I will begin by saying that health and nutrition are an important aspect of my life as a homemaker. I believe having knowledge about health and nutrition is invaluable as I care for my family and share hospitality with others. I the health knowledge I have gleaned from books, doctors, and friends as a way I can minister to the needs of my family, or anyone, if need be. However, I have learned, through time, that it is easy for my passion about health to become a sin. So I use great caution as I pursue a healthy lifestyle for my family. It is important that I keep my heart focused on glorifying God even in my strong perspectives about food and natural living. I believe all homemakers must keep their mindset toward health and nutrition in place, or it will become a sin. We must value God more than anything and rest in His sovereign power in our lives. So… heart check…
There are sins I have recognized that can come from a pursuit of health food and natural living. But people who don’t follow the natural path to health still foster the same sins. We all choose who we trust, whether it is a traditional doctor, a book, conference, vitamins, medicine, YouTube, or holistic doctor. We each try to choose what we believe is the wisest method of health for ourselves and our family. Those who eat traditional foods can still make a god of food by not having discipline over what they eat. Using conventional medicine can cause one rely on a nerve pill instead of lavender oil to control. Even in an illness, like cancer, one can try to control the outcome through natural methods or chemotherapy. It is important to consider the reasons we pursue health, so the sins we struggle with to health get addressed.
The following are six sins that I have dealt with in my life about my passion with health, nutrition, natural living and clean food:
1) A god- This is when natural living controls me. I think about it constantly. I spend too much money on healthy foods, cleaning supplies, supplements, water, or essential oils. Making healthy food becomes more important than spending time with my children. I might prove the time by saying I believe I am doing what is best for my family, but in the light of eternity, on my deathbed, I doubt I am will be sorry that I didn’t grow more micro-greens or grow more fermented vegetables. My children need me, far more than they need home-made yogurt. Food is not eternal. In fact, poor health, cancer, autoimmune disorders, are not eternal either. But those little souls watching me obsess about my false god of natural living, are eternal. Healthy eating is a temporary pursuit, not eternal one. It can also be a huge distraction from the eternal perspective I should have. Since it is my spiritual health that is of value, a chronic disease might be a gift from the Lord to draw my heart to His. No amount of healthy eating will stop His sovereign best. So, it is vital that I guard my heart against becoming a worshiper of health, and keep it in its place.
2) Control- healthy living gives illusion control. Essentially, God is sovereign over all things. Scripture states that “Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps” Psalm 135:6. Some extremely unhealthy eaters, can live to ripe old ages, while a gluten-free organic-kale-eater can get cancer and die in his twenties. It is easy to think that I have the power control the health of myself and my family through nutrition. That is when I am resting in my control, not God. Prayer might be a better pursuit.
Romans 9:19-21, Isaiah 45:9-10, Job 42:2, and many other passages in Scripture point out our frailty as the created, and God’s sovereignty as our maker. Ecclesiastes 3:3-8 speaks of the times and seasons given to men. We are unable to choose those seasons for ourselves. It is 100% God who dictates the times and seasons for each person. We must surrender our ideal, in exchange for the perfect design God has for our lives to bring Him glory.
I find great comfort in resting in God’s sovereignty, as I pursue nutrition and natural living. In fact, I can even seek out His wisdom in such matters. He can direct me to the right recourses and people, or bring ideas to my mind should I choose to ask. Sometimes He will show me a method that gives physical soothing or healing, other times it is opening my eyes to my need to surrender and accept my ailing flesh.
Now another aspect of control, is the mother who wants to control others, not just God through food. Like the mama who loses it when the nursery worker kindly gives her child a few fish crackers at snack time without seeking permission. Now, if there is a valid health concern, that scenario is different. But if Mama Bear is simply insisting everyone falls under her control about the preferential way of eating she has embraced, she has a problem. For while she might think she is upset that her child had goldfish crackers, she is really upset that she was not asked first. That mama wants control and uses food as a method to get that control. She wants to explain her story. She wants to make everyone in the nursery fall under the umbrella of her dietary restrictions for her child. Mama could use the goldfish crackers as a beautiful opportunity to show God’s grace to the nursery workers. Or she could put on bristle with attitude and completely destroy relationships and the testimony of Christ through her. See, we Mama’s forget that God loves our children more than we do. He can protect them from goldfish crackers if that is truly essential. But maybe God is most interested to see how Mama is going to respond in the given situation. If food is not used to bless, it becomes sin. It is not about Mama, or her baby…it is about God and His glory. Even Cheerios can be used to bring God glory, or cause strife. Mama needs to trust God for her baby, even when she is not asked about her eating standards.
3) Fear- I have often dealt with fear controlling my behavior not wisdom or sound doctrine from Scripture. Fear is a deceptive foe. It can make me feel justified in my pursuit of healthy eating far more than Scripture. I should never make decisions based upon fear, but fear is easy rely upon when it comes to health and safety. How often I have had my heart race after reading an article online about a health condition. I must first recognize my fear and stop. Fear is not from God. II Timothy 1:7 “for God gave us a spirit, not of fear, but of power and love and self-control.” If I find my heart is becoming consumed with fear about a health concern of myself or a loved one, I MUST get into the Word and regain my grasp on my Rock. Turning to solutions and answers in the world of nutrition or medicine will not solve my issue with fear. In fact, the sin of fear is more dangerous than to any physical illness. Illness is earthly, sin is eternal. Fear is sin. Fear is a lack of trust in God and a lack of submission to His sovereign plan. The only cure for any sin is a repentant heart, not an article discussing a cure for the health subject of concern. If my fear grows through my reading articles and mental ponderings, my joy in God slips away, and my mind becomes caged in by fear. At this point, godly counsel, prayer, and Scripture are the best recourse. Even when a heart caged in by fear, there is reason to rejoice, for the sin of fear is already conquered through the precious blood of Christ. I have the power in Christ to live a life free of fear and worry.
4) Unloving- I can find reasons in Scripture to eat well, but those reasons all fall under my created purpose to bring God glory. I do not bring God an ounce of glory if I neglect to partake in fellowship with others around food because simply because I am particular about what I eat. How many people would never know Christ if missionaries were particular about food instead of joining in the culture by eating the food of the culture? Food should never hinder the gospel. It would be wrong to decline an invitation to dinner out of concern of what might be served. Or go to a home and refuse to eat the food or negatively discuss the food. In fact, I don’t even do that with our extended family. Most of our family has no clue what we eat or don’t eat. They know I am health-conscious and careful, but when I have them over, or go to their homes, I serve foods they will enjoy and we eat the foods they serve without a word of concern. I trust God for His protection and best for us as I eat, and even enjoy foods served in love.
In our age of allergies, I find, most hostesses like myself try to serve the foods their company can eat, so I will ask guests what they like or can’t eat. Very often, I do not have difficulty preparing palatable foods within given limits. In fact, I enjoy the challenge of planning a menu within given perimeters. Food is a gift from God. It is a tool we can use to minister, comfort, and share in the gospel. Sharing food should unite people and help connect and build relationships. As a homemaker, I must use great caution that I never let food become something that causes discord. It isn’t worth damaging relationships over something as temporary as food. In Scripture, we are given a lot of leniency about food. It is truly a tool that we can use to remember and share in the gospel. Acts 10 and I Corinthians 8 beautifully discuss the food concerns of early believers. Our primary focus in our preparation and eating of food is to bring God’s glory through His gospel.
5) Pride- Oh my, this one is thick. I enjoy having knowledge of the human body, diseases, health issues, hormones, and the understanding of how to treat various issues through food avoidance and nutrition. However, I have found that it is easy to feel superior and more educated than those who have not read up on those subjects. I am being completely candid when I say that if I am not checking my heart, my chatter on health can have a fluting air. To God, pride is just as sinful as murder, so if healthy living draws out the sin of pride in me, I must be on guard while discussing health. “There are six things which the Lord hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood” Prov. 6:16-17. “Haughty eyes” means to look down on someone condescendingly.
I have left conversations feeling convicted about touting my knowledge on health. Yes, I am passionate and somewhat versed about health and natural living. But to feel like I am an expert on the subject is no place for my heart to go. Health perspectives are like fashion. They are always changing. How am I supposed to know what is true or best? I am not looking and studying cases and the chemistry with microscopes. Just the other day, my children’s pediatrician told me not to use lavender or tea tree oil on my children’s skin, because it mimics estrogen and can cause early puberty. Years ago, the health food, soy, had a falling out for the same reason. How can I claim with any certainty what is healthy at all? To feel I know the best way to feed my family or treat their illness is simply wrong. God is in authority over my children’s health and I undermine His authority by having an attitude of pride. Yes, He has given me responsibility for the care of myself and my family. But that responsibility MUST be held with a submissive, humble heart toward God and with others. If I am not humble and submissive in my knowledge, then I am in the sin of pride.
Pride shows its colors in other ways as well. For instance, I realized pulling out my “Badger sunscreen” at the pool was with a heart of pride. I hoped another mother who would wonder why I chose that kind of sunscreen vs. her version. In essence, I was bragging about my product of choice and knowledge of that product. After recognizing that version of pride, I am very careful not to display my natural favorites. I use them as discreetly as possible. No one needs to know what we use and why. In fact, it is doubtful they even care.
6) Ingratitude- There are poor families all over our world who live on diets of only rice or corn. Yet, they have hearts full of gratitude just to have a meal a day. I doubt they concern themselves with whether their rice is organic or if their mush has too much sugar. Because our culture is so wealthy, we have the luxury of food partiality. Sadly, our particularity is often shared with our lack of true gratitude. It is a sin not be grateful for our food if we are not wholeheartedly accepting it as a gift from God. For some reason, He has chosen to bless us with abundance of food. We have even an expanse of variety. We can choose whether we want quick oats, organic oats, gluten-free oats, or gluten-free organic quick oats. How petty of us to become obsessed with the GMO’s in our food. God, who made thunder and lightning, can certainly care for the bodies He created. Our sickness in America is not food intolerance and vaccinations, it is ingratitude. Several passages in Scripture address thankfulness. Ephesians 5:20 says, “giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” I can be equally grateful for a sugar laced, trans fat soaked doughnut given to be with a generous heart as the green smoothie I made myself for breakfast.
Healthy living is not healthy, if it causes us to sin.