December 19, 2013

Eating and drinking

This blog is called “Practical Faith” because I’m pragmatic. If there is no good reason for doing something, I’m apt to opt out. This is fine most of the time, but it also means that I’ve learned many tough lessons by refusing to obey God because I could not see any reason for His commands.
Practical faith is about purposeful living, with one main purpose. I’m supposed to glorify God and do so for all of life…

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Eating and drinking are ordinary activities that everyone does. Interesting that in the early history of the world, God mentioned these ordinary activities in describing the godlessness that brought judgment upon the earth…

For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark… (Matthew 24:38)

The text does not say that these activities were sinful, but the word used could mean “eating like the beasts” without any thought of food or gratitude to God for it. The description of life at that time also says that, “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5) and that “the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth” (Genesis 6:11–12).

From this and other passages, I understand that a Christian who has surrendered to the Lord will also sanctify eating and drinking by doing these ordinary activities in such a way that God is glorified.

How is that possible? I’m thinking of the hundreds of people I’ve watched in restaurants who overeat or drink too much alcohol and how that is usually not God-honoring. I also think of myself and my efforts to lose ten pounds. Is God glorified when I let Him control what I eat and how much? I suspect He is at least pleased with such decisions. So having self-control is one way. Other ways might include sharing meals with others, pleasant conversations at the table (many people fight at mealtime), and giving special attention to an attractive and tasty meal presentation for the sake of my family and guests.

Today’s devotional says that regard for the glory of God is like salt served up with every dish. The great work of my life is to glorify Him, even in my natural actions such as eating, sleeping, walking, and the like. I am a new creature, redeemed that I should glorify the Lord, not eat and drink as I please, any more than pray or worship or do Christian service as I please. All must be done in submission to God and that submission will glorify Him.

While on holidays and away from a normal routine, it is easy to slip out of good eating habits. I’m thankful for this reminder. What I eat and drink, and how I eat and drink isn’t just about health. It is even more important to glorify God. I need to keep that thought – in every restaurant and at every meal, and especially when we pass by those candy stores and chocolate factories.

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