Are you aware that you have a relationship with food? Yes, food. A give and take, up and down, love and hate, daily interactive relationship with all things edible. We all have one.
There is no escaping this relationship. We have to eat in order to live, so there is no breaking up with food either. It is a long term relationship with only short term benefits if we are not careful to cultivate and invest in quality over quantity.
Food, in all its forms whether good or bad, healthy or indulgent, creates a response within our minds and bodies similar to relational dynamics. For example, food can create longing, fulfillment, satisfaction, fond memories, cravings, desire, as well as disdain, disappointment, and disgust. Just like our closest relationships with the ones we love, or love to avoid.
I am not a nutritionist, dietitian, or eating disorder expert, however I am a bulimia expert because I lived it. I misused, abused, and confused the created purpose of food for over fifteen years. Yet I survived and, by the grace of God, overcame my abusive relationship with food.
Whether you struggle with stress-eating, overeating, under-eating, obsessive-compulsive eating, addictive eating, or misguided fasting, these are all red flags waving toward the metaphorical “bull-y” who wants to sabotage your relationship with your Creator.
The “bull-y” is Satan and he knows the beauty of the sustenance provided by the Sustainer in the Garden of Eden. He also knows how to take a consequence of sin and use it to beat and shame us to spiritual death if we allow him.
Genesis 3:23 (NLT) tells us, “So the Lord God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made.” In the abundance of fresh food in the garden, Satan used the one forbidden fruit to tempt Adam and Eve away from the promises of God. And when God in turn used the provision of food as a consequence of sin, that man would “struggle” to provide food and only eat by the “sweat of his brow”, Satan the opportunist knew he had the “thorns and thistles” to perpetually keep mankind from the promises of God (Genesis 3).
Your struggle with food is no coincidence. Your struggle is both ordained and manipulated.
Ordained by God as an avenue of dependency on Him and Him alone. Manipulated by Satan as an avenue of temptation to sin, to keep you isolated and alone. Satan is crafty enough to trick you into making food your “god”, your false comforter and sustainer.
Real food with heaven sent seed and source, as created by God, is intended to nourish and sustain. Like any healthy relationship, it must be cultivated, whereas processed food is just a cheap way to be fed, a substitute for the real thing.
Are we cultivating a healthy relationship with food as God ordained, or are we using, and perhaps abusing, food as a substitute for deeper spiritual longings? Longings that can only be fulfilled in Christ.
Substituting food as a means for control, fulfillment, or satisfaction minimizes Jesus and His substitution for our sin. I was guilty of this for many years, until Jesus opened my spiritual eyes to His Will and His Way.
We are called by God to cultivate a healthy relationship with food, but first we must submit to our dependency on Him. Until I truly surrendered to God, Satan continued to manipulate and sabotage my relationship with Jesus via food.
Every diet in the world will only keep you focused on food; only God will help you cultivate your relationship with food.
Remember Jesus encourages us in Hebrews 12:15 (NLT) to “work at living in peace with everyone”, but not with every calorie! He continues in Hebrews by saying, “and work at living a holy life”.
Our relationship with food is often a sign of a deeper spiritual longing that can only be satisfied in Christ. Cultivation equals work. And work invested in our deeper spiritual hunger for Jesus leads to holy and healthy eating and living.