Studying to excel, obeying our parents, and doing ministry are only some of the hard things we need to do.
We usually strive to do something that will impress others, but we often neglect one thing that will impact our lives first: eating healthy foods. In reality, this is a really hard thing, especially for teenagers and young people.
This was an issue for me during my childhood and teen years. Unfortunately, fast food habits and binge-eating tendencies led to issues that affected me physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
Eating healthy may not be the ultimate goal to achieve, but it’s something that can help us do other hard things better. Here are three reasons why:
It’s a form of worship.
Worshiping God is one of the hardest things to do, especially when we’re surrounded with other pleasing things such as food. Personally, I can’t focus completely on Jesus when I’m full from eating junk food.
This proves that our body is the Holy Spirit’s temple (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), and we can worship God with undivided attention by keeping his temple clean from junk food.
It’s difficult to keep our thoughts, emotions, and spirits pure while eating unhealthy food, because our physical choices usually reflect our spiritual condition. In my case, poor food choices are results of my longings for approval, food idolatry, and self-worship.
Daniel and his friends had the choice to compromise and follow Nebuchadnezzar’s orders, but they worshiped God by choosing vegetables and water over royal food and wine (Daniel 1:5-14). The Lord rewarded them for their faithfulness by making them healthier, stronger, and more knowledgeable than all the others (Daniel 1:15-20).
It teaches us satisfaction and dependence on God’s strength and provision.
Depending on God is another hard thing. As we strive to meet our needs, we feel more insufficient by discovering that only God can satisfy our deepest longings for love and fulfillment. Sometimes, instead of letting God satisfy our longings, we still try to gain control and cope by eating unhealthy food.
My unhealthy eating experiences revealed my doubts on God’s ability to satisfy my needs. After consuming a pack of sweets to feel better, I only felt more dissatisfaction, plus guilt, shame, and remorse.
If we keep using unhealthy choices to cope with our insufficiency, we keep resisting God’s strength and provision. This produces increasing discontentment that seeks more artificial and temporary satisfaction. This happened to Adam and Eve when they craved for more than what God provided, and eventually, they disobeyed him (Genesis 2:16-17).
The Lord has provided us healthy food choices because he knows what’s good for us. Once we appreciate God’s provision and let him control us, including food choices, only then can we experience real satisfaction found in Christ alone.
It helps us face responsibilities and manage priorities.
We always have mundane, hard tasks to finish, but our attention span gets shorter as we feel overwhelmed, bored, and distracted.
In my case, I try relieving momentary stress by eating delicious, yet unhealthy treats, to escape responsibilities. They pacified me that moment, but only created bigger gaps between me and my goals afterwards, which made me more frustrated.
God reminds us that the one who’s unwilling to work shall not eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Once we reaped the fruit of our labors, we must be good steward of our bodies by eating and drinking for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Healthy and nutritious foods aren’t usually distractions. They prepare our bodies, minds, souls, and hearts to do the hard work for God’s kingdom and become living testimonies.
We should focus on God who started and will complete his work in us (Philippians 1:6) because when we get tired, we can always gain strength by resting on our Father’s outstretched arms.
Think BIG, Start small
Eating healthy (and often times not as tasty) food is truly hard, especially for young people, but it starts from the mindset shift that Jesus is the real reward, not food. Use the acronym HEADS for ways to start choosing healthier things today.
Have eight hours of sleep daily.
Eat more home-cooked meals over fast food.
Avoid processed foods and keep fruits and vegetables within your reach.
Drink plenty of water because you might just be thirsty, not hungry.
Stress makes us overeat junk.
We have spiritual battles to fight, but holistic approaches shouldn’t be ignored, either. We can’t disregard our physical needs, especially with the kind of food we consume.
The Healthiest Life-Giving Food
Choosing to eat healthy food is just one of the many hard things we can do, but it still can’t replace knowing, believing, and loving Jesus Christ—the ultimate Source of food and our Bread of Life.