Matthew 3: 4 “And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey”
I was reading the story of John the Baptist in the Bible just the other day. He was a man who was moved so much by the love and fear of God that he dedicated his whole life to getting to know the heart of the father further. He lived in utter seclusion in the wilderness, with no organized lodging, no fancy clothes of the day, no people to talk to, and certainly no delightful meals to fancy his palette. In fact, he ate merely locust and honey, a pretty complete meal from a dietitians point of view, but quite bland and sad when compared to the broad array of food we have today.
He lived this "bland" boring lifestyle, for years as he prepared to preach of Christ coming for just a short while, before he had his head cut off.
What a love for God this man had to have had.
And as a Christian myself, I can’t help but wonder if I would be willing to do the same? Would I be willing to let go of the “nice” clothes of the modern day, the fancy air conditioned lodging, social media, television, my social circle, then go to the wilderness alone without the delicacies of flavorful food, just to hear Gods voice and bring people to God for a few months before I was killed?
Unfortunately, the story of John the Baptist is a far cry for how many of us live our lives today, myself included. We are lucky if we even hear God speaking to us over the never ending pursuit of worldliness that permeates our western culture.
And as a dietitian, I can’t help but parallel how we view food today to how John the Baptist viewed food. He was so focused on God that food was seen as purely nourishment for him. Locust and honey was all he needed. He seemed to crave nothing more.
His body was merely a vessel that he possessed just for a little while, and food was just nourishment to fuel it. Food was not entertainment, it was not an emotional crutch, nor was it a medium for vanity.
His story teaches us that the higher we put God on our list of priorities, the lower we prioritize the riches and comforts of this world, which includes food.
John's relationship with food makes you think of how we view food today in America.
I know that at least here in the south, there is food at every corner and more than likely whatever your mind wishes for is no more than 15 minutes away. Food has been curated to fuel our fast paced money chasing life. As many of us are running the rat race for money and earthly desires, food is conveniently placed all around us to further anchor us to our fleshly desires and to solidify the mindset that we can have whatever we want.
And even more ironic is the fact that it seems there is more access to unhealthy pleasurable foods and restaurants in the Bible-belt than any where in the U.S. For us to be a people that should be focused on the things not of this world, we sure do put a lot of emphasis on food.
After church we often flock to restaurants in droves to feed our physical bellies what it desires. It makes you wonder if there is a parallel between our relationship with food and our desire to focus on things not of this world? I once heard someone say that the church is the most well fed body in America, and unfortunately they were not talking about spiritually. Perhaps this is all to true?
The reality is that our way of living in regards to food and general lifestyle, is a far cry from John the Baptist, who was satisfied with little, because he was satisfied with much.
How can we start viewing food like John the Baptist?
When I read the story of John, I think of Proverbs 30:8 “Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me. A verse that reminds us that our desire for fanciful or comforting food is a reflection of our love for earthly pleasures and vice versa, and a verse that is a direct reflection of John's life.
Meditating on this short and simple verse, can remind us to be grateful of what we have, and to be satisfied with minimal earthly pleasures. It reminds us to only eat food convenient for us, which means only eating what you need in both quantity and quality and being grateful at the same time.
I encourage you to try meditating on this verse when you find you are overindulging in food or any other earthly pleasures. I also encourage you to pray the words of this verse. It is a powerful thing to ask God to remove from you vanity, and give you neither poverty of riches. It could be the difference between you living as a friend of the world or a follower of Christ.
We may not be John, or our great Lord and savior Jesus Christ who he paved the way for, but if John can eat locust and honey in the wilderness for years daily, and abandon the delicacies of his day, then we can at least focus on not over-indulging in food and eating food that we know to be healthy for our temple.
The closer we grow to God, the easier this will become.
Remember that like John, your body is just a temple that we merely possess, and food is just the medium we are using to nourish it.
I hope this gives you new perspective on what God sees as “convenience food” verses the worlds version of convenience foods which consist of meals available on every corner that seek to appease yet another desire of our flesh.
Overall, in today’s world, food has become “convenient” for our lifestyle, but not our spiritual walk, and when we prioritize God above all else, we are able to form a more balanced perspective of food.
I hope you enjoyed this “food for thought”. Much Love!