Is it ‘the Daniel diet?’ (Vegetarianism with God’s blessing). Perhaps it’s the Eden diet or the Maker’s diet. (I’d love to say I’ve made these up, but no. Christians are suckers too).
This gets me thinking. Water into wine. Surely Ribena would be a healthier choice? Sugar-free, of course. Or John the Baptist. Locust and honey does not a balanced diet make. Perhaps angels brought him supplements. We could go on. Jeremiah. Naturally grumpy…or lactose intolerant? What about the garden of Eden? Why ban a nutritious piece of fruit?
Not all healthy eating is idolatrous: but as with an eating disorder, it can be. We see this with the rise of orthorexia: where ‘health foods’ rule us just as much as anorexia or binge-eating. For me, it’s currently ‘fertility foods’. Avocados, wholegrains and linseeds. I shake tins at my husband ‘Nuts for your …!’ And there’s some truth: if you’re under or overweight, it’s harder to conceive. But my weight is great. A pineapple will not impregnate me. (Sorry for all the mental images people, I think in pictures).
I tell myself it’s just being sensible: and it is, to a point. We live in a culture of ‘foodies’, so who’s to draw the line between passion and obsession? But even though we eat healthy, our hearts can stay sick. This is relevant for those with eating disorders: but it’s true for us all.
Think about Christ’s temptation. After 40 days fasting, he’s naturally hungry. The enemy asks Him to make the stones bread: and Jesus refuses. Instead He reminds the Devil that we live not by bread alone, but on God’s word.
What are we to learn? That I should read more of the Bible and cut down on sugar? No. Jesus is not simply a model for me to copy. I can’t do it! Whether it’s an eating disorder or an addiction to shopping, I can’t beat it myself. Even if my diet or bank balance is healthier, my heart stays the same and I cannot change it.
So what now? Look at myself and resolve to try harder? Or despise my frailty and beat myself up? (Both things that feed the disorder).
No. I lift my head and look to Jesus. In fact, no again. He lifts my head and He captures my gaze.
Jesus proves his divinity, not by making stones bread, but embracing His weakness. He refuses to feed Himself – because He wants to feed us. And to us He says:
‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’ (John 6:35)
We don’t need miracle supplements or extra linseed. We need Him.