When you join the military they control your life. This truth became quickly apparent when I went to basic combat training (BCT). One of the goals of BCT is to get you in good physical condition.
I can recall the drill sergeants telling us that it was their job to make sure that we were in good shape before BCT was over. One of the drill sergeants stood before us and told us that he thought of our bodies as sports cars. He said that no one in their right mind would put bad fuel into an expensive sports car. And he saw part of his job as helping us to see that our bodies were like those sports cars he spoke of. With that in mind he said we should be careful what we put into our bodies when we went through line at the chow hall or dining facility. They were not allowed by Army regulations to tell us what we could eat, but they had the right to exercise any harmful foods out of us if they felt it was necessary.
No doubt the drill sergeants were right to tell us that putting garbage into our bodies was not a decision that set us up for success in our physical training program, but the Bible gives us a better reason that goes beyond mere physical fitness.
The Bible teaches us that we were created in the image of our loving God (Genesis 1:27) and I believe the Bible when it outlines what happened during that creation week. We are told that God spoke things into existence all that week, but when it came time to create man, the Lord formed us out of the dust of the earth, blew into our nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). I submit to you that since God created us it's only reasonable to assume that He knows best what should go into our bodies by way of food. That's why the Lord gave guidelines from the very beginning as to what we should or should not be eating.
The very first diet given to mankind was a plant-based vegan diet. This is spelled out in Genesis 1:29 where God said, "See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food." Meat did not become a part of the diet until after the flood (Genesis 9:3). But even when meat entered the diet there were some things that were allowed and others that were not.
Some think that the distinction between clean and unclean meats came along as a special law for the Jews, but the truth is that the distinction was always there long before there were any Jews. We see this when Noah was instructed by the Lord Himself regarding the number of animals to bring into the ark. Noah was to bring seven of every clean beast and only two of the unclean (Genesis 7:2). But some would ask, "If people were not eating meat prior to the flood, why did clean and unclean matter?" That's a great question and the answer is really simple. They were only allowed to use the clean beasts for the sacrifices for sin. Had they brought only two of a particular clean animal and then sacrificed one to the Lord the species would have died out.
But the Old Testament is not the only portion of the Bible that concerns itself with our diet. Paul taught us in 1 Corinthians 10: 31 that everything we eat or drink should be done to God's glory, not for our own selfish indulgence. Some think though that the distinction of meats being clean and unclean was done away with in the New Testament. Many look to Peter's dream in Acts 10 where Peter is commanded to arise and eat various unclean animals as evidence that we can now simply eat anything we want as God's people. The truth is that the dream was not about food at all really. The food was simply a metaphor for people. In Peter's mind--as with all other Jews--if you were not Jewish then you were unclean. But Peter realized through his dream he was to call no man unclean (Acts 10:28). The dream was simply to prepare Peter to share the gospel with the Gentiles.
In short friends, we still exist in the image of God. Yes, that image has been marred by thousands of years of sinful living by all humanity, but we still bear God's image to some degree none the less. And the fact has not changed that God wants us to be healthy and happy (3 John 1:2). He still knows what's best for our bodies. We still should eat and drink only to glorify God. I have people tell me that Jesus nailed the distinction between clean and unclean meats to the cross. But as I read the Bible I discover that Jesus died to cleanse sinners, not hogs or any other meats that the Lord calls an abomination.(1 John 1:9).
Some may see this posting as a call for wide-spread vegetarianism, but that is not the case. My goal is to cause you to stop and think about what you put into your body because as a Christian it is not really your body at all. Paul gave us other counsel in 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 that reminds us that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and that is because we were bought with a price. We were first bought through creation, and were repurchased through the blood of Jesus. That is why Paul said "therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's"
So my question to us all today is, "Are we glorifying God with our bodies, or are we living however we want eating and drinking whatever we want?" May we all purpose to glorify God in the bodies He has so graciously given us.
Dear Father in Heaven,
Thank You for caring so much about us that You did not leave our diet up to chance. Thank You for guiding us even in our diet. We realize that You only want us to be happy and healthy so please teach us to embrace Your teaching as it relates to our diet. We give You thanks and praise in Jesus' name, Amen.