Junk Food! Why I Don’t Eat Junk Foods!

 

junk food

Junk Foods! Why I Don’t Eat Junk Foods

Why I Don’t Eat
Junk Foods

  • Are you a Christian who wants to glorify God with your physical body?
  • Would you like to eat in a healthy way and avoid the junk food
    that is so prevalent in our day?
  • What are some of the leading Scriptural and practical reasons
    why I don’t eat junk food?

Preface

Junk foods! Unhealthy food! Healthy and Unhealthy food! Junk Food! You may wonder, “Why don’t I eat junk foods?”

Junk food. Unhealthy food. Healthy and unhealthy food. The subject of food is an ever-popular topic of conversation and a frequent focus for written articles.  This ranges from the newest recipe, to the latest diet, to the TV cook’s recommendations.  Many of these articles and talk shows deal with how we can make our diet more delicious and appetizing or how we can cut the calories to lose the extra pounds.

What does God think about our diet?  Specifically, what does He think about the ubiquitous “junk food” that most people make a major portion of their daily fare?  Is He at all concerned about such a mundane subject?  If so, what does He think about what we eat?

Let’s explore this relevant topic of food by asking about junk food.  I’ll be addressing this in a personal way, thus I’ve entitled this article, “Why I Don’t Eat Junk Food.”  I hope that you will read it with interest and profit, for the glory of God.

Why I Don’t Eat 

Junk Foods

Junk food! Unhealthy food! Healthy and unhealthy food! Nutritious food! Why don’t I eat junk foods? Let me give you a little background!

Yesterday I was driving past a high school and happened to look across the street.  Immediately I noticed an array of fast food establishments: Whataburger, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Mama’s Pizza, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell.  I was reminded that these young people, ages fourteen to eighteen, were daily subjected to the temptation of fast food—right within walking distance of their campus.  A large university also lay several blocks away—close to these ubiquitous fast food places.

Even before they enter high school, children are captivated by the “delicious” taste, fragrant aroma, and enticing advertising of a plethora of junk food!  They see hundreds of advertisements for a wide range of candy, ice cream, cereal, cookies, hamburgers, snack foods, and much more—and their little minds naturally assume that they should eat this “junk,” particularly since most of their parents also crave this dangerous but foolish food.

Think of the selections that are within driving distance of most of us: McDonalds, Waffle House, Wendy’s, Domino’s Pizza, Grandy’s, Chik-fil-A, Taco Bueno, Taco Bell, Starbucks, Sonic Drive In, Jack in the Box, Dairy Queen, Church’s Fried Chicken, Braum’s, Popeyes, Long John Silver’s, Ihop Restaurant, Waffle House, Chicken Express, Burger King, Arby’s and countless others!  Some people can’t seem to resist stopping on the way to work to buy donuts or stopping on the way home to pick up a pizza for the family.  They daily indulge in soft drinks, dangerous snacks, and harmful pastry. As Joel Fuhrman says, we are “digging our graves with forks and knives”!

The next time you are in the local supermarket, walk the isles and take note of the unhealthy non-food “food” that the majority of people eat.  This unwholesome fare clogs the arteries, raises the blood pressure, exacerbates diabetes, produces overweight and obesity, contributes to cancer, and has other far-reaching health-destroying effects on the body!  Years ago, medical studies revealed that 77 percent of military casualties (the average age was 22.5 years) already had signs of plaque buildup in their arteries!  This same effect is common to most of us.  Our bodies are being assaulted by the junk food industry and we eagerly destroy them by what we eat!  One recent article plainly says, “Our diet is indeed killing us, and it’s killing the planet too” (Jeffrey Kluger, Time Magazine, Aug. 30, 2010).

Paul the apostle wrote that “no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it” (Ephesians 5:29).  Yet, in another respect, it seems that people today often act like they do “hate” their body by what they consume and they refuse to really “nourish” and “cherish” their body with nourishing food!  People are working against nature itself!

How can we explain this nutritional insanity?  How do we understand this craving for junk food when everyone knows that it is harmful to one’s health?  Why would young people gorge on this dangerous food when they see older people, broken in health, all around them?  Why would teenagers knowingly eat and drink that which they should know will lead to compromised health, overweight, and eventual degenerative disease and even death?  Their attitude of youthful invincibility must have a large part in this.  Few sixteen-year-olds or twenty-year-olds will deliberately harm their health and plan to die fifteen to thirty years before what otherwise might be their lifespan.  But they think that it will happen to “the other person” and not to them. Or they vainly think that science will discover a remedy to sickness and aging before they reach poor health.  How shortsighted and foolish!

America has become a haven of junk food and a promoter of degenerative disease.  What do we mean by “junk food”?  This term generally refers to food that has little or no nutritional value or food that is harmful to one’s health.  The term dates to 1972 when Michael Jacobson, the director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, used the word to refer to dangerous foods in the American diet.  One popular authority gives this definition:

Junk foods are typically ready to eat convenience foods containing high levels of saturated fats, salt, or sugar; and little or no fruit, vegetables, or dietary fibre. Junk food includes foods such as soft drinks, hamburgers, hot dogs, ice cream, cake, French fries, chocolate, and other confectionery, pizza, cookies, fried chicken, and donuts. (wikipedia.org/wiki/ Junk_food)

Another nutritional source defines junk food in the following manner:

Junk food is a slang word for foods with limited nutritional value. . . . I would include foods that are high in salt, sugar, fat or calories and low nutrient content.

Salted snack foods, candy, gum, most sweet desserts, fried fast food and carbonated beverages are some of the major junk foods. Generally, they offer little in terms of protein, vitamins or minerals and lots of calories from sugar or fat. The term “empty calories” reflects the lack of nutrients. (dietitian.  com/junkfood.html).

You might want to keep these thoughts in mind as we proceed.  “Junk food,” as we are using it, would be processed and convenience foods that are high fat, high sodium, and high sugar.  They may be bought in the abundant fast food places across the country, or they may be prepared right in your home.  Thus, we are referring to a wide range of health-destroying non-foods, such as donuts, French fries, hamburgers, cookies, candy, ice cream, pizza, fried chicken, hot dogs, cake, potato chips, pie, fried meats, pastries, white bread, and soft drinks of all kinds.

We might expand this to include regular foods that have been over-processed.  This would include foods with additives, preservatives, pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics, trans fats, and chemical contamination.  White flour, white sugar, white rice, corn syrup, and other staples also adulterate foods.

Most people know that I’’m a Christian, a sincere follower of Jesus, and many of these accept the fact that I try to eat foods that promote health.  This means that I major on healthy food choices rather than foods that are known to compromise and destroy our health.  I emphasize fruit, vegetables, whole grains, water, and other foods and drinks that enhance one’s health rather than destroy health.  I prefer natural and whole foods rather than processed foods that are devoid of healthful ingredients.  Yet some may not really understand why I eat the way I do.  And still others may be confused about the connection between eating for good health and the way of Christ.  Thus they may be inclined to ask, “Why don’t you eat junk food?”

This short booklet is an attempt to answer that question.  Some people complain, “There are so many theories on food and so many diets advertised, I just don’t know what to do!”  They are totally confused and don’t know what to do.  They want a pill, a quick fix, rather than take the time and make the effort to learn what it takes to eat in a healthy way.

Bible (1)

The present article will just comment on my own reasons for avoiding junk food and eating nutritionally. Herelwe are not involved in a lengthy and elaborate explanation on nutritious foods and good health, or junk foods and lack of health.  We just want to touch upon basic reasons why I—and hopefully other devoted Christians—don’t consume junk foods or have an unhealthy diet.

food (11)

1.     My body belongs to Jesus Christ.  Paul wrote, “You were bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 7:23). Since Jesus died to purchase me and I now belong to Him, He has the right to expect us to care for our body.  If you were given a gift from a loved one, would it be right for you to abuse or misuse the gift?  Wouldn’t you want to treat the gift with appreciation and respect?  Likewise, since our body is God’s gift to us, shouldn’’t we be especially careful to treat that body with utmost care?  Since I want to offer to Christ, my Owner, a body as healthy as possible, I want to do all within my power to keep my body healthy in what I eat.

Nearly everyone, especially nutritionists, knows that eating junk food is detrimental to one’s physical wellbeing, it is important to only eat what we know will promote good health.  The Bible says, “Present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship”” (Romans 12:1).  How can we give our body to God and Christ if we are doing what we know will harm it?

2.     My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.  Paul writes, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19).  A “temple” is where God dwells.  Since the Holy Spirit of God dwells in my body, I want to be especially careful to treat my physical body with the care and respect it deserves. I want the “house” of the Spirit to be kept clean and as healthy as possible.  Wouldn’’t it be a shame, —an actual sin, —to desecrate the “temple” of the Holy Spirit with immorality, with tobacco, or with drug use?  Wouldn’’t it also be wrong to desecrate this temple by eating junk foods that damage and destroy God’s dwelling place!

3.     I am to glorify God with my body.  We’’ve already noticed that the Christian’s body doesn’’t belong to him but to the Lord.  What does this mean?  Paul answers: “”You have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body”” (1 Corinthians 6:20).  We know that some people just don’’t connect this matter of caring for our body with glorifying God, but there is a direct and unbreakable connection.  The Bible further explains: “”Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”” (1 Corinthians 10:31).  Therefore when you eat something or drink something, we need to ask, “Will this glorify and honor God?”  Eating junk food cannot do this, can it?  Therefore, I want to avoid this harmful food.  Don’t you?

4.     Junk food is clearly harmful to one’s physical health.  As we mentioned, nearly everyone admits this point, yet they somehow have the idea, “It will only harm the body of others—and compromise their health.” Or maybe they reason, “My grandparents lived a long life and they ate all kinds of unhealthy food.  I can do the same.”  While it is true that some people are genetically able to handle more physical abuse to their body than others, junk food still has extensive detrimental effects on everyone’’s health.  It will harm one’s health and probably shorten life.  I personally want to do nothing that will harm my body, thus I want to abstain from junk food.

5.     I want every available moment of my life to be given to the Lord.  I’ve always been sobered by the fact that we are given only a very short time on earth—perhaps 70 or 80 years (cf. Psalm 90:10).  Even if we consider Moses’ age of 120 years, still this is a very brief time (Deuteronomy 34:7).  But this is merely a short moment compared to eternity that stretches endlessly before us.  Shouldn’’t we want to give every available moment here on earth to God and His work?  If we have any spiritual discernment at all, we know this is true.  The present few years are the only period of time we can serve the Lord on earth and influence others for Jesus.  Therefore, I want to keep as physically and mentally fit as possible through good nutrition, exercise, and other elements of clean living so that I might live as long as possible and do as much as I can for the Lord’s sake.

6.     I don’’t want to set a bad example for others.  The Christian is called to offer a good example before others—both believer and unbeliever.  Paul writes to Timothy, “”In speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe”” (1 Timothy 4:12).  Notice that we are to be good models to others in our “conduct” which would include how we eat and what we eat.  The apostle also writes, “”In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech”” (Titus 2:7-8).  If someone sees me eating unhealthy food, they may be influenced to do the same.  They may reason, “”Richard is a Christian and he eats everything I do.  There isn’’t a reason for me to change if he doesn’’t.””  Therefore, in a sense, I would be partially blamed for their dietary compromises and poor health.  We especially should not be a poor example to our children, spouse, friends, and other Christians.

7.     I don’’t want to waste God’s money.  Just as our body belongs to God, likewise our money belongs to Him if we are followers of Jesus.  We are responsible for the use of every dollar we have (Luke 16:10).  Remember that “it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy” (1 Corinthians 4:2).  If junk food is harmful to one’’s health and generally costs more than healthy food, we become irresponsible stewards if we misuse the Lord’s money by purchasing junk food.  If we waste God’s money in this way, we sin against God the owner.

Just consider soft drinks as an example.  Generally there is no good in such drinks and usually positive harm, particularly if they are loaded with the empty calories of sugar.  Yet tens of millions of Americans daily indulge in Coke, Pepsi, Sprite, Dr. Pepper, and other soft drinks. As for the cost, suppose that a soft drink costs $1.00 and a person buys one each day for a year. That would be a total of $365—an incredible amount for something that will harm the body all year long!  And some people drink two or more cans each day.  Surely God will hold a person responsible for wasting such a high sum in a year!  Both the principles of love and wisdom urge us to use this money in a compassionate and wise way—not foolishly casting it away for worthless junk foods.

8.     I don’’t want my carnal appetites to dictate what I eat.  The body wants us to feed it what looks good or appeals to the taste.  In other words, our bodily appetites make us a slave of unhealthy habits.  Some people become a slave to tobacco, drink or drugs and they allow the fallen nature of the body to dictate whether they will succumb to these harmful addictions.  The Bible calls this slavery or bondage.  Paul said, ““I will not be mastered by anything”” (1 Corinthians 6:12).

He went on to say that he would be master of his body rather than allow the appetites of the body to be master over him: ““I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified”” (1 Corinthians 9:27).  Peter says, “”By what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved”” (2 Peter 2:19).  Will you be a slave of your body and allow it to dictate whether you will eat all kinds of unhealthy junk food?  Or will you rule over your body and make it your slave—actually make it the slave of Christ Jesus?  Paul presses this point when he explains, “”Do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God”” (Romans 6:13).  I want to be master of my body and eat only that which is healthy and nutritious!

9.     I don’’t want to eat anything that Jesus surely would not eat.  We know that God through Jesus Christ created all things (Colossians 1:16).  And because God created everything good, legitimate foods are not to be rejected (1 Timothy 4:4-5).  But if we have altered foods and made them into tasty but unhealthy concoctions, surely the Lord would not want us to destroy our health by eating the wrong things.  Jesus surely would be interested in His physical health if He were walking on earth today. After all, we must remember that He was sinless (Hebrews 4:15) as well as “holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners” (7:26).

Although we know that many conditions were different in those days, wouldn’’t it be preposterous to think of our holy Lord stuffing Himself with hot dogs, French fries, and soft drinks?  Perish the thought!  If this is so, I don’’t want to do anything, say anything, or eat anything that Jesus would not.  The follower of Jesus is to “walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6) and is to “follow in His steps” (1 Peter 2:21).  Don’t you wish to live in this way too?

10.  I wouldn’’t want to live like the world.  Again and again, we are warned by God to not be like the sinful world around us.  ““Do not love the world nor the things in the world.   If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.  The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever”” (1 John 2:15-17). We are not to “love” the world but are to “hate” the world and “love” God the Father.  To make ourselves a friend of the world is to make ourselves an enemy of God (James 4:4).

Relating the verses to our present discussion, we are not to yield to the lust of the flesh (the desire of the flesh to eat what tastes good but is harmful to the health), or the lust of the eyes (the desire to see what looks good and appetizing but is injurious to our health), or the boastful pride of life (pride in our possessions, including what we eat).  Those in the world around us make their dietary choices according to their sinful appetites; the Christian makes his choices according to what pleases God.  Remember that Daniel refused to defile himself with wrong food choices since he was a servant of God (cf. Daniel 1:8-16).  He chose to eat vegetables rather than eat the king’s delicacies (v. 16).

11.  I don’’t want to be a participant with others in their popular but foolish dietary choices.  Were I to join others in their eating of junk foods, I would lower myself to the same level as the world.  The Christian must be distinctive in every way—including what we eat.  As Paul put it, “”What has a believer in common with an unbeliever?””(2 Corinthians 6:15b).  We shouldn’’t encourage others to eat junk foods any more than we should eat it ourselves.  Scripture says, “”You shall not follow the masses in doing evil”” (Exodus 23:2a).

When the majority of people make foolish food choices, the Christian must carefully refuse to succumb to their example. We are not to “share responsibility for the sins of others” but Paul warns, “”Keep yourself free from sin”” (1 Timothy 5:22).  In another context, Paul says that worldly people not only do wrong themselves, but “also give hearty approval to those who practice them [sins]” (Romans 1:32).  Although the New Testament gives no detailed instructions on what to eat and what not to eat, it does give us principles like this to guide our life, including our choices in eating.

12.  I would usually rather eat nothing than eat something that is harmful to my health.  This is generally a good rule to follow.  Sometimes we are in a situation, such as when we are traveling, when we can’t conveniently eat good and nutritious foods.  All that is available is junk food.  In such a case, it may be best to just choose to fast—to abstain from food altogether.  In other words, often it is more harmful to eat junk foods than to eat nothing.  Besides this, we may be able to derive spiritual benefit from fasting (cf. Matthew 6:16-18; Acts 13:2; 14:23; Dan. 9:3).  And we can sometimes give our stomach a rest from food.  Remember that it may be better to do nothing than do the wrong thing (cf. Romans 3:8).

13.  I would not want to participate in supporting an unconscionable, health-destroying, hypocritical industry.  Surely most food companies know what is generally healthy and not healthy.  Unquestionably, the owners and managers of McDonalds, Whataburger, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger King, Pizza Hut, and other companies are aware of the vast damage they are doing to the American public—as well as the people of the world.  Why should I support a hypocritical and destructive company of this nature, one that has no regard for the public health but insists on a profit at the expense of people?

14.  I want to be able to give thanks to God for my food choices.  We are to “bless” or give “thanks” to God for our food (1 Corinthians 14:16; cf. Acts 27:35).  Our food is to be “received with gratitude” and an attitude of thanksgiving (1 Timothy 4:4-5).  Can we thank God for food we know will harm our health?   Should we “blame” God for giving us non-food “food” that will ruin our health?  Should we not give thanks for food that is nutritious and promotes health?  “Always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father” (Ephesians 5:20; cf. Colossians 3:17).  Wouldn’’t it be dishonest to presume to thank God for health-destroying junk food that God didn’’t give!

15.  I don’t want to harm, destroy, or offend my brothers and sisters in Christ—or anyone else.  We don’t really live in a vacuum. Each of us is part of society and the more intimate network of friends, family and fellow-believers.  What I do may help or hinder another person in his walk with the Lord.  Paul wrote, “”All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable.  All things are lawful, but not all things edifyLet no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor”” (1 Corinthians 10:23-24).

We must be careful of even “lawful” things, for they may not be profitable or edifying.  In light of this, Paul warned, “For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love.  Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died”” (Romans 14:15).  We are to restrict our freedom even in the matter of legitimate and good food!  Again, Paul writes, “”Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food” (v. 20).  The apostle went so far as to say, “If food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble”” (1 Corinthians 8:13).  All of this shows the loving restrictions we should place on our dietary choices even of legitimate foods.  How much more should we restrict our eating of harmful foods for the sake of others.

16.  I don’’t want to be a barrier to unbelievers in accepting Christ Jesus as Lord.  If I want to call on sinners to “deny himself, and take up his cross and follow [Jesus]” (Mark 8:34), is it consistent of me to refuse to deny my own appetite and live an undisciplined life?  Many unbelievers accuse professing Christians of living hypocritical lives, failing to practice the basic principles of Christ and the apostles, and rushing into a pleasure-oriented lifestyle, just as unbelievers do.  Knowledgeable unbelievers need to see a worthy example of true, sacrificial, self-denying, zealous, loving, and committed discipleship.  If I were to eat just like unbelievers do and allow myself to become obese like a large portion of sinners are, would this be a means of reaching a world that is lost in sin?  Surely not!  If they know anything about New Testament Christianity, they would turn away in dismay or disgust.  Instead, let us heed the example of Paul who wrote, “I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.  I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it” (1 Corinthians 9:22-23).  If we expect a sinner to repent of his dissipation and undisciplined life, let us be consistent and sincere examples of this kind of life ourselves.

17.  I wound want to do nothing that manifests a lack of self-control.  We know that the fruit of the Holy Spirit are to be found in our life (Galatians 5:22-23).  One of these qualities of the Spirit is self-control (v. 23; cf. Acts 24:25; 2 Peter 1:5-6).  This term is from the Greek enkrateia and means “strength,” suggesting that “the right use” of such powers “demands the controlling power of the will under the operation of the Spirit of God” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary).  Self-control refers to “restraining passions and appetites” (MacArthur’s Study Bible).  Just as an athlete “exercises self-control in all things” by only eating what is healthy, getting sufficient exercise, and abstaining from unhealthy practices, so the Christian is to be controlled in his eating and every aspect of his life.  If we have spiritual self-control, we will be able to say No to the junk foods that we know will harm our health (1 Corinthians 9:24-26).

Self-control is tied to self-discipline.  Paul wrote, ““I discipline by body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified”” (1 Corinthians 9:27).  I was sitting in a restaurant one time and three or four obviously obese women took their seat at a nearby table.  This happened to be a buffet, thus they brought their own plates to the table.  And the plates were piled high with gigantic quantities of food!  I had to think how their obesity must be their own fault in just eating too much and eating the wrong kinds of food.  One of the women jokingly said to the others, “I can lose weight later!” as she gorged on her overflowing plates and bowls!  Practical self-discipline means that we will know when to say “No” to our bodily appetites, particularly when they are harmful to our health or compromise a spiritual principle.

18.  Would it really be wise to eat junk foods?  The Christian is to walk with spiritual wisdom.  This means that we should live with understanding, prudence, and spiritual sensitivity.  Paul counsels us: ““Be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise”” (Ephesians 5:15).  Nearly everyone will say that it is wise to eat healthy and to avoid what is unhealthy.  In contrast to the Christian who seeks wisdom, “fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).  The Bible says, “”The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding”” (Proverbs 9:10).  Wisdom means that we will seek to order our life in a way that pleases God and carries out His will.  If we are wise, we will use our time well, use our money well, use our body well, and make wise and not foolish decisions.  Surely we know that it isn’t wise to harm our body through junk foods.

We should make our food choices according to rational reasons and spiritual wisdom.  When I was a child, I just inherited food choices from my parents and others, for not many eight- or twelve-year-olds really think through the pros and cons of what they eat. They just eat what is set before them.  Or they eat what they may convince their parents to buy, based on what they have seen in deceptive TV advertising. How much better to decide what we eat according to the results of nutritional research instead of relying on our cultural background, habit patterns, tradition, ethnic preferences, or self-indulgent tastes.

19.  I want to look at the long view rather than momentary gratification.  Most people eat junk food because they think it will give present, momentary pleasure to their taste and stomach.  Paul tells us that the “enemies of the cross of Christ” are characterized by those “whose “god is their appetite [or belly]” and “who set their minds on earthly things”” (Philippians 3:18-19).  We must not acquiesce to momentary gratification of our physical appetites when we know that the long-term consequences will be overweight, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, constipation, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, cancer, and many other conditions and diseases.  Furthermore, people who are teenagers or in their twenties may think that degenerative disease will not come on them, thus they feel invincible.  They think that that their dietary choices won’t affect their middle age and old age. Indeed it will!  If you are a teenager, now is the time to make good choices so that you will avoid the chronic illnesses that others experience later in life because of eating junk foods and making other unhealthy decisions early in life.

20.  I want to be guided by the Spirit rather than the flesh.  Paul tells us that there is a constant spiritual battle going on in the spiritual realm: “”The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace”” (Romans 8:6).  He goes on to say, “”The mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God”” (vv. 7-8).  He then writes, “”We are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live”” (vv. 12-13).

The point is that we must live according to the Spirit for this is eternal life; but the one who lives according to the desires and pull of the flesh will spiritually die.  This is why I wish to make my decisions in life based on the Spirit and not the flesh.

To make my dietary choices based on the flesh or the inner carnal nature rather than wise, rational and spiritual considerations, is something I must always avoid.  The apostle also writes, ““Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh”” (Galatians 5:16), then he lists some of the “deeds of the flesh” (vv. 19-21).  We must avoid the “desires of the flesh” and choose to be led by the Spirit (vv. 17-18).  We must not allow our physical senses (of taste, touch, hearing, sight, and speech) to lead us into sin of any kind.

21.  I want to make food choices according to wisdom rather than by culture, habit, tradition, or self-indulgent taste.  It has been said that people are “creatures of habit” but we must not allow habit to dictate what we eat.  We also have our food likes and dislikes formed by family and cultural traditions, but these too must not determine our dietary choices, unless those traditions encourage healthy eating.  It can be difficult to break away from or renounce the dietary patterns we have known since childhood—but this is exactly what we must do.

Further, many people choose the food that they eat according to their sense of taste, but this can be entirely misleading.  Instead of these inferior determinants, we must learn what is healthy and what is unhealthy, and then wisely choose what is nutritious to eat.  Solomon asked for a discerning heart so that he might judge between good and evil (1 Kings 3:9).  We too must seek wisdom to make good choices in our diet.  Scripture says, “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion” (Proverbs 8:12).  Wisdom, prudence, knowledge, and discretion will help us to choose nutritious food rather than health-destroying junk food.

22.  I want all that I do to be motivated by true love.  We know that true love is a primary trait of our life, as disciples of Christ (cf. John 13:34-35).  Jesus says that we must love God with all of our heart and must love others as ourselves (Mark 12:28-30).  But what is love, this agape love?  Love means doing what is for the good of the other person.  It means blessing the other, helping the other, seeking his welfare, and treating him honorably.  Jesus said that love is expressed by meeting the needs of the other person (Luke 10:30-37).  Paul says that true love is being patient with others, being kind toward them, and not seeking our own desires (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7).  He says, “”Love does no wrong to a neighbor”” (Romans 13:10), and declares, “”Let all that you do be done in love”” (1 Corinthians 16:14).

Does this have a bearing on what we eat?  Indeed it does.  Is it loving to encourage another to eat in an unhealthy way for his harm?  Is it really loving to be an example of poor eating before him?  Would it be loving to offer our family and friends junk food that would harm their body?  And would it be loving for me to use my money on junk foods when it could be used to bless people physically or spiritually?  We should eat in a way that is an example to others of good eating.  We should not encourage others to eat in an unhealthy way.  We should not buy or give unhealthy junk food to others, including our family, friends, and fellow-Christians.  We should actively seek the physical benefit of others just as we seek their spiritual good.

23.  I want to do my part in making the body of Christ a sanctified bride for Christ.  We know that true Christians are Christ’s body and bride (Romans 12:3-8; Ephesians 5:22-33; 2 Corinthians 11:2-3).  Each member is to do all he or she can to bring this heavenly “bride” to perfection.  Part of this would be promoting each member to walk by the Spirit rather than the flesh.  The various principles we have covered in this booklet applies to every brother and sister.  As we all determine to eat healthy, according to the Spirit, and not be slaves of carnal appetites controlled by the gratification of the flesh, this body will be “a glorious bride, “having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing,” but that she would be “holy and blameless”” (Ephesians 5:27).

Applying this to a local community of believers, wouldn’’t it be wonderful to be part of an assembly of saints who take this matter of bodily discipline in eating seriously?  Wouldn’’t it be encouraging to know that all the brothers and sisters in this local family of Christians tried to apply good health principles to daily living?  Wouldn’’t it be a joyful experience to be among saints who are filled with love and care for each other and strive to help each other to overcome sinful dietary patterns and grow in healthy practices?  Perhaps knowledgeable brothers and sisters could teach and train their fellow-believers in this very matter.  They could raise nutritious food in a large garden cultivated by the saints.  Their communal meals would have no junk food or processed food or harmful food but, instead, such meals would be examples of good nutrition, good health, and good taste.  This would truly be practical table fellowship (cf. Acts 2:44-46; 1 Corinthians 11:17ff) that would be glorifying to God!

What about You?

You have now read why I, as a sincere believer in Christ Jesus, choose to eat in a healthy way, focusing on nutrition rather than taste and lust of the flesh.  How about you?   How do you view these very practical matters?  We realize that this discussion was quite brief and only touched the surface of a subject that could be examined in depth.  We hope that even this cursory look at the matter of junk foods will convict the honest and sincere reader who has a fear of God.

If you do see how Scripture bears on this matter of healthy and unhealthy foods, now is the time for you to make up your mind to change your ways.  If you are an obedient believer (Acts 5:32), the Holy Spirit will strengthen you (Ephesians 3:16) and help you to change (Romans 8:13).  God, through the Spirit, will empower you to break free from long-established but ruinous food habits, and live a healthier lifestyle for the glory of God.  We are told that changing habits will generally take about three weeks.  After this length of time, a new habit or new lifestyle will become part of our very makeup.  Even when poor eating habits have been established over a lifetime, with enough motivation, people do have the ability to change.  Interestingly, many unbelievers have even changed their diet because they want to live healthy and perhaps longer.  Some carnal and worldly people exert enough self-discipline to make major changes—including losing 100 or more pounds—just to look better to the opposite sex!  They are able to do so much, motivated by pride, lust, and self-achievement.  How much more should the Christian be able to make major dietary changes in life for God’s glory.

With the Spirit of God to give the strength and power and with the Word of God to give the guiding principles, the true child of God should be able to say No to unhealthy foods and say Yes to nutritious foods!  Now is the time to choose healthy foods for your own benefit!  Now is the time to change for the benefit of your family and friends.  And now is the time to change for the glory of God.

Questions

1.     How can we wisely make good food choices?  Proverbs 27:12 says, “A prudent man sees evil and hides himself, the naïve proceed and pay the penalty.””  A wise or prudent man will be able to see the dangers in junk foods and avoid falling prey to American advertising that deceptively makes harmful foods seem desirable.  The naïve or foolish person will proceed to eat like everyone else but will pay the physical penalty of poor health, disease, and even death.  We need knowledge to choose between a healthy way of eating and a health-destroying way of eating.

2.     Since there are so many different food choices, how can we keep from being totally confused?  This is an understandable question since there are dozens of different “diets” popular today.  Each year seems to bring more books and more “perfect” weight-reducing schemes.  It is better to stay away from diets, per se.  Simply eat healthy and stay away from unhealthy fare.  Eat a diet that majors in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.  This would be foods that are low-fat, low-cholesterol, low sodium, and relatively low in protein, while high in nutrients, high in fiber, and high in complex carbohydrates.  Eat the way people generally ate during the first millennia after creation and this continues to be the way longevity people of the earth continue to eat.  Avoid the junk food that is high in sugar and simple carbohydrates, high in fat, high in sodium, low in fiber, and low in complex carbohydrates.  Also it is best to steer away from chemicals, poisons, and questionable additives.   Educate yourself to make informed decisions.

3.     I’’ve come to the conclusion that I’’ve allowed my fleshly appetites to determine what I eat and what I refuse to eat.  What can I do now? It is good to know that “the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful” (James 5:11).  Although His wrath rests on those unbelievers who remain in their sin, He pours out His mercy on those who repent of their sins and flee to Him for forgiveness through Christ (Matthew 4:7-8; Romans 2:4-5).  The key here is repentance.  You need to repent of your fleshly focus on food and begin to focus on God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  The world is captivated by such things, as they ask, “What will we eat?” and “What will we drink?” (Matthew 6:31).  In contrast, we are to “”seek first His kingdom and His righteousness”” (v. 33).  Repent of your selfish, food-orientation, and seek God’’s full forgiveness through Christ (Acts 3:19; 17:30-31; 20:21).  Check out the online version of Shipwreck to Salvation, for further information on how you can gain forgiveness and become a new creation in Christ (Acts 2:38; 2 Corinthians 5:17).

4.     Should we always avoid junk foods or are there exceptions?  This is a difficult issue but, generally speaking, it is always good to eat in a healthy way.  If we know that something is not nutritious and harmful to our health, we should consistently and adamantly refuse to eat it.  Even when someone seeks to pressure us into eating unhealthy, we should kindly but firmly explain our commitment to eating well.  But what happens if we think we may offend a hostess where we are visiting or a friend who has sacrificed to give us some unhealthy food?  Because we want to be a good example of healthy eating and because we want to please God by taking care of our body, it is probably best to just refuse, as graciously as possible.  On the other hand, in extreme cases, when there isn’’t the time or opportunity to explain, we may need to eat something, perhaps just a small portion or maybe the best of several selections of junk food.  We should plan to explain our commitment to good health at a later date.  But this kind of case should be very rare.

5.     What if the fellow-workers at the office buy junk food for an office party and they want you to contribute financially to help pay for the food bill?  Again, this is an awkward situation.  Hopefully by the time that this kind of situation arises, you have clearly made your food choices well-known, and the other workers will not seek to impose their will on you, against your will.  Your consistent Christian walk before them will go a long way to dealing with this kind of situation.

6.     How can you settle food issues on the job or in your extended family?  There are three helpful strategies and each is entirely honest and generally effective.  First, if someone offers you some kind of junk food (cake, cookies, candy, soft drink, pizza, or many other selections), you can simply say, “Sorry, but I’’m on the Pritikin (or Ornish, McDougall, Bernard, Fuhrman, etc.) diet and can’’t eat that.””  Usually that is sufficient, for people know that some are on one diet or another.  Knowledgeable people may even be familiar with these authors and nutritionists. Technically, these systems of eating are not “diets” but just ways of nutritional eating.

Second, if you have been to a doctor who has specifically instructed you to lose weight, or eat less fat, or eat less sugar, you can honestly say, “Sorry, but the doctor has me on a special diet and I can’t eat that.””  Third, you may just want to be open and honest about everything and say something like this: “”As a Christian, I want to devote my body as a living sacrifice to God, thus I am avoiding popular junk food and seeking to eat in a healthy way.””  This may be a “turn off” to some people, while it may be admirable to others.  Some people who refuse to practice self-discipline seem to admire someone who is willing to take an unpopular stand on diet.  As for relating on the job, I never have had a problem with this issue.  My fellow-workers have known of my “extreme” health choices and they have seen a consistency in my walk that solves these problems before they even arise.

7.     Why is it so hard to break out of my traditional eating selections and begin to eat in a more healthy way?  Patterns of a lifetime can be hard to break.  Many of our food preferences date from when we were one or two years of age and this is all we have known.  This is why some people in certain foreign cultures can relish eating ants, grub worms, snakes, monkeys, dogs, grasshoppers, eels, and many other items that Western peoples would abhorrently shun.  The mind is the key here.  God has given us the amazing ability to change.  With His help, we can choose to learn what is healthy and what is harmful.  Then, with His strength, we can determine to say No to the unhealthy and say Yes to foods that we would not normally want to eat.  In time, we will prefer the good and shun the bad!  “Learn to do good” (Isaiah 1:17a).

8.     If I wanted to stop eating junk food and begin to eat nutritional food, is it best to gradually wean myself off the junk food during a several month period and begin to gradually add better choices?  Some people recommend this gradual approach, but I ask you: Is it better to chop off the dog’’s tail by the inch or all at once?  We know the answer.  Nutrition experts say that it is wiser and more effective to just begin to eat in a healthy way and totally forsake the junk food.   Rid your refrigerator and shelves of all prepared junk food and compromising ingredients.  Hopefully this can be done with the family’s full support.  Then restock your food pantry, shelves and refrigerator with healthy foods.  (You might want to examine the suggested food staples listed in Everyday Cooking with Dean Ornish [pp. 26-39] or Nathan Pritikin’s The Pritikin Promise [pp. 151-157].)

The first few days may be difficult and this may continue for several weeks, but after this, nutritional eating will become normal and even preferred.  In addition to this, we know that in all other areas, God wants us to do the good and avoid the bad. He wants immediate and wholehearted decisions and changes in our life—and He gives the power to do this through the Holy Spirit.

9.     What if I am convinced that I should turn from all junk food and begin to make healthy choices for the Lord, but my family doesn’’t share my views?  Definitely, it is much easier to make major changes like this if you are single and living alone!  Paul says, ““One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord”” (1 Corinthians 7:32). Living in the midst of a family can bring really difficult practical problems with eating and meals.  The apostle continues, “One who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided” (vv. 33-34a).  Happy is the husband or wife who is married to a spouse who shares his or her commitment to good health through good nutrition!

As much as you are able, share accurate and motivational information with your spouse, your children, your parents, and your brothers and sisters.  Encourage them to read and consider the dangers of unhealthy junk food.  Your consistency in modeling good nutrition before them should make some impact on their conscience.  Perhaps your better health, better physique, and increased energy will also influence them for good.

If you are in a position to purchase the family food, you can have much to do with directing the family in the right way.  If you have children who are addicted to sweets and high-fat fare, as a parent you can make the choices for those children.  Turn the TV off for that is one avenue that parades one form of junk food before them after another.  Hopefully you home school your children, and this also should keep them from the detrimental influence of their peers at school who major on junk foods in their lunches and snacks.  Remember to bring your need before the Lord for His wisdom and help in this very practical problem (James 1:5-7).

10.  Will abstaining from junk food ensure that I will live a long life?  No one can assure us of living a long earthly life.  Only God has our life in His power and control.  Scripture says, “”Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth”” (Proverbs 27:1).  While we can’t predict how long we will live, we can do everything we know to do to live a long and healthy life.  Statistics clearly show that those who eat a low fat diet, are not overweight, exercise regularly, and don’t smoke will live longer—maybe much longer—than those who don’t.  Besides this, not only is there a longevity factor in not eating junk food, we will probably live a healthier and more energetic life while we are alive!  We are not like the fleshly-focused unbeliever who says, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (1 Corinthians 15:32b).  We are not living for time but for eternity!

11.  What is the connection between junk food and being overweight?  Overweight and obesity are growing problems in the United States.  Shockingly, some seventy (70) percent of adults are now overweight, with 27 percent being obese (Time Magazine, Aug. 30, 2010, p. 32)!  Generally, the more junk food consumed (which is high fat, high sugar, high cholesterol, and low fiber), the more weight we’ll have.  We realize that in a minority of cases, there is some medical malady at work that contributes to the overweight, but by far the majority of cases can be affected by better food choices and self control.    And, clearly, the more weight, the higher the death rate.  Remember that eating too much (which the Bible calls “gluttony”) is a sin (cf. Philippians 3:19; Proverbs 23:2-3, 21).  And lack of self control is also a sin (1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Galatians 5:23; 2 Peter 1:6).  Therefore, if you are overweight, you should pay particular attention to the question of junk food.  Begin to eat nutritious meals and snacks (along with exercise), and your weight should drop.  Hopefully, your overall health should also improve.

12.  Will abstaining from junk food make me holy?  This is not a simple issue.  First, we must point out that someone may deliberately avoid junk food and may observe all of the other elements of good health, and he may be a rabid atheist!  Seeking good health by eating right and avoiding bad foods won’t make an unholy man a holy man!

Second, some people in the New Testament times tried to make fasting a religious exercise and thought it would help them to be especially religious and holy.  For instance, the Pharisee fasted two days in a week, yet he was far from God (Luke 18:10-14).  Further, some of the false religionists Paul mentions in Colossae, thought that “self-abasement and severe treatment of the body” would help them arrive at a higher spiritual level. Paul said this was totally false (Colossians 2:20-23).  Third, since the Christian is seeking to devote his body to the Lord (Romans 12:1; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 10:31), and abstains from unhealthy foods as a means to that end, we can say that there is a definite connection between eating and devotion to God and His will.  Remember, heart attitude and motivation have much to do with this.

13.  How can I learn more in order to maintain a knowledge of good nutrition?  The seeker of good health can find a vast amount of good literature that should give the knowledge needed to know what to eat and what not to eat.  Unfortunately, there is a lot more defective and unreliable information on the market, available in hundreds of “diet” books and other literature.  You might want to read anything written by authors like Dean Ornish, John McDougall, Joel Fuhrman, Neal Barnard, Nathan Pritikin, Hans Deil, John Robbins, Robert Pritikin, Mike Anderson, Colin Campbell, and other reliable authors.

14.  How can the fruit of the Holy Spirit help me to eat in a nutritious manner? These qualities are connected to health-seeking in some measure.  For example, if we have love, we will want to help others to eat in a healthy way and won’t want to provide a poor example to others in eating junk food.  If we have patience, we will patiently work on our diet and not give up.  If we have goodness, we will want to do all we can to maintain personal integrity, self-respect, and submission to God.  If we have faithfulness, we will want to be faithful to God in all of the principles we learn from His Word.  If we have self-control, we will strive to keep our body under strict control, avoid the tasty but unhealthy foods, and choose the foods we know would enhance our physical health.

Other qualities or traits, such as wisdom, contentment, boldness, courage, decisiveness, diligence, discernment, discretion, endurance, humility, obedience, resourcefulness, sincerity, thriftiness, and virtue also have a direct bearing on our dietary choices.  Let the reader find what the Scriptures say about each of these qualities or “fruit” and then find the connection with  quality and good food.

15.  Doesn’’t the Bible say that it makes no difference what we eat or what we don’t eat?  This is a logical question since Romans 14 says that people have different views on eating and God says that we can eat anything we want.  1 Corinthians 8 and 10 says that we have the liberty to eat anything, providing we don’t hurt others when we do so.  1 Timothy 4:3-5 says that false teachers forbid the eating of certain foods.  Hebrews 13:9 says that people were not benefited in being occupied with foods.  Other passages (e.g. Mark 7:19; Acts 10:9-16; etc.) seem to say that we may eat anything.  The point we should realize about these passages is that they have nothing at all to do with nutrition and what is healthy to eat.  They generally refer to dietary practices that rested on ritualistic purity and obedience to Mosaic food restrictions regarding clean and unclean meats (or occasionally refer to pagan meats).  The matters of nutrition and health looks at food choices from an entirely different perspective.

16.  Isn’t it really legalistic to be concerned with what we eat?  We are living in an age when any part of our lifestyle that requires self-discipline, self-crucifixion, and self-sacrifice is looked on as legalistic.  People want the “freedom” to do anything they want to do and oppose anything that requires self-discipline and denying the flesh (cf. 2 Peter 2:19).  Therefore, people object to basic Scriptural commands and principles.  For example, those who want to promote women teachers and preachers say that it is “legalistic” to prohibit such activities (cf. 1 Timothy 2:11-12; 3:1; 1 Corinthians 14:33-37).  Those who want to promote immodest clothing on men or women say that it is “legalistic” to require proper and modest attire (1 Timothy 2:9-11; 1 Peter 3:3-4).  Those who want to promote an entertainment focus say that it is “legalistic” to teach against this frivolity and foolishness and warn against worldliness (Romans 12:1-2; James 1:27; 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17).  Likewise, those who want to indulge in anything that tastes good and want to be free to become obese may become angry at those who urge a careful diet that is nutritious and promotes good health.  They will cry, “Legalism!”

To emphasize a good diet that promotes health will emphasize devoting our body to the Lord (Romans 12:1-2) while carefully avoiding the impression that we can save ourselves by our own works of righteousness.  We can never be saved or justified by our own holy life, our good deeds, or our works of obedience (Philippians 3:9; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5).  We are saved by grace through faith and that not of ourselves (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Furthermore, there is enough question regarding various elements of health and nutrition, that we cannot offer a complete and infallible blueprint of what is healthful and what isn’’t.  Some foods are clear but some are not that clear.  We need much humility when it comes to this subject and every other subject in the Christian life.  Therefore, let’’s promote good health through good nutrition and do all we can to avoid the detrimental junk food and fast food that harms and destroys the human body and desecrates the temple of the Holy Spirit.

17.  How shall we look at childhood overweight?  Children are having a problem with overweight and obesity at an alarming rate.  Presently, it is reported that about 12,500,000 children are overweight in the United States!  One authority states: “Although there are some genetic and hormonal causes of childhood obesity, most of the time it’s caused by kids eating too much and exercising too little” (mayoclinic. com/health/ child-hoodobesity, and surgeongeneral .gov/ Obesityprevention).  We read that “regularly eating high-calorie foods, such as fast foods, baked goods and vending machine snacks, can easily cause your child to gain weight.  Loading up on soft drinks, candy and desserts also can cause weight gain.  Foods and beverages like these are high in sugar, fat and calories” (mayoclinic. com/health /childhood-obesity).

Serious effects await the child who has become overweight.  Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, asthma, sleep disorders, sleep apnea, early puberty, bone and joint problems, liver and gall bladder disease, depression, heart disease, and other conditions.  This can lead to heart failure and cancer in adulthood (mayoclinic.com/ health/ childhood-obesity, and kids health. org/parent /food/weight/overweight_obesity).

Parents (as well as the school system, child care center, and other institutions) are particularly guilty of sinning against their children in allowing them to become overweight!  They allow the child to watch hundreds of commercials for junk food on the TV, and allow the child to pick his own junk food, commercial breakfast cereal, candy, pastries, pizza, and other negative foods.  They may use junk food as a “reward” for their child, thereby establishing the child’s desires in the direction of harmful foods.  God holds the parents particularly guilty of this sin (as well as being a poor example themselves), thus they need to repentantly confess these wrongs to God as well as their children, seeking the Lord’s forgiveness as well as their children’s forgiveness (1 John 1:9; James 5:16; Ephesians 6:4).

18.  Is there any other factor that will contribute to good health, other than avoiding junk food?  The opposite to avoiding junk food is to eat nutritious food.  This is a key to good health.  In addition, it is essential for one to deliberately exercise regularly or perhaps obtain sufficient physical activity on the job to ensure good health.  Other factors would be pure water, good hygiene, clean air, some sunshine, a tranquil spirit, and preventive medicine.  There is no one ingredient in good health; it involves a multi-faceted approach in life.

19.  If I am in middle age now and have been eating junk food all of my life, will God transform my body and make me healthy?  It is true that God will forgive our sins if we repent of them. Jesus said, “Any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people” (Matthew 12:31).  We can be forgiven of all of our dietary sins of the past as well—if we confess and forsake them (Proverbs 28:13).  The blood of Christ can wash us of all sin (cf. 1 John 1:7).  (See also the following question.)

The consequences of past sin are another matter.  While the guilt may be forgiven, we may need to bear with the result of those sins.  A drunkard may be forgiven of his repeated intoxication, but he may suffer from liver failure.  A smoker may be forgiven of his tobacco use, but he may need to suffer the consequences of emphysema or lung cancer.  One who has tattoos covering his body may be forgiven of this sin, but he may need to bear the marks of this foolishness all of his life.  One who has spent too much time in the sun as a teenager may be forgiven of his immodesty in wearing swim attire, but he may contract skin cancer later in life.

Likewise, one who has abused his body with junk foods of all kinds during his pre-teen or teen years may later suffer the consequences of this sin.  For forty years, plaque may have built up in his arteries because of eating a diet high in saturated fats and living a sedentary life, and he may be forgiven of this, but he may yet suffer a fatal heart attack at age fifty or sixty.  Likewise, one who has consumed harmful foods all of his early life may later fall prey to terminal cancer.  God doesn’’t guarantee that all of the results of past sin will be removed.  Let’’s be grateful for the forgiveness of the guilt of sin and do all we can now to reverse the consequences of past foolish dietary choices.  Thankfully, some of the bodily damages can be changed!  God may be merciful and keep us from the suffering that we deserve!

20.  How can I rid myself of the guilt of dietary sins of the past?  Indeed, it is important that one come to the conviction that one can seriously sin against his own body by harming it through junk foods and other harmful foods.  He can also sin against others (by being a poor model), especially one’s family, but the primary sin is against God who gave us our body and deserves our respectful treating of this amazing gift (Psalm 51:4; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Some may wonder if eating a poor and harmful diet is really sinful.  I noticed a sigh one time that stated: “”Take home our most sinfully delicious pie ever!””  This seems to show that people inherently realize that some foods are harmful to the health and should be categorized as “sinful.”  You have probably also read or heard some of the same slogans.  Since this is true, we need to confess to our children that we have encouraged them to learn bad dietary habits and established ingrained preferences for junk foods.  We also need to confess to our spouse that we have ruined our health and harmed our body through eating junk food in the past.  Openly confess this to him or her, and seek their forgiveness (cf. James 5:16; Luke 15:18-19; Matthew 18:21-35).

Especially, it is vital that you confess your many years of dietary excess, your selfish pursuit of taste rather than nutrition, your waste of money for inferior fare, your harming of your body through consumption of junk foods of all kinds throughout your life.  If we honestly, sincerely, repent of such sin and confess it to God, He will forgive us our sins and cleans us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9; Acts 8:21-22).  Begin to live with wisdom, self-control, and love in the future and God may help you to restore some of your lost health, according to His mercy.

Junk Foods and Overweight

The problem of obesity and overweight in America is directly tied to eating junk foods.  While it is possible to become overweight without visiting the fast food establishments, often it is connected with frequenting such places.  But it is easily possible to just use the regular supermarkets and buy the high-calorie foods, the high-fat foods, and other foods that are detrimental to health—and then become overweight.  Presently, as we noted earlier, an amazing 70 percent of the American public are overweight!  This condition is generally caused by the combination of too much food, the wrong kinds of foods, and lack of physical activity (either through work or exercise).

What are the effects of being overweight?  Some people are sorry for the overweight person, while others have a sense of disgust, and still others identify with this condition.  Besides the negative sight of being overweight, there are numerous dangers to one’s health.  The following portion is taken from a short article entitled “Health Dangers of Being Obese or Overweight.”

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If you are overweight and not seriously attempting to improve your overall health including reducing your body fat, an early death awaits you. In all probability, it will be a drawn out, miserable path to death involving many different diseases and disorders along the way.

The following list of the health dangers of being obese does not claim to be comprehensive. In fairness, neither does it claim that all overweight people—or even any overweight or obese person—will contract all of the following ailments. Still, medical research and health experts have identified that overweight and obese people have significantly increased level of risk of contracting these ailments. You can be absolutely assured that some of them will apply to you. If not now, then sooner than you may think.

  1. High blood pressure, which may then also lead to:
    1. Headaches
    2. Ear noise & buzzing
    3. Tiredness
    4. Shortness of breath
    5. Excessive sweating
    6. Confusion
    7. Vision changes
    8. Nose bleeds
    9. Blood in urine
    10. Kidney damage / failure
    11. Strokes
  2. Elevated serum cholesterol levels
  3. Elevated LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels
  4. Decreased HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels
  5. Elevated triglyceride levels
  6. Elevated blood glucose
  7. Decreased blood oxygen
  8. Decreased testosterone levels
  9. Heart disease and Strokes, potentially leading on to:
    1. Heart attack
    2. Congestive heart failure
    3. Sudden cardiac death
    4. Angina
    5. Arrhythmia
    6. Chest pain
    7. Brain hemorrhage
    8. Paralysis
  10. Cancers including (but not limited to):
    1. Endometrial cancer
    2. Colon cancer
    3. Gall bladder cancer
    4. Prostate cancer
    5. Kidney cancer
    6. Esophageal cancer
    7. Uterine cancer
    8. Breast cancer
    9. Ovarian cancer
    10. Pancreatic cancer
  11. Asthma
  12. Snoring
  13. Obstructive sleep apnea
  14. Osteoarthritis
  15. Cataracts
  16. Erectile dysfunction
  17. Impotence
  18. Infertility
  19. Loss of libido
  20. Irregular menstrual cycles
  21. Gestational diabetes
  22. Type Two Diabetes, potentially resulting in:
    1. Slow healing of cuts & wounds
    2. Abnormally frequent urination
    3. Increased thirst
    4. Nerve damage
    5. Blurred vision
    6. Heart Disease
    7. Kidney Disease
    8. Stroke
    9. Blindness
    10. Erectile dysfunction
    11. Amputations
  23. Pregnancy and birth complications
  24. Increased need for Ceasarean sections
  25. Birth defects for the infant such as:
    1. Spina Bifida
    2. Low blood sugar
    3. Brain damage
    4. Seizures
    5. Neural tube defects
    6. Omphalocele
    7. Heart defects
  26. Depression
  27. Gall bladder disease, potentially leading on to:
    1. Gall stones
    2. Abdominal pain
    3. Back pain
  28. Incontinence
  29. Increased surgical risks
  30. Tinnitus
  31. Fatty liver disease, potentially leading on to:
    1. Cirrhosis of the liver
    2. Severe liver damage / failure
  32. Insulin resistance syndrome
  33. Reduced immune function
  34. Swollen joints / fluid retention
  35. Muscular aches and pains, particularly:
    1. Neck
    2. Shoulders
    3. Chest
  36. Biomechanical injuries & faults, including:
    1. Sunken arches / flat foot
    2. Heel spurs
    3. Plantar fasciitis
    4. Shin soreness
    5. Creaking knees
    6. Achilles tendonitis
    7. Calcific tendonopathy
    8. Sprained ankles
    9. Bone chips
  37. Gout
  38. Social and career ostracism & discrimination which may result in loneliness, poverty, sexual frustration
  39. Periodontal disease (Research published : April 2009)
  40. Restless Legs Syndrome (Research published : April 2009)

As this list of the health dangers of obesity is far from comprehensive, you should now realize that there are many significant health risks associated with obesity. The effects of obesity are so far reaching that overweight & obese individuals would do well to consider not only their own welfare but also that of those they love and deal seriously with it before the consequences become irreversible. (dietwords.com/ obesity_dangers.shtml)

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Another report quoted Eric J. Jacobs, an epidemiologist with the American Cancer Society in Atlanta.  This researcher stated: “A larger waist size was found to be linked to a higher risk for dying from cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and cancer at every measure of body mass index” (“Wider Waist May Raise Death Risk Later in Life,” www.business week.com / lifestyle/content/healthday/641927).  A further article says that “an estimated 300,000 American deaths a year are related to obesity.”  It then stated, “In April 2005, a new study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) published in JAMA concludes that obesity kills 112,000 Americans each year” (annecollins.com/ obesityh/ risks-of-obesity.htm).

These are some of the reasons why I, as a follower of Christ Jesus, my Owner and Lord, want to refrain from eating junk food and every other harmful food.  If my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and if it is owned by the Lord, then I want to keep it as healthy as possible by only eating nutritious food in the right quantities, along with practicing the whole range of health principles.

What Can I do Now?

By now you may be convinced that you have been pursuing fleshly and sinful dietary choices.  You may look back over your past years and are ready to conclude that your eating “junk food” has contributed to poor health in the present and may have serious effects on your future years.  Perhaps your health has already broken, in part, because of your self-centered and personally gratifying unhealthy eating (along with other physical “sins”).  What can you do at this point in your life?

As in all cases of personal irresponsibility, God calls on you to repent of all sin (cf. Matthew 3:6-8; Acts 2:38; 8:21-22).  He wants you to lay aside all self-focus, all self-centeredness, all fleshly appetites, and living for yourself (2 Corinthians 5:15; Romans 6:1-11).  This means that you must “die” to all sinful and fleshly lusts (including junk food lusts) and renounce everything that manifests your sinful and selfish choices (Colossians 3:5ff).  You must “deny yourself” and all carnal choices of your past (Mark 8:34).

If you have never believed in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, your primary concern is to place all of your faith in Jesus Christ and His death to save you (Romans 3:23-26; 5:6-11) and to repent of your sins (Acts 20:21).  Then embody this repentant faith in baptism, in which you die to sin and are buried with Christ as you are baptized (immersed) in water and then rise to walk a new life (Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:11-13; Acts 22:16).  Let your future lifestyle and work demonstrate that indeed you have repented of your sins and given your life to God (cf. Acts 26:20; Matthew 3:8; Ephesians 2:10).  Allow God, through the Holy Spirit, to make you a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)—one who is in love with God and others and whose whole life is renewed.  Your food choices will also be transformed!  May God bless you in this exciting new life!

 

 

 

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