Afraid of food?

Great power is often attributed to the foods we eat. Certain foods are supposed to have the power to keep us healthy, others to make us sick. The quantity of food we eat is expected to make us lose weight or gain weight. There are numerous concerns about what and how much we eat. Yet we need to eat!

Does prayer relate to the subject of eating? Indeed, prayer relates to every aspect of our lives, and it enables us to prove the power of God to meet every need. Through prayer we can gain dominion over the concerns relating to diet and progressively demonstrate God's care for every facet of our being. The Master, Christ Jesus, instructed his followers, ''Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat . . . . The life is more than meat.''n1 Certainly he was not suggesting to his disciples that they forget about eating. It is recorded in more than one instance in the Bible that he had compassion on the multitudes and fed them with loaves and fishes multiplied through prayer. And he even prepared a breakfast for his disciples after his resurrection. So, then, what could he have meant when he said, ''Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat?'' The New English Bible interprets this passage, ''I bid you put away anxious thoughts about food to keep you alive . . . .Life is more than food. . . .''

n1 Luke 12:22, 23. Life is more than food . . . .''

The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes, ''Admit the common hypothesis that food is the nutriment of life, and there follows the necessity for another admission in the opposite direction, - that food has power to destroy Life, God, through a deficiency or an excess, a quality or a quantity.'' She continues further on, ''The fact is, food does not affect the absolute Life of man, and this becomes self-evident, when we learn that God is our Life.''n2

n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 388.

I found this spiritual perspective very practical when my children and I became ill after eating food that was apparently spoiled. When we all had the same painful symptoms a couple of hours after our meal, I began to think back on what might have caused the problem. Circumstances led me to suspect that one particular item was the culprit, and I was annoyed with myself for not having recognized that we shouldn't have eaten it.

But in the midst of nausea, and on the heels of this material reasoning about cause and effect, I remembered Jesus' words quoted above. I also thought about what Christian Science had taught me - that food could not affect my absolute Life, because God is my Life.

While it seemed a fact that we had eaten bad food, I needed to see the absolute spiritual fact. I needed to pray, to acknowledge the spiritual truth that man's Life is God, totally unaffected by any material cause or effect related to food.

In my prayer I began to affirm God's allness and the absoluteness of His power. As I continued this, the thought that any particular portion of food could wield the power to put us into pain became more and more ridiculous to me. I felt certain that God was taking care of us, and that all power belongs to Him.

Within a very short time, we were all completely free of the symptoms - and freer as well from believing food to have the power to harm us.

A deeper understanding of God as Life can extinguish the nagging fears as well as the excessive pleasure associated with eating. Christian Science teaches that the exercise of moral and spiritual qualities enables us to express balance and normality in human activities. This understanding can give great hope to those suffering from diet-related diseases as well as to those who find their weight difficult to control. We can ''feast'' upon the soul-nourishing, God-given qualities of trust, unselfishness, joy, and love. At the same time we can ''fast'' from the carnal mind's invitation to attribute power to food by fearing it or by seeking inordinate satisfaction from it.

''Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness,'' Jesus promised, ''for they shall be filled.''n3 As we prayerfully partake of this blessing and its promise, we will find ourselves having fewer anxious thoughts about what we eat, and expressing more harmony and free

n3 Matthew 5:6.

DAILY BIBLE VERSE Ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisified, and praise the name of the Lord your God. Joel 2:26

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