Bible Reading: Mark 7:14-37
Sometimes people think that if they just live by the rules…they are doing what God wants. But, there is still sin in their heart. In this passage, Jesus addresses the dietary laws of the Jews and explains that they were supposed to demonstrate that not only are we supposed to live for God through our actions…but we are also supposed to live for God through our attitudes. In fact, He says that our actions can be correct…but our attitude can be corrupt. It isn’t just our actions that please God…but our attitudes are necessary, as well.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
Okay, I know that this is a little weird…but you will understand in a minute. Look at all of these strange diets that people have tried to lose weight.
The Baby Food Diet
Eating upward of 16 jars of baby food per day instead of regular meals and snacks. You can eat one regular meal every day.
The Vision Diet
You eat everything while wearing blue-tinted glasses that will make your food look less appetizing so that you eat less.
The Clip-Your-Nose-While-You-Eat Diet
Cover your nose so you can’t smell while you eat. It blunts your sense of taste, which helps you focus on your actual appetite and stop eating when you’re full.
The Dessert With Breakfast Diet
Every morning, you eat a breakfast that’s high in protein and carbs (which fend off hunger) plus dessert, such as chocolate, a doughnut, a cookie, or cake that can curb your sweet tooth later on.
The Ice Cream Cleanse
Eat five pints of special ice cream a day. (The brand name version costs $199 for three days.)
The Ice Diet
Eat a liter (.26 gallons) of ice every day to lose weight. You let it melt in your mouth instead of chewing it.
The Maker’s Diet (aka The Bible Diet)
This 40-day diet permits organic fruits, veggies, grains, fish with fins and scales, and meat and poultry. It prohibits pork products, processed foods, pastas and breads, and grains.
The Seven-Day Color Diet
Each day the dieter eats a different color food. So, she’ll eat white foods on Monday, red foods on Tuesday, and so on.
The Fletcherizing Diet
The dieter must chew each mouthful (including liquids) 32 times while keeping their head tilted forward. After the chewing is complete, the dieter tilts their head back, allowing the contents of their mouth to slide down the throat. Any food that did not naturally slip down, had to be spit out.
The Sleeping Beauty Diet
The principle is: “If you aren’t awake, you aren’t eating”. Dieters take sleeping medication and sleep for days at a time in order to lose weight.
The Breatharianism Diet
Breatharianism consists of eating nothing. Supposedly you are surviving on nothing but your breath and are sustained by energy from the sun or a “vital life force” called prana. There is a workshop to help you get started for the low price of just $10,000 (bring your own air).
The Werewolf Diet (aka Lunar Diet)
Fasting according to the lunar calendar. It starts with a daylong fast and continues with specific eating plans for each phase of the moon.
The Five-Bite Diet
Eat whatever you want…but only five bites of it.
The Feeding Tube Diet
It involves inserting a feeding tube into the nose that runs into the stomach through which the dieter is fed a slow, steady drip of protein and fat.
The Tapeworm Diet
After you consume the “worm egg pill” it hatches in your digestive tract, latches onto your intestinal wall and feeds off the energy and nutrients from the food you eat, growing larger and larger (15-20 feet long). After a few months, you return to the clinic for anti-parasitic medication that kills the worm.
The Tongue Patch Diet
It involves sewing a patch of plastic mesh onto the dieter’s tongue that makes it difficult to eat or swallow. It even causes pain if you try to eat with the patch attached. During this time you eat fluids only.
The Cigarette Diet
It is common to hear that people struggle with weight gain when they quit smoking. So taking up smoking might help with weight loss.
Why did I tell you about those diets? Because they also had diets in Jesus’ day. Only…they didn’t do it to lose weight. They did it because it was part of their religious practice as a Jew. The Jewish law attempted to use everything in life as a reminder of faith in God. The dietary laws are called “kashrut”. Their purpose was to remind people to live a holy life. When something was holy…it meant that it was separated from things that are common, or general. For the Jew…to be holy meant to be separated from all of the other nations and people of the world…as a special people dedicated to God. Kashrut reminded them of this. Each time they ate…because they could only eat certain foods that were separated from others…it reminded them to be holy, to be separated as a special people for God. Here are just a few of their dietary laws…
- They could eat any animal that has cloven (two halves) hooves and chews its cud. For example: sheep, cattle, goats and deer are allowed.
- Anything that lives in the water could be eaten if it had fins and scales. Fish like tuna, carp, salmon and herring are all permitted.
- Birds such as chicken, geese, ducks and turkeys are allowed. But several birds that are scavengers are not allowed.
- Some winged insects may be eaten.
- Rodents, reptiles, amphibians are all forbidden.
- Of the animals that may be eaten, they had to be killed in certain ways.
- All the blood must be drained from the meat or broiled out before it is eaten.
- Certain parts of permitted animals may not be eaten.
- Meat (the flesh of birds and mammals) cannot be eaten with dairy products.
- There are rules about the use of the cooking utensils (pots, knives, forks, etc.)
- Grape products made by non-Jews may not be eaten.
Do you see anything wrong with that? I hope not…because God told them to do it. When you understand its purpose…it is a wonderful thing. God wanted the Jews to live their life, their entire life, in a manner that was committed to Him. What better reminder to do that than food. After all, we eat every day. So, every day…perhaps several times a day…we would be reminded to live for God. The idea was that when a person ate something that was not according to the diet…they would be “defiled”. That meant that they had sinned because they had been disobedient to the diet. They needed to ask God for forgiveness. This was a reminder that anytime we sin…we should ask God for forgiveness.
Unfortunately, some of the Jews got carried away with the dietary laws. They began to say that the food itself was what defiled them. They were wrong. It wasn’t the food that defiled them…it was their disobedience when they ate the food that defiled them. As a result, they placed less and less emphasis on the disobedience…and more and more emphasis on the food. Until finally, they thought that as long as they ate the right food…it didn’t matter if they were obedient, or not.
Jesus corrected this. He said that it is not the food that defiles a man…but his disobedience when he ate the food, his wrong attitude. It isn’t what goes into the stomach…but it is what comes out of the heart. We are responsible for our attitude…because that is the source of our behavior. That means that we need to be careful of what we eat with our brain. What? We need to be careful about what we watch on television, what we listen to on the radio, what we read in books, what we talk about with friends…because all of those have an affect on our attitude, the way that we think. You’ve heard the sayings…“You are what you eat,” and “Garbage in, garbage out”. Well, they are true of how we think. What you put into your brain, your attitude…is what will come out in your actions.
So, don’t allow anything into your brain, your thinking, your attitude…that would keep you from living for God…100%. Personally…I think that we need to go on a diet. I’m calling it the “WWJE Diet” (What Would Jesus Eat). Hey, that’s got a ring to it. I think it might catch on. Let’s eat.
Love you more than bunches and bunches,