“Is it possible God’s ideas on food are not there to weigh us down but increase our quality of life? Could he simply be protecting our health, a God ever FOR US?” Jen Hatmaker, The 7 Experiment.
The food week of this study does a great job of drawing our attention back to the beginning of the Bible. Allllll the way back to creation. Have you ever read through the first chapter of Genesis and thought about what God gave Adam and Eve to eat?
“And God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, I have given every green plant for food.’ And it was so.” (Genesis 1:29-30)
So he didn’t originally give us the animals to eat?? Apparently I’d never caught this in all the years of Sunday sermons. Basically, we were all created vegans. But after the flood was when God gave us every living creature as a source of food. (Genesis 9) Then came the Levitical food laws, laying out exactly which animals were clean and unclean. (But really, BACON? No bacon?) All of the unclean animals listed forage on either animal carcasses or other waste. So all in all, that makes sense.
Have you ever thought of the food laws written in Leviticus as more than just legalistic rules? I think that Jen Hatmaker makes a great point in this chapter that God’s original plan for food was not just to set rules for us, but for us to be able to nourish our bodies as a source of worship for Him. Our bodies, these temples-though sinful and decaying-are His. Being good stewards of our bodies, as believers, glorifies Him in his plan for our lives.
Now, onto the part you are maybe most nervous about: the fasting.
What’s your plan? Are you going to forgo one meal/day and pray through the hunger? Are you going to eat as a certain people group from another place in the world?
I struggled with this chapter, a lot personally. I’ve been working through the book a little ahead of everyone else because I wanted to be sure to have time to take good notes and allow time for reflection so that whatever words were spilled out in this space would make sense. I hope they do.
You know what got me the most? It wasn’t the fast I did this week. It was what we are asked to do at the bottom of page 31. Turn there in your workbook if you have a chance.
Just one month ago, I was in a town in Guatemala where malnourishment affects 85% of the people. Almost the same percentage of people’s growth is stunted-both physically and mentally due to malnourishment. There are 12-year-old children who we would guess to be 5 or 6 due to their stature.
When I arrived on page 31 of The 7 Experiment, then counted my food items, I was absolutely embarrassed. I’m fortunate enough to have 342 items of food in my house, not including the baking goods and spices. And I still go to the grocery store on a bi-weekly basis. That is absolutely absurd, and I’m calling myself out on this gross amount of excess.
I was really kind of ruined for the fast after this count of my food items. I feel like I didn’t even really NEED to actually fast from food, but the Lord already made his point with that food count. Don’t get me wrong, I continued on with what I felt like was a good plan-for three days, all I ate were:
- Corn tortillas
- Latin American sauerkraut
- Fresh pineapple and bananas
I ate like a typical Guatemalan would, although probably a pay grade above a Guatemalan living in true poverty. After three days of this, I didn’t feel bored with the food, I actually really liked it, but I did feel like something was off. I continued to seek God’s face in prayer through the week and by Thursday, decided to skip my noon meal instead of eating beans and rice to see if I could, “hear more.” But I didn’t. Friday I skipped another lunch and then Saturday when I woke up it was really clear to me.
My eating habits are out of whack, not in the food I eat-because I already eat whole foods, organic and local vegetables, fruits and meat. We have our own chickens for eggs. But why in the world do I have so much food in the freezer and pantry? THAT is the excess found in my food consumption habits.
After I told my husband how many food items we had he said, “Please just assure me that we won’t quit going to the grocery store for 7 months or something.” Ha. Well, not quite, but we are going to be making use of the dry goods that are spewing out of our pantry and cupboards, the meat in our freezer and the excess eggs in our fridge. We’re abundantly blessed with the opportunity to afford good food, not so we can store it away in our house, but so we can nourish our bodies with it.
So…what are you thinking about going into the food week?
Have you thought about your fast?
Have you counted your food items yet?
Is there anything specific about the way you think about food that you are going to confront this week?
I’d love to hear what’s going on in your head as you read this week. And remember, don’t let this food chapter seem like a bunch of rules and regulations.
“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” (1 Cor. 3:16-17)