselves in September, seeking to only buy food that we can get directly from the producer for an entire month. I’m a nerd, so I think this will be fun! Until the new Chic-fil-a opens in a few weeks. Then I will pout.

  11. Love it! It’s is so true that so many swing to one extreme or the other – and NOT just in food!!!! I’ve been on both sides – and I struggle with my family at times because I see where their unhealthy choices have left them. I do try to lovingly inform them and others about making better choices – but the fact of the matter is we live in a fallen world – and we all have to make choices, and we all make unhealthy ones at times. I’m thankful everyday that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!” (Romans 8:1). I’m also thankful that God has granted me the wisdom to know what is and is not healthy for my body to eat – and though its hard, discovering our family’s food intolerances has been a real blessing!

  12. […] of course – there is always grace involved with eating healthy! While I know it’s important to my family and I to eat healthy and make my home from scratch […]

  13. Love this Stacy – a spalsh of fun and a lot of truth. Thank you for this guest post! I think we can get so caught up in all of the cool information we learn about real foods and we can get a bit too legalistic about it. We love to eat out and eat with family, but when it comes to our grocery shopping and meal prep I try my best to incorporate real foods and eat to bless our bodies. 🙂

  14. Why is eating a #5 at McDonald’s a slip up? Cant it be part of a balanced life of eating? I think that eating out, eating “unhealthy” foods (quotations because unhealthy is subjective sometimes) at times is… well healthy! Its also part of life and doesn’t have to be viewed as a slip up.