My mobile phone has been playing up for months now, so I decided I would contact my network provider to complain. After being transferred to numerous departments, I was eventually informed that the solution was clearly outlined in my phone manual! Needless to say, I was embarrassed – especially after finding out I had missed out on many free benefits, too. I learnt a very real lesson that day: ignorance is not bliss!
In fact, the Bible regards ignorance as destructive(1), admonishing us to acquire knowledge(2), understanding and wisdom(3). One area of ignorance I’ve observed within the Ekklesia is that of healthy eating. Regrettably, so many of us remain ignorant of Bible-based dietary principles and, consequently, many reap a harvest of being overweight, obesity, poor health and worse, without fully appreciating why or more importantly how to remedy it. Although familiar with Bible verses confirming God as Healer(4), and the use of ‘naming and claiming’ healing Scriptures, for some that’s as far as it goes. God is indeed a healer and is powerful to heal, but that should not in any way justify or remove our responsibility to maintain our physical health through the provision of diet and lifestyle.
One of the ways God has made provision for our physical health is through food, drink and basic dietary principles throughout the Bible. He is without a doubt interested in our health(5), however a responsibility exists to gain and apply knowledge in order for us to benefit physically(6). What we eat impacts us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually thus affecting our ability to function. It is therefore a vital part of our Christian walk. Our bodies are temples of God, and we are instructed to glorify Him in our bodies(7) and present our bodies as a living sacrifice(8).
God created us with a requirement for a constant supply of energy (calories) in order to function well, and made provision for this through the supply of food. In addition, the food provides essential nutrients and components for our daily health and protection. Moreover, God in His love gives clear guidance on what constitutes food and a healthy diet and so, rather than the highly-processed options now readily available and accessible, He freely prescribed a diet consisting of minimally processed foods, primarily from the plant kingdom(9,10).
He also freely provided meats and fish as suitable dietary choices(11), and later distinguishes those fit for consumption(12,13). He gives us milk, cheese, yogurt and butter(14,15), and cautions us concerning the consumption of animal fat, blood(16, 17) and alcohol abuse(18).
Contrary to popular belief, these principles are not redundant. In fact, health professionals publicly advocate, for the most part, a diet and lifestyle similar to the principles outlined in the Bible: a minimally processed diet, based on the foods from the plant kingdom – fruits, vegetables, legumes, pulses, starchy carbohydrates; with small amounts of lean meat, poultry and fish, and dairy that is low in fat, sugars and salt – not dissimilar to the way Jesus Himself would have eaten. Diet and health are a global priority, which in my opinion the Ekklesia should be spearheading, particularly as the mandate was set out by God so many years ago, and actively adopted by Jesus and His disciples.
The Bible should be our atlas for life. As well as so many other things, contained within its pages are principles and guidance pertaining to a healthy lifestyle. As I continue to witness the levels of poor health within the Ekklesia, I am certain God is calling us all to a higher level of dietary and lifestyle practice. He is indeed the God that heals through various means, however it is much more than simply blessing what we eat and quoting Scriptures. As His beloved children, we have a responsibility to grow in divine knowledge, understanding and fresh revelation, which in due course will lead us into true wisdom and manifestation of His will fulfilled in us on earth, so that He ultimately gets the glory – and the area of diet and lifestyle is no exception.
Nicola Burgher is an experienced public health nutritionist, speaker and author of The Creator’s Diet series. She is also nutrition spokesperson for Premier Christian Radio. To find out more about The Creator’s Diet or to order a copy online, log on now at www.nicolaburgher.com.
References: 1) Hosea 4:6, 2, 2) Timothy 2:15, 3) Proverbs 4:5,7, 4) Exodus 15:26, 5) 3 John 2, 6) Daniel 1:5, 7) 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 8) Romans 12:1, 9) Genesis 1:29, 10) Genesis 3:18, 11) Genesis 9:1-4, 12) Leviticus 11, 13) Deuteronomy, 14) Deuteronomy 32:14, 15) Isaiah 7:21-22, 16) Leviticus 3:17, 17) Leviticus 7:23-24, 18) Ephesians 5:18