Thursday, January 17, 2013

Out of the Health Maze, Into God's Peace - Part 4


Love versus Pride

I noticed a disturbing result of my health research: pride. 
Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.” (1 Corinthians 8:1) 
My health research affected how I looked at myself and others. When I served my children homemade yogurt and whole-grain sourdough bread for breakfast, I began to look down on the mother who feeds her children sugar-laden breakfast cereal. At the grocery store, I looked with disdain at the shopping cart loaded with processed food.

The Lord wants my heart to overflow with love, not facts on the danger of high fructose corn syrup. He wants me to share the joy of the Lord with my fellow shoppers at the grocery store, not criticize their food choices. While I may choose to eat or not eat certain foods, I need to remember that those are preferences—not convictions.

If the Lord calls me to serve Him in a place where my preferred foods are not available, will I refuse to go? Jesus told his disciples, “And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you.” (Luke 10:8) If I can't eat raw milk, real butter, and freshly-ground whole wheat flour, will it really matter in eternity? But it will matter if my heart is lifted up in pride and I refuse to demonstrate love. “Charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.” (1 Corinthians 13:4) 

When I am a guest, I can cheerfully eat the food served to me even if it isn't what I typically eat. (Of course, there are exceptions for true dietary needs or allergies—I'm speaking here of preferences, not needs.)

Love will also keep me from looking with contempt at those whom I consider radical in their diet. Somehow I think I have found a good balance, and anyone more or less strict than I am is incorrect. When I roll my eyes at a friend's diet preference, I should remember that others may think my kefir culturing in a jar on my counter is equally bizarre. 

Love will seek to understand another's dietary preferences or needs. It means not being offended when my diabetic friend chooses not to eat some food I have lovingly prepared. It means not forcing my guests to eat sourdough pizza when I know they are not accustomed to such food. 

Love goes both ways—to the one whose diet I consider strict or lenient. “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35) 

We will wrap up this series in the next post.

How does love affect your attitude toward others as it relates to the issue of health?

Read the whole series - Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5

20 comments :

  1. This is honestly the best series on health and food choices from a Godly perspective that I have ever read. Love is the key to everything in life - and if something gets us out of God's love, then we need to repent. I had really never looked at it concerning food like you've brought out. I have had health struggles and have really struggled with what I feel we should be eating vs. what we can afford. I feel like God has been leading me to not only seek him first regarding food choices, but to trust him to make up the for the short-comings. This series is proving to be great confirmation. :-) Thanks, Gina!

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  2. Great post - thanks for sharing. This is something I've been working on. Sometimes loving someone is sharing your concern for their health choices with them, but other times loving them is keeping your mouth shut!

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  3. Gina, you have spoken words that I could have on so many things! I have often found myself looking down on others because I was making "better" choices. Thank God you are choosing best for your adorable family and that you are seeing those choices through right eyes.

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  4. This has been a great topic, and like you, I have questioned the same things and found that they do not line up with Gods word. They are not healthy but unhealthy because they do not line up with Gods truth.

    Thanks for sharing your struggles, and for aligning it to Gods truth. For the truth sure does set us free.

    Christine

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  5. Gina, I love what you said here. I've seen both sides of this issue. I know people who eat uber-healthy and almost make a god out of it and scorn those who eat processed foods. On the other hand I know other people who eat anything, not caring at all what they put into their bodies and scoff at the "health nuts". I like how you said: Love goes both ways—to the one whose diet I consider strict or lenient. “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35)


    I like to think that I've somehow struck a good balance between the two. Ha. Funny how we like to think that we are always balanced. It makes me laugh at myself just thinking about that!

    Thanks for sharing this.

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  6. I have been loving these posts! Your words and quotes from Scripture have really been a blessing to me. I can get so fearful or have tons of guilty feelings about my children eating even graham crackers that they decorated with sprinkles (food dye!)... Thanks for sharing verses and thoughts I can remind myself of when I get too crazy.

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  7. oh my! so i'm not the only one that has dealt w/ pride issues over food preferences! thank you for your honesty, gina, & by doing so, challenging me, too!

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  8. Didn't want to wait until the end of the series to say Thank you for your insights! Especially the scripture references. May Gods glory be the ultimate goal in our health and diet ambitions!
    Being reassured of this allows you to do away with both the pride and guilt that bombards us!
    -Simone

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  9. What a great series. Can't wait till the next post. So much truth - thank you for putting it together.

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  10. I think this hits the nail on the head! I heartily say AMEN.

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  11. Well done, Gina. Thank you for writing out this series with so much thought and love.

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  12. Dear Gina,
    Thank you for honestly addressing issues that go along with this subject. I think they must have had similar issues
    way back when Paul was prompted to write Romans 14. That chapter gave me peace about eating for health but also blessing those who honestly want to bless me with a meal including food I don't have on my normal dinner table. God bless you for sharing.
    Marcia

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  13. Thank you for the call to love. You are right...so much pride enters into this issue. I see it rampant in my own heart. While I care very much about nutrition, I don't want it to be usurped by things that are more important. As Apostle Paul wrote just before the love chapter, "There is a more excellent way..."

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  14. "Knowledge puffeth up...", but it also creates guilt. The more I know and read, the more I want to change myself and others, yet I look in my OWN grocery cart and feel guilty about some of the choices in there.

    This is a great series and I thank you for writing it. I know that I spend more time thinking about food, growing it, planning it, cooking it and shopping for it than I do on anything else. That must be wrong and I need to find my own balance in there while still caring for my family's nutrition.

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  15. Not to sound odd or anything but, why does everyone want to live forever? Those who wright health books are usually are trying to find the fountain of youth. Our Lord suffered every day of his life (just imagine if you became a cockroach! All powerful God became a limited man who could feel pain!), when we suffer we are sharing His lot.
    Any time I say why does God do this to me; my husband says “Because He loves you!”
    Don’t get me wrong I think the best way to eat food is the way God made it, but food is nothing in comparison to the life of another’s soul and how to help them get closer to God.

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  16. Gina, thank you very much for sharing your heart in this area... I've had ebbs and flows in my commitment to eating healthful foods vs. good ol' comfort grandma's home cooking. When I'd be eating/serving healthful foods, I'd be proud of myself for doing so -- when I'd prepare all of our childhood favorites with no thought for "contents" I would sometimes eat with guilt over my own food!
    Reading your post reminded me of a hurt I experienced a few years back... My husband and I visited a conservative, home-schooling church and were invited to their "fellowship meal" the following Sunday. It was Valentine's Day so I brought a prettily decorated Strawberry Cake. I heard murmers over it and parents telling children, "no, no" as they stood beside it on the table. I took home a fully uncut cake that day.
    It was during one of my own "ebbs" in the area of healthful eating so I understood where they were coming from, but, oh, the picture it made for me... and my husband.
    I will be copying these lessons out to study and share with my girlfriends in the future. Thank you so much!
    Lori
    Texas

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  17. Thanks for bringing this up. I totally struggle with being critical of certain ladies who overuse sugar (even tho their own families are diabetic).
    Personally, I am forced to eat very differently (my children have corn and many other allergies). We have gotten used to it and like our food, but I am very hard put to make any dessert/snack that other people deem edible. This becomes a real problem when the youth group comes or when inviting company. Anyhow :)

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  18. ah how these posts touched my heart, I too have been on a journey to completely change our diet to all whole foods, and I too have found myself looking down on other mom's that did not choose my choice. Thank you for posting. God bless.

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  19. Wow, it seems like being critical of other's choices is a common problem! I know I've struggled with it myself. Although it always makes me laugh to watch someone ahead of me in the grocery line load white bread, canned soup and processed snacks on the belt and then throw on a gallon of organic milk! I appreciate what you've said about love here. I need to show myself more grace too, instead of worrying about what my more healthful friends will think about what we eat or fretting because I don't have the time or finances to do everything I think is better.

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  20. I find these health articles very interesting. I have had no choice but to dig into the study of foods and nutrition due to a serious diagnosis that "has no cure". Since our bodies are "a temple for the Holy Ghost" then I feel a responsibility to keep the "temple" as clean as possible. After all the studies now for the past seven years I have determined the following: 1) stay away from white sugar, we don't need the bleach and processing and it is extremely hard on the body. I substitute pure maple syrup and honey. Some use coconut sugar or stevia. Also I avoid all "sugar substitutes" and absolutely the high fructose corn syrup. These are the things I find to be the most harmful. 2) white flour. Again we don't need the bleach or processing and because the wheat doesn't have the time to stand in the fields after harvest like in the old days, the body doesn't break it down well and processes it just like its a sugar. It's not a good carb. Flour is one area where you want "sprouted and organic" regardless of the flour you are using. 3) soda pop. All kinds. If you drop a tooth in it, it will rot and turn black. If you drop your jewelry in it, it will come out clean as a whistle because of the acid. If you drop a piece of meat in it, it will disintegrate! It's great for scrubbing out the bathtub and apparently car engines! These are the big ones. I also include all processed foods myself. If I can't pronounce the ingredients or don't know what they are then I'm not eating it. I've also heard someone say that if it doesn't rot, don't eat it! An example she gave of that being margarine or store bought pastries. And I avoid soy or corn unless organic since I've heard that as much as 95% of this country's crops are genetically modified. If our bodies have been bought and paid for by Jesus then they belong to him and I feel an obligation to take care of it. "Food" these days just aren't what they were a hundred years ago. Be well!

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I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!

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