Lately I’ve been studying about nutrition – learning how to incorporate whole grains into our meals, which proteins are the leanest, and what fruits and vegetables help counteract which physical ailments. I’m trying to lose weight, but I don’t want any “fad” diet that makes the numbers on the scale plummet too quickly; for I know that kind of diet can’t be kept up long term. Those kinds of diets are usually low in key nutrients, and they end up having negative effects in the long run. I want something that can turn into a “lifestyle” for me and my husband. A way we can both still enjoy our food, and have enough to satiate our appetites, but still glean as many nutrients as possible and maintain (and/or get down to) a healthy weight.
It has been an interesting study, to say the least. I’ve learned about plenty of short-term diets that I never knew existed. I’ve learned about key vitamins or minerals that most Americans are missing in their diets. I’ve learned about a different approach to food, centering meals around plant-based foods without giving up the meat and fish that we enjoy (no, I could never go vegan).
But I’ve had another thought struggling to be heard through all this new information I’m taking in. A thought that was already planted there long ago, while I was growing up. A specific verse, which mentions eating and drinking. You can probably guess what it is (especially if you’ve ever been to the Wilds): “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Even as I seek to live a healthful life, to take care of the body God has given me, His temple, it is not my greatest priority. Yes, I am a steward of this body until the day it dies or the Savior returns for me. Yes, I am to take care of it so that I don’t cause myself unnecessary illness or afflictions. But eating well is not my primary goal in life! Living well is not to be my obsession!
Glorifying God is.
Think about it for a moment. To obsess is to “dominate or preoccupy the thoughts, feelings, or desires…. to think about something unceasingly or persistently; dwell obsessively upon something.” Isn’t that what we practice regularly, as we consider how much or how little to eat, how to exercise, what to wear, how to do our hair or makeup? We obsess over our bodies; we are unceasingly preoccupied with our selves.
Yes, living healthfully is a good thing, and contributes to a good testimony. Yes, we are to take care of our bodies. But through it all, we are to glorify God. He alone is to be our obsession, our constant preoccupation. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with taking some time to study about healthful eating or good forms of exercise; I’m not saying we shouldn’t care about how we look or whether we’re overweight. But as we consider those things, we must determine to do only what will exalt God’s name, what will glorify and please Him. We must do those things in a way that our own bodies do not usurp His place in our hearts and minds. We must take care to still meditate on His Word more than anything else, to feed on Scripture and fill ourselves with His commands and promises.
And you know, if we are preoccupied with Him, if our minds and hearts are fixed solely on Him, then He will guide us to the right way of living. If we are feasting on His Word day after day, then He will provide what we need in order to live how He has commanded us to. If we are studying His promises, they will give such a greater sense of well-being than living healthfully ever could hope to provide. We must “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).
We must obsess in God.