Most people think preachers are not supposed
to talk about weight loss, exercise, and
healthy living. Some people think that all we are
supposed to talk about is getting ready for heaven.
But it is part of the church’s mission to share
God’s instructions regarding healthy living.
From the beginning, God has given us foods
(Gen. 1:29) that can help prevent cancer and
heart disease. Since God had provided Adam and
Eve with abundant fruits and vegetables, He must
have intended for them to be vegetarians. However,
after Adam and Eve had eaten the forbidden
fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil,
God allowed animal sacrifices to be made and
subsequently allowed meat to be eaten.
Prior to the Flood, we read that a distinction
arose between clean and unclean animals
(Gen. 7:2). Moses later enacted this distinction
into law. The law was based partly on their
wholesomeness as food and partly on religious
In the book of Leviticus, we learn a lot
about the restrictions placed upon foods that
the Hebrews could and could not eat. However,
there are numerous references to other healthy
foods mentioned in the Bible, and I have listed
several examples below:
I. The “Cleans”
•Clean, lean meat from certain animals (Lev. 11:2, 3).
•Fish with fins and scales (Lev. 11:9; Deut. 14:9).
•Honey, known to have several healing ingredients, especially royal jelly, which comes from the queen bee (Prov. 24:13; Deut. 8:8; Gen. 43:11).
•Barley grains (Ruth 1:22).
•Almonds and other nuts loaded with various nutrients (Gen. 43:11).
•Millet and other grains (Ezek. 4:9).
•Cucumbers, leeks, melons, onions, and other foods (Num. 11:5).
•Barley, wheat, figs, grapes, and pomegranates (Deut. 8:8).
•Unleavened and multigrain bread (high in fiber and gives protection from both heart disease and cancer) (Exod. 12:8, 15; Ezek. 4:9).
•Yogurt (from honey and curds/milk of cows, sheep, and goats) (Isa. 7:15, 22; Prov. 27:27).
•Beans and lentils (Gen. 25:34; Ezek. 4:9).
•Garlic, which contains cancer-fighting chemicals and also helps to maintain a good cholesterol level in the body (Num. 11:5).
•Olive oil, which can “clean” the artery
walls and strengthen the immune system
II. The “Uncleans”
•All that move in the water that do not have fins and scales. (Shellfish such as lobster and crab lived in water, but they could not be eaten because they had no fins or scales [Lev. 11:10]. These sea creatures—although high in zinc—contain a large amount of cholesterol).
•Wild birds and scavengers (not to be eaten because they fed upon dead animals and birds (Deut. 14:21; Lev. 11:13-19). A wide variety of birds are listed that should not be eaten because man was not allowed to eat anything related to dead things.
•Restrictions were placed upon what man could eat because of health reasons (Exod. 22:31). For instance, pork deteriorated rapidly in the semi-tropical climate of Palestine. In addition, swine have split hooves, but they don’t chew the cud so are considered unclean.
•All other flying creeping things (besides locust, bald locust, beetle, and grasshopper) which have four feet shall be an abomination unto you (Lev. 11:23).
•Other creeping things could not be eaten
either (Lev. 11:41-43). An example of this
would be a snake.
III. Our body is a temple
Our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost.
Are you treating it with respect so it will last
a long time? The Bible tells us, “And the very
God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray
God your whole spirit and soul and body be
preserved blameless unto the coming of our
Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:23, KJV, emphasis
Furthermore, we are told to “present your
bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto
God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom.
Overeating, undereating, improper eating,
lack of rest, no exercise, worry, stress, and
frustration are all potentially dangerous and
are definitely not right. However, proper nutrition,
rest, plenty of vigorous exercise, laughter,
and enough relaxation and fun are elements
that are essential to good health.
IV. Lack of knowledge
The Bible says that God’s “people are
destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6,
KJV). As Christians, we need to acquire enough
knowledge about the foods we eat so that we
will be able to know what foods are good for
us and stay away from empty or wasted calories.
We need to use wisdom in selecting what
foods we eat, yet exercise self-control and eat
a variety of healthy foods.
V. Final insights
A. The bondage of dietary laws. Diets are
like a “law,” a written code of rules and regulations
that serves only to increase our desire to
break them. God told Adam and Eve that they
could freely eat of every tree in the garden—
except one. That was freedom, and that is what
God wants for all of us (Gal. 5:1).
Jesus tells us that He came into this world
“that we might have life and have it more abundantly”
(John 10:10). He wants us to “prosper
and be in health, even as our soul prospers”
(3 John 2).
We as believers are called to liberty. God
does not want us to be in bondage to strict
diets, overeating, or any harmful substances.
Instead, He wants us to be free and to exercise
self-control in all areas of our lives.
B. Taking God for granted? Too often we as
believers take God for granted. In this fast-paced
society of instant gratification, we assume we
can eat what we want to eat with no regard to the
consequences. Then, when we suffer physical
ailments, we expect God to fix them right away.
The bottom line is that we reap what we
sow—we are what we eat. If we eat fruits and
vegetables and limit our intake of fatty foods,
we will reap abundant health and vitality. If we
eat fast food and forget about those colorful
fruits and vegetables, we will reap health problems
down the road.
Exodus 23:25 declares, “And ye shall
serve the Lord your God, and he shall bless thy
bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness
away from the midst of thee” (KJV). Believe
God today for His best in your body, but also
take care of His creation by what you eat and
how you rest to enjoy healthy living!