Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“To the pure, all things are pure.”
Paul, in Titus 1:15
“Food does not bring us closer to God. We have not missed out if we do not eat; nor, if we eat, have we gained anything. But beware, lest this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to the weak..”
Paul, in 1Corinthians 8:8-9
We know that we have liberty in Christ. Paul said, for one example, that if an unbeliever invites us to a feast, we are free to go or not to go. However, he added that if we choose to go, we should not allow the food they serve at that feast to become an issue, but that we should “eat whatever is placed before you, asking nothing for conscience’ sake” (1Cor. 10:27).
Sometimes, there are medical reasons for God’s people not eating certain foods. And within the confines of their own homes, God’s people are free to “eat whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God” (Dt. 12:15, 20). This means, of course, that within your own home, you are free to refrain from eating whatever you do not want to eat. But if you have fallen into the trap of absolutely having to have a certain type of food, or of absolutely having to avoid a certain type of food, no matter where you travel, you are in the flesh. You are a reproach to Christ. If you are so set on some kind of eating habit that you take it with you and impose it on others, wherever you go, and the saints of God you visit have to re-arrange their lifestyle to accommodate your personal eating habits, you are in the flesh. You are denying the work of the Lord who came to make us free to eat whatever will not interrupt the flow of the Spirit among the saints. With your self-willed way of eating, you are distracting others from God’s way of life.
Paul said that wicked men would come who would compel others “to abstain from foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and understand the truth” (1Tim. 4:3). Early Christian leaders did just that. But there is more than one way to compel others to refrain from certain “foods”. One can put that burden on others by giving outright commands for them not to do so, as the Popes did; but another is simply to make others feel uncomfortable or ashamed of eating their normal food in your presence.
If you would please God, you will humble yourself to make Christ, not food or how others prepare it for you, the focus of life. You will eat what is set before you with faith toward God, “asking nothing”, as messengers of God who have a purpose for being here that transcends food.