Food Is Overrated

Cooking shows are everywhere now. We even have multiple networks that are dedicated to culinary practices. The Food Network was the 18th-ranked network in 2022. That’s just behind the Discovery Channel and before USA Network. Food is also big money. In 2023, Americans spent 95 billion dollars on restaurants compared to 72 billion at the grocery store. On average, Americans spent $103 in restaurants for every $100 they spent in the grocery store. We have become a society led by our stomachs.

If you get on social media; Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok, you’ll see photos and videos of what people are grilling, smoking, baking, and frying daily. Everyone wants to win a James Beard Award and get on a reality show with Gordon Ramsey. We don’t see food as fuel for our bodies. We see it as a status symbol. People today want to see and be seen, and they really want their food to be showcased. We now have gourmet stores and restaurants for cupcakes, popsicles, beef jerky, and tacos. The food culture in America has gotten out of hand. It’s no wonder people turn their noses up to fasting. Fasting has to appear as the most unsexy thing an American can do.

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Philippians 3:17–21

Does that sound familiar at all? You would almost think that the Apostle Paul was one of our contemporaries. Is he talking about the good ol’ USA? Of course he isn’t, but he is talking about what a sinful person looks like. Notice, he said, “their god is their belly”? Paul also makes the bold statement to imitate him. Why would he say that? The better question would be “Why wouldn’t we want people to imitate us?” Paul, formerly Saul, had been a member of the Sanhedrin. There were few that could out-knowledge him. He inhaled and exhaled God’s Word like he was breathing. He also understood the discipline of fasting. In 2 Corinthians 11:27, Paul is talking about all the suffering he had to endure in his ministry. 

…in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
2 Corinthians 11:27

The phrase, “often without food” is actually better translated as “often in fasting.” Paul fasted when he was blinded leading up to his conversion. He fasted as he and Barnabas went about the task of raising up elders. The church at Antioch prayed and fasted over Paul and Barnabas before sending them out. Fasting was a huge part of Paul’s life and ministry. He lived what he preached.

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them.
Hebrews 13:7–9

Again, we see here that we are to imitate our leaders. We also read that we are to be strengthened by “grace, not by foods.” How many of us have “comfort foods” that we lean on when we’re having a rough day? We eat an entire container of ice cream. We order extra fries with our sandwich. We devour an entire bag of Doritos while we watch a sad movie. Those foods aren’t evil. What we’re doing with them is. We’re using them to give us comfort in times of sorrow or loss. That ice cream is therapy for us. The Doritos are medication. The problem is that they don’t heal anything. They typically make us feel worse. Not only are we sad, but now we feel a touch uncomfortable in the belly, and we watch as our waistlines grow. There’s only one place where we should take our sorrows. 

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6–7

Let’s be honest. Those french fries don’t give a rip about you. They serve one purpose, to be a food lacking any nutrition. God, on the other hand, cares deeply for you and wants you to cast all your issues, your anxiety, and your troubles on Him. He WANTS to lift you up. He WANTS to exalt you. The only barrier to that is you. We tend to block God’s blessing more often than we realize. We undersell, undercut, and undermine ourselves to the point that we see ourselves as worthless and unworthy. That’s when we turn to our bellies for healing and comfort. We give food too much credit, and we need to get better control of that. 

When we fast, we are unlocking shackles that tell us we need our food at all times, on all occasions. We’ve convinced ourselves that our slave owners aren’t real, and we are just fine where we are. Fasting says otherwise. It opens our eyes to the fact that our food doesn’t deserve a throne, a pedestal, or a platform. It is there for our benefit. It doesn’t control us. We control it. When we fast, we take back that ownership, and we place our trust, and our hunger to God.

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other.
1 Corinthians 6:12–13

Do not allow food to dominate you. You have the control, and by releasing food’s hold over you, you will find it much easier to serve God. Through fasting we empty ourselves of physical need and focus on our spiritual needs in God’s Word, Prayer, and Worship. Don’t be afraid of fasting. Embrace it. Don’t see it as restriction. See it as freedom. Be freed of the chains that are holding you down and allow God to work in you as you release your need for food.


Emily - January 28th, 2024 at 11:12am


John Kelley - January 29th, 2024 at 10:03am