By Jade Whitehurst
I remember being so proud seeing the number 102 as I stepped onto the scale — my daily check-in after restricting myself to 700 calories a day. I was a 21-year-old college girl chasing “thin” instead of healthy and believing satan’s lies of inferiority. The starvation would eventually lead me to binge eating weekly because, “Well, I earned it.” It was a vicious cycle.
Satan used food to whisper his lies into my heart, but God left the 99 to reel me back in and remind me of HIS TRUTH: that food is not our enemy but a good and gracious gift from Him to use for His glory! I am so thankful that God pulled back the curtain on the lies I was believing, because what the enemy meant for evil, God is turning to good! He has opened doors for me to share a healthier, more godly mindset around food. We do not have to fear it, be controlled by it, or forego the value and importance that food plays in our lives.
I get it: It’s hard to discern what’s good and bad with all the diet fads out there. However, let me remind you that we serve a God who knows our genetic makeup better than any scientist, doctor or diet expert. He provided just the right kinds of foods to His people thousands of years ago.
I find it interesting that the original sin in the garden of Eden involved diet. This is not a new struggle for us. Adam and Eve ate the “forbidden fruit,” which is what they selfishly wanted, instead of enjoying the abundance of other fruits and veggies around them that God allowed! Similarly, we have all rebelled against God and sought after things that are not good for us, including foods that were never meant to be consumed. It should not surprise us that what we consume often consumes us. My story is a prime example. I craved being thin, so much so that I withheld foods and labeled them all bad. However, it only left me deficient, malnourished and frail.
So how do we approach food with a godly heart? We must first understand that food is a gift from God. It nourishes us down to a cellular level. Therefore, when we approach food, let us be mindful that it is an act of honor and worship to Him. As a generation, we have become so accustomed to food. It’s so easily accessible to us. So much so, that it is seen as an expectation instead of a blessing. However, when we put food in its rightful place and see it not just for its purpose, but the heart of God’s design behind it, our hearts cannot help but rejoice, give thanks, and honor God.
I recently read Dr. Rex Russell’s book “What the Bible Says About Healthy Living,” which I highly recommend. Dr. Russell lays out three principles to apply in our diet that I do my best to adhere to. I believe these principles are a good way to help keep our mindset, hearts, and God’s design in their rightful places as we approach food.
- Eat only substances God created for food — fruits, veggies, nuts, lean meats, etc. — and avoid what is not designed for food (Genesis 1:29, 9:3).
- As much as possible, eat foods as they were created — before they are changed or converted into something humans think might be better (genetically modified, synthetic or man-made foods).
- Avoid food addictions and do not let any food become your god. God has given us good food to eat; however, it must stay in its rightful place. Let us run to God, not to food, for our comfort and joy.
Taking this approach in my own health (although I am not perfect), I have found keeps me from straying back to my old ways. It puts food and my thoughts in their rightful place — at the feet of Jesus. When I see food as a way of honor and worship to the loving Father, my heart is set right before I even eat.
My prayer for you is that these tips give you freedom in Christ to enjoy what is good and perfect in His sight — not to feel restricted or defeated. May we learn from Adam and Eve that God can be trusted and that we lack nothing. Praise be to God for loving us so!
Jade Whitehurst is a wife, mom, fitness coach and eighth-grade science teacher. You can follow her on Instagram @jadewhitehurst_fit (aka The Faith Fit Mom).