1 Timothy 4:3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.
I have long been aware of the first part of this verse, feeling that the prohibition of marriage for priests and such is a major aberration, but it’s the matter of the prohibition of certain foods that jumps out at me right now. I am well aware that they had no idea of how the body processes food at the time Paul was writing, and that a balanced diet is very important for good health, but it still strikes me that every time I turn around, someone is proclaiming that such-and-such a food will kill me, and/or such-and-such a different food will restore me to the peak of youthful vigor. Such things are major distractions to focusing on the kingdom of God and His righteousness, (Matthew 6:33) which is precisely why the devil promotes them. The flip side of that is that obesity is a major epidemic in the US, and that too is a work of the devil. We are to be faithful stewards of our bodies, but that has more to do with moderation and usage than it does with various prohibitions. At the same time, everything is to be enjoyed in the framework God has laid out. The first item of marriage relates to that. Physical intimacy is a wonderful gift from God, but it is explicitly for the marital relationship and no other. The Bible has a lot to say about that! The issue of sex and marriage is pretty obvious, but the matter of dietary prohibitions tends to slip under the radar. There are specific physical conditions that require strict dietary restrictions, but I can’t help but feel the devil’s hand is at work there, too. The more the devil kicks up a fuss, the more we need to stand in God’s truth, as expressed in the Bible.
This is very close to home for me. My father died of heart trouble at 64, and physically I am his virtual clone, with a hereditary bent to high LDL cholesterol and low HDL. I took a statin for that for a couple of years, but stopped because of various side effects I read of, even though I had not yet experienced them. These days I pay little to no attention to cholesterol in food, not only because the vast majority of the cholesterol in the body is manufactured in the liver, but because the “experts” keep changing their minds about what is “best.” I walk regularly for exercise, and as a result my triglycerides have dropped to a very healthy level, and I do take some vitamins and minerals for the sake of my immune system. Otherwise, I enjoy food and don’t ask questions about it, simply praying that it would do for my body what is needed, as is mentioned in verse five. I am not to look down on those who are neurotic about food, but rather seek to be an agent of God’s grace and love to them. When there are specific physical issues involved, I am to pray for healing!
Father, this isn’t usually seen as a spiritual issue. Thank You for the insight You’ve given me this morning. I do pray that Your truth would set people free, (John 8:32) and also that any time I speak Your truth it would be in Your love, and be received as that. Thank You. Praise God!