The story of Eve is one that many of us are familiar with. Genesis 3:1-10 outlines this story that the men in our lives love to recall. The one that tells how a woman, Eve, changed the course of all our lives by eating a forbidden fruit. In short, the story tells about Adam and Eve living in the beautiful garden of Eden with access to everything they needed, and the only thing they were forbidden from eating was the fruit from one particular tree. Unfortunately, Eve gave in to temptation, after some nudging from the serpent (Satan), and that was when sin was introduced to our world.
I think this story speaks volumes still today, in particular about the relationship between the consumption of food and sin. Forbidden fruit will cause harm, or at the very least keep you from living the life God has planned for you. Physically speaking, food that is good for us will nourish us, help us feel our best, and not distract us from the things God really wants us to focus on. Foods that are not good for us will do the opposite. Satan will try to convince us (like he did Eve) that we are missing out if we don’t eat that fruit, or that the consequences will not be there if we do. He came at poor Eve from every angle: doubt regarding what God instructed her to do (did God really say not to eat that?), dismissal of the consequences (you will not surely die), and if you don’t eat it you are definitely missing out on something awesome (God doesn’t want your eyes to be opened).
Really, I feel bad for Eve, and I’m afraid I would have eaten the stupid fruit too. Healthy eating is something that I feel passionate about because I know the reward it brings, and I certainly know the consequences of a bad diet. Despite my desire to eat well, I still struggle on a daily basis to stick to my healthy choices and avoid those forbidden fruits. The hardest part is that poor diet choices are not always obvious. Satan was very tricky with Eve and he is still waiting for moments that he can sneak in and put a little wiggle room between us and God. We definitely need to avoid the glaring forbidden fruits, the things that God clearly says we don’t need to eat. I have also discovered that when it comes to healthy eating, even the little things make a difference.
A few years ago I was trying to reach a goal in training and decided to start a diet challenge. I went into it thinking that I had been eating pretty good, and was frustrated that I couldn’t reach my goals. The challenge involved cutting out anything processed, and eating proper portions of very clean food for several weeks. What I found is that I had been eating pretty well, but “pretty well” doesn’t get you amazing results. I found that between my salads and grilled fish I was slipping in a dessert here, some queso there, and at the end of the week all those little things added up and worked to prevent me from meeting my goals. As I realized how these little diet slips were really a big deal, I felt God calling me to a bigger gut-check. I felt him reminding me that sin is like those little “cheats” sometimes, seemingly small and harmless, but cumulatively destructive over time. I began to look at all the little things I did throughout the day and noticed that between my morning quiet time and evening Bible study there were a lot of little things turning my attention from Him. All nutrition cheats have the potential to move us further from our fitness goal; even the smallest cheats come at a price. All sin distances us from God, big or small. If you have glaring things that you know you need to change in your diet or in life (big red apples that God has clearly said no to but you choose to do them anyway), work on them, pray about them, and give them to Him so that he can remove them from you. On the other hand, if there are destructive things that seem small to you, know that they are just as important to eliminate and can sometimes be more dangerous than the “big” sins.
When we do sin, we should not let guilt or shame keep us from seeking God and turning to Him quickly. When we make bad diet choices, the very next choice we make has the ability to set us back on the right path or take us farther down the wrong one. The same is true with sin. Satan would like to convince us that we would be missing out if we didn’t eat that brownie, that God doesn’t really care whether we eat a little brownie, and that if we do eat the brownie there really won’t be any harm. Friends, Satan is a liar, and God’s intentions for us are always, always good. He cares about every hair on our heads and every bite we consume, especially the ones he has specifically told us not to eat.
I don’t have unrealistic expectations of eating a perfect diet every day of my life, and I don’t believe that God has forbidden me from ever eating brownies. What I do have is an awareness of the importance of the little things in both my daily battle with nutrition and my daily walk with Jesus. I also have a desire to live a God-honoring life in which I use up every bit of God-given potential I have to impact this world. I don’t want to be pretty healthy and feel ok, I want to be in the best shape I can possibly be in, so that I am able to do all that I am called to do. I know that all the little choices I make throughout the day add up, both nutritionally and spiritually speaking. I don’t want to be a good person who lives a pretty good life. I want to see God work amazing wonders in me, through me, and in those around me. Each bite we consume has the potential to nourish us and prepare us to do what God would have us to do, or to discourage us, and keep us from reaching our God-given potential. Eve is an example of every woman who has ever longed for a bite of chocolate she didn’t need, a cute pair of heels she can’t afford, or to somehow satisfy the desires of her flesh with things that God is clearly telling her to avoid. Let’s learn from Eve and be women who take God’s instructions to heart and seek only the food that will nourish our bodies and our souls, because we know it is the best way, the only way, to truly be what we desire to be.