Eat with Grace, Not Under Law

Have you ever wondered what life would be like without any rules, regulations, or laws?

Give it some thought. What would it be like to buckle your family into a vehicle, pull out of your driveway and get on an interstate where there were no speed limits, no stop signs or red lights, and no driving etiquette. If driving in a world with no guidelines doesn’t make you anxious enough, think about living in a world without public law to protect your rights, property, or human life.

The bottom line is that rules and boundaries can be a very healthy and helpful thing.

The truth is most humans are good at following general guidelines that uphold peace for the majority, but no one has ever held all law to perfection. Even you are guilty of speeding (even if you didn’t get caught), possibly failing to report every penny of income, or taking a pen from work without permission. Trivial, but still defiant.

Screen Shot 2019-04-04 at 1.46.59 PM.png

God went to great lengths to prove to us human beings that we are imperfect by design. In the Old Testament, the law was designed to be so rigid and hard to keep perfect that we needed grace and a savior.

 

So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.
— Deuteronomy 5:32-33 (NIV)

I can’t imagine what it must have been like for the Israelites to see the ten commandments for the first time. Do you feel anxiety thinking about keeping God’s standards?

God wanted His people to enjoy His blessings, so He provided a standard for how they should live. He was direct in communicating His will; He gave them the law which was a blueprint for how He wanted them to live.

Be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you
— (v.32.)

Born again Christians are aware of the Lord’s instructions. You read your bible, do devotionals, engage in the pastor’s teachings and life groups. Even with all your knowledge and confessed faith, you find yourself slipping, unable to do it all (at least not all in the same day).

Even with the best intentions, you’re unable to live up to God’s holy standard. 


For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”
— Galatians 3:10-12 (NIV)

I’m just going to go out on a limb and assume you aren’t perfect. Something tells me that at some point in your life you have had to receive grace from a parent, spouse, teacher, and God All Mighty. Remember, how it felt when you were forgiven (however little the mess up)?

Humans tend to be repeat offenders of even the smallest transgressions. And you aren’t unique in feeling like a constant letdown. The Apostle Paul had the same struggle that you and I do. He got it to the point he wrote the Bibles most profoundly confusing few lines. Ha-Ha.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.  And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.  For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
— Romans 7:15-20 (NIV)

News Flash: God isn’t shocked when you are unable to walk the straight and narrow. The law was created to provide a moral standard. But, as people who live after Jesus came and died for us, we live by faith in Jesus Christ, the only One that was capable of living in perfect obedience.

So, the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.
— Galatians 3: 24-25 (NIV)

What role does the law now play in the life a Christ-follower?

You might think that if it is impossible to live up to God’s perfect standard, why try? Well, if everyone didn’t “try” to follow the rules of the road, there would be a lot more casualties due to carefree driving. Followers of Christ should strive to uphold the Old Testament commandments, allowing it to convict us, not condemn us. You and I obey out of a heart for Christ and a desire to please Him.

Healthy Twist. If by design, you are unable to uphold God’s law perfectly, why do you expect to be able to adhere to strict food rules?

The same imperfect flesh that slips on the Ten Commandments will undoubtedly fail you with silly eating rules. Let’s learn to approach eating with the same faith and grace that comes with living your best Christ-like life. Use time-tested principles to guide your food choices, not dictate them. Offer yourself grace, instead of condemnation and have faith that perfection isn’t required to be in good health.

For yourself, I want you to ponder fad diets or trends that you have made nutrition “law” for you. And then allow God to release of those strongholds you created for yourself. Jesus didn’t die for you to live trapped in a fad diet. There is freedom in Christ, that includes food, too.

Rebecca Turner