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Food and Drink (Part 3) - Our Diet Should Not Become Our Religion

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VI. Our diet should not become our religion.

1. The kingdom of God is not meat and drink (Rom 14:17).
A. Our diet should not be an issue of fellowship in the church.
B. Brethren should not be telling each other what they should or should not eat from a spiritual perspective.

2. Some people teach that the food we eat can defile the temple of God which is our body (1Co 3:16-17).
A. First of all, the temple of God in 1Co 3:16-17 is the local church body, not the human body.
i. Paul, writing to the local church in Corinth (1Co 1:2), told them that they collectively (ye) were the temple of God (1Co 3:16-17).
ii. The context of vv.16-17 is the construction of the local church by God's ministers (1Co 3:9-11).
iii. The temple of God in this context is the spiritual body of the local church (1Co 12:27).
B. Secondly, it is sin (such as fornication) that will defile our bodies which are the temple of God (1Co 6:18-20), not food.
i. It is sin that defiles us (Mar 7:20-23).
ii. Defile v. - 1. trans. To bruise, maul: cf. defoul v. Obs. 2. To render (materially) foul, filthy, or dirty; to pollute, dirty; to destroy the purity, cleanness, or clearness of. 3. To render morally foul or polluted; to destroy the ideal purity of; to corrupt, taint, sully.
iii. Sin is the transgression of the law (1Jo 3:4).
a. Where there is no law, there is no sin (Rom 4:15).
b. There is no law in the NT forbidding us from eating certain foods, with the exception of blood, things strangled, and things sacrificed to idols (Act 15:29).
c. All other foods are permissible for us to eat (1Ti 4:4-5).
d. Therefore, no foods excepting the above mentioned are sinful to eat because there is no law against it.
iv. There is no food that we can eat that will defile us (Mar 7:15, 18).
a. The only thing that a man can eat that would defile him would be something that God's law prohibits such as blood or such as eating too much of something which is gluttony (more on that later).
b. Ingesting any particular food in moderation cannot defile a man, no matter how unhealthy that food may be.
v. It is what comes out of the mouth that defiles a man, not what goes into it (Mat 15:11; Jam 3:6).
vi. Therefore, the person that makes up dietary rules and imposes them on others in the church is the one that is sinning and defiling himself because he is judging his brother for something the Bible doesn't forbid and is therefore judging the word of God (Jam 4:11-12).

3. There is no Christian diet.
A. You can be a Christian and be a carnivore.
B. You can be a Christian and be a vegan.
C. You can be a Christian and be on a keto diet.
D. You can be a Christian and eat fast food.
4. We should not become obsessed with what we eat or don't eat.
A. Some people would not say that their diet is their religion, but they are so fanatical about what they eat that it may as well be.
B. There are people out there that are so obsessed with eating "clean food" that it has become a borderline mental disorder.
C. The term "orthorexia" has been coined to describe such people.
i. "Orthorexia occurs when people become so fixated on the idea of eating "cleanly," or choosing only whole foods in their natural state, that they end up imperiling their physical and mental health. Sometimes this means missing critical nutrients or not getting enough calories." (When Efforts To Eat 'Clean' Become An Unhealthy Obsession, NPR, 10-7-19)
ii. "Whether it's gluten-free, dairy-free, raw food, or all-organic, many people these days are committed to so-called "clean eating" — the idea that choosing only whole foods in their natural state and avoiding processed ones can improve health. It's not necessarily a bad thing to eat this way, but sometimes these kinds of food preferences can begin to take over people's lives, making them fear social events where they won't be able to find the "right" foods. When a healthful eating pattern goes too far, it may turn into an eating disorder that scientists are just beginning to study." (Ibid)
iii. "The rise of celebrity diet gurus and glamorous food photos on social media reinforce the idea that eating only certain foods and avoiding others is a virtue — practically a religion." (Ibid)
iv. "Now, Kronberg and other nutritionists applaud efforts to eat healthfully. The problem comes, she says, when you are so focused on your diet that "it begins to infringe on the quality of your life — your ability to be spontaneous and engage." That's when you should start to worry about an eating disorder, she says.

""In the case of orthorexia, it centers around eating 'cleanly' and purely, where the other eating disorders center around size and weight and a drive for thinness," she says.

"Sometimes these problems overlap, and some people who only eat "clean" foods miss critical nutrients from the foods they cut out or don't consume enough calories. "It could become a health hazard and ultimately, it can be fatal," Kronberg says." (Ibid)
v. "To treat it, "we have to look at the thought process and try to disentangle the beliefs that a person has. They become very entrenched," he says. "It's a very kind of gradual process for ... many in terms of trying to back out of a need to always check to see that, you know, locks are locked or that a food is not going to be harmful to them — cause their skin to break out or increase their risk of cancer," he says." (Ibid)

D. I suggest reconsidering your diet if any of the following things are true with you.
i. You are afraid to eat certain foods.
a. I'm not talking about people who have real diseases and food allergies such as celiac, peanut allergy, shell fish allergy, etc.
b. The above mentioned things cause people to get very sick (or even die) when they eat certain foods.
c. I'm talking about being afraid to eat foods that will not make you seriously, physically ill.
ii. You won't eat at public gatherings, such as potlucks, reunions, parties, etc., or you try very hard to avoid them.
iii. You feel that you must take your own food with you anytime you eat outside the house.
iv. You avoid eating at someone else's house because of what they might be serving.
v. Your diet makes it stressful for others who must try to work around your special food restrictions.
E. If any of these things are true of you, you really need to consider your ways.
i. This behavior is not in keeping with the Biblical exhortations to exercise moderation (Php 4:5) - more on this later.
ii. If taken too far, this concern for "clean eating" can become an obsession which is driven by fear (of sickness, aging, death, etc.) which becomes tormenting to a person (1Jo 4:18).
iii. God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of a sound mind (2Ti 1:7).

5. Our diet, like everything else, should be regulated by moderation (more on this in section VIII).