Food and the Christian Guy: Part 2, Loving People with Food

supernachosbeef_other2I was recently struck by a situation involving food.

Sam was working downstairs and I was feeding the our four kids some oh so delicious nachos. When God created the Garden of Eden, there was likely a tree that would provide nacho sauce in its sap. It is one of the most delightful and tasty foods out there.

You can read into this that I love nachos.

So I’m feeding the kids and enjoying nachos in (I think) appropriate moderation. Sam was late coming up the stairs so I made a plate of nachos for her and put it to the side before i served any more to the kids or myself. As I looked at that plate when dinner was done, I realized that idolizing the nachos would make me unable to love Sam well. If I pined after having an over-full belly with nachos, I would not be able to serve her and save as much for her as I thought she could want.

I’ve never really thought of idolizing food in terms of love before.

We’ve all seen the teenage boys that raid a meal and don’t think of others and eat all the food. Then, when someone comes later (often the cook of the food), there is none left for them. This is idolatry. It is loving the taste of the food at the expense of caring for the much more precious people around the food.

It is the difference between food being a wonderful servant or a terrible master.

It makes me wonder, if I saw someone who was hungry, would I rather give them my lunch to love them or keep it for myself. To be honest, this never would have occurred to me before this. Idols have that way of becoming rights. We are not grateful for rights, we just expect them.

And I guess my heart just expects food and I am willing to sacrifice the joy of others to get it. It seems so harmless until this became clearer to me.

I am actually much encouraged to see this. It feels like something I would never have noticed on my own and so it has the flavor of the Holy Spirit showing me. It feels good to get this written down in a place where you all can encourage me to kill this idol. It is good.

The lie I believed is that killing this idol would be a grueling experience. Maybe I have not plumbed the vile depths of it, but so far, it has been good. It feels much freer to have food as a servant and not a master. I can imagine it will be much more freeing once God has helped me put it into real submission to him.

I hadn’t mentioned it, but I am also on Weight Watchers. I will put my weight into this article once I get it on Monday afternoons for you to follow. It will look like this.

Current Weight: (to be placed here on Monday afternoon)
Last weeks weight: 287.7 lbs
Total weight loss since 1/13: 0 lbs

I would appreciate your accountability and support as well as comments.

-Chip

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Food and the Christian Guy: Part 1, My Idol

Raw-Meat-cat-food-natural-diet-1lI really like food. And I should be very precise by what I mean when I say food. Lest you believe that I am merely pursuing anything that is edible near me. By no means am I panting after all foods nearby.

By food, I mean meat.

You see, if a something at one point walked, swam, dug, or flew, it is probably delicious. God has created a world full of creatures that I am told to eat and will deeply delight in doing so.

But there’s a catch. More precisely, there’s an idol. To see more of how I came to this, read this post on my recent hermitage.

It is not that I love food too much. More likely, I don’t delight in it enough. The nature of an idol is not to say that I like something too much but that I love God too little. Food needs to be pulled into a correct place in my life. That is to say, my food choices should be God honoring ones and food should be delighted in as a gift from a loving Father.

There are a couple of reasons I feel food has become an idol. Some of them are a bit embarrassing for me to bring up, but like all idols, they whither a great deal when exposed to the light. So please pray for me and examine your own heart to see if you may be as foolish as I am.

One of the reasons I think food has an unhealthy hold on my life is that I am quite overweight. I weigh about 290 lbs. This doesn’t bug me too much except that I know I could look better for my wife (that really does sadden me) and that I am not setting a healthy example for my kids. I would not want them to gain weight like I have.

To be clear, we are obsessed with weight in our society. There are high metabolism gluttons and gym membership gluttons out there that are not fat. They go to the gym and work out so that can eat what they want but the sacrifice they make in time is paid for by their families. We worship at the altar of the fit body and not at the feet of a gracious God. Would I like a fit body? Absolutely! But why should I want a fit body.

  1. In our culture, being fit commands some respect and that can be used to spread the gospel.
  2. In the same way, a fat body can be a barrier to telling others about Jesus.
  3. I want my wife to be as delighted by my body as possible.
  4. A fit body has more energy to do good with (like wrestling on the floor with my kids).
  5. A fit body will likely come with a sharper mind that I need for my work and for better understanding God, my family, and my world.

Do I want a fit body for all of the reasons above? Probably not. But it would be tragic to successfully lose weight and feel better and have simply traded an idol of food for an idol of looking good. There is an epidemic of people who are fit because they idolize the praise of others. I don’t want to be that guy.

Back to the reasons I think I have a food idol. There are times that I am heading to bed and I am planning my meals for the next day. If you know me, I don’t plan much of anything. So if I am planning something, it is because I really like it. In my case, I think I am obsessed with it.

Often, I feel a sense of guilt while I eat and after I eat. This is not what God intended. Why is my conscience itching when I am eating? Probably because it knows that food is not holding its proper place in my life.

Finally, a strange thing I do. My wife doesn’t like to get gas in the cars. It’s one of her strange nuances (I think its actually cute). When I would go to the gas station, I would get gas and pay inside. When I paid, I would add two hot dogs and a soft drink. This way, I was getting the chili dogs and secretly using the gas budget to buy the chili dogs.

Now there is nothing wrong with buying hot dogs or even doing it as a treat when I get gas. So why would I secretly do this? Why would I hide that I was doing it? It’s not like I couldn’t use my spending money to buy a hot dog. It’s not a big deal.

But it is a big deal. It points to an evil living in my heart that wants to use the gas money to get more food so I can use my mad money on even more food. As I type this, I feel ashamed. How stupid does this sound?

Pretty stupid. But that’s because idols are stupid.

I have a problem. I want to address it. Thank you for joining me on this journey. Pray for me.

-Chip