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3 Things Your Church Doesn’t Tell You About Food and Faith 

 July 20, 2020

By  jennifer@thinkingnutrition.co.nz

What if the image you have of yourself, is massively under-rated? What if you were created to be SO much more than what you believe or have been told?

Like discovering you have a secret super-power (seriously, I wouldn’t say no to flying as my superpower, or maybe invisibility?).

Well it turns out you do have a superpower! And that superpower is not being thin and pretty (Or baking the best sugar-free treats for your kids).

Mothers innately know they possess a boundless power to protect their children. I’ve had many joking conversations with fellow mums, as we share our thoughts on our ability to summon a mountain of strength to fight for and defend our children. We nickname ourselves mama-bears. Because we know, just like a wild bear, we would fight to the death to protect our cubs.

In the last few weeks I’ve been reading Half the Church, written by Carolyn Custis James. What an eye-opener.

Custis James wants women to become what they were intended to be in God’s kingdom (Spoiler alert: it’s not thin and pretty).

#1 God Calls You His Ezer

In the bible God calls the first woman ezer (which is pronounced like razor without the ‘r’).  The Hebrew word ezer is translated as helper. And for a long time that use of the word ‘ezer’ to describe women fitted nicely with the old narrative that women are here to serve and take care of their husbands, children, wider family and community.

But here’s the thing. The name ezer is more often used in the Old Testament for God himself. Yes women are called ezer, but God is also called ezer. We are named after our heavenly father…. like father, like daughter.

And of the 21 times that the word ezer appears in the Old Testament, twice is in reference to the woman in Genesis, three times for nations to whom Israel appealed for military aid, and sixteen times when God is referred to as Israel’s helper, explains Custis James.

When all of those references to ezer were tallied up; it couldn’t be denied that ezer meant more than doing the washing, cooking and looking after the kids, whilst also maintaining a youthful, thin figure (yep, that was sarcasm, ahem).

What Custis James discovered when she looked up each of those 21 references to ezer in the bible, is that they were consistently used in a military context. God as his people’s “shield and defence”, “better than chariots and horses,” and standing “sentry watch over his people”.

Putting all of this together, Custis James proclaims, “isn’t it obvious that the ezer is a warrior?”

Yes the ezer helps and assists, but in the form of a strong helper, theologians agree. God has proclaimed that you are an ezer, a warrior, a battler, a survivor!

#2 You Are A Warrior

You’re not only a warrior when it comes to your children. Inside you is a full-time warrior.

Every woman is a warrior, whether you’re a mother or not.

You are made in God’s image, just like man. You are God’s image bearer and a warrior.

He has given you the strength you need to live your calling through him.

All the while The Diet Lie will constantly drag you down, convincing you that your purpose is to look thin and pretty. That your appearance is what matters. That you should focus on fixing your body now and you can do the other stuff later.

Society will tell you that as a woman there are expectations to fulfil – like getting married, becoming a mother, and supporting your husband and children. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but you are also called ezer… the strong helper, the warrior.

God did not call you ezer because he wants you to spend your life focused on getting thinner and looking pretty.

As Custis James explains, “Page one of the Bible shatters every negative value statement the world has ever made about women by offering up the most exalted view of women anyone could imagine.” As God names women, along with men, as his image bearers. And gives both men and women the same instruction: to be fruitful, fill the earth, subdue it and rule over it.

#3 Your Body Is A Temple Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means

If I had a dollar for every time someone misinterpreted this scripture I’d be a rich woman!

The truth is, this scripture doesn’t mean what people think it means:

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own…”
1 Corinthians 6:19

It doesn’t mean your body is a temple and so you have to keep it in shape, not get fat, stay toned and so on.

It doesn’t mean you need to focus a lot of attention on your body and worry about whether you’re maintaining it to God’s standard.

The key points here are this:

  1. A temple is a place OF worship, not a place TO worship.
  2. God doesn’t care if you worship him in a tin shack in rural Africa or the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.
  3. This scripture from Corinthians refers to sexual immorality, not the size of your skinfolds or how flat your abs are.

Our body is not to be worshiped and placed as an idol ahead of God. And maybe you’re thinking, “Girlfriend, I do NOT worship my body! I don’t like my body/thighs/tummy/etc etc.”

But idolising is not about how much we like or don’t like our body. It’s about how much of a priority we put on our body/diet rather than a relationship with God.

If you have time to count calories, but no time to read the bible – what does that say about priorities?

If you have time to go to the WW meeting, but not time to get to the Sunday church service, what does that say about priorities?

If you won’t go to the church lunch because you don’t want to eat the non-diet food there, what does that say about priorities?

An idol is any person, object or activity you give a higher priority in your life than a relationship with God.

Check yourself inside and out – are food, diets and body size a bigger priority in your life than God?

And secondly, whether your body is the metaphorical equivalent of a tin shack or a cathedral, God loves you totally.

Look, some people might say the second story on my ‘temple’ could do with a little renovation after two babies. But God loves me all the same, even with my tummy pouch and a generous sprinkling of cellulite.

Remember this: You are created in God’s own image – BOTH man and woman! (Check Genesis)

You are a warrior, with a life to live. Not a diet to complete.  Not a body to wrangle into shape.

Put aside the diets, food worries and body issues.

Discover what you truly feel passionate about.

God put something on your heart. What is that something?

THAT is what you should be living for. Not getting thinner.

Jennifer xo.

P.S. Wanna discover more about the relationship between your faith and food? Grab my FREE PDF right here:

 

jennifer@thinkingnutrition.co.nz


Hey, I’m Jennifer. I help women transform their relationship with food, their body and weight, so they can ditch the guilt and shame, and focus on more important stuff - like living a happy and healthy life!

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