Two chocolate chip cookies
A handful of chips
A half a hot dog
Part of a chicken salad sandwich
I am ashamed to say that the list above includes everything I had to eat one day not too long ago. I’d been busy, as always, and finding the time to eat right was lower than usual on my list of priorities.
As I sat down to spend some time with the Lord through Bible study and prayer that afternoon, my food choices suddenly caught up with me. My brain felt foggy. My tummy was rumbling. I just couldn’t concentrate on hearing God’s Truth. And that got me thinking about the connection between the way I treat my body and my ability to let God work in my heart.
This connection is illustrated in the story of Elijah found in 1 Kings 19:1-13. Here’s the short version. Elijah was at the end of his rope. Only after he took a nap did he find the clarity and strength to seek out the presence of God. But there’s more to that story. Elijah wasn’t just strengthened by sleep. Food played a huge role in his restoration.
“He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. ‘I have had enough, Lord,’ he said. ‘Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.' Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep.
"All at once an angel touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat.’ He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
"The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.’ So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.” (1 Kings 19:4-9)
When Elijah was in the pit of despair, the angel didn’t command him to pray. He didn’t send Elijah to church. He told him to do something much more practical—eat! (The angel even provided the warm bread—yum!)
Most of the women I know have a strained relationship with food. Many of them are so busy running from work to kid’s activities to church to family time to being with friends that they’re lucky to grab fast food in between point a and point b. Others have a far more dangerous approach to food and either avoid it all together or use it as a means of comfort. And then they wonder why they don’t have the energy to build a relationship with Christ.
God designed our bodies to need nourishment. It should come as no surprise when ignoring that design impacts our spiritual walks with Him.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul gives a description of our bodies that bears repeating here.
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19).
Your body is a temple. Neglecting it comes at a cost. I’m not talking about diets here. This isn’t a post about food pyramids or calories or carbs. I’m simply pointing out that God designed each of our bodies to be fueled by food. When we ignore that design, our natural rhythms are upset. The impact often goes beyond our physical well-being to our emotional and spiritual health.
If you’re feeling ragged these days, you might consider heeding the angel’s advice to Elijah: “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you” (1 Kings 19:7).