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Food: An Underrated Idol

Updated: Apr 29

Food is a beautiful gift from God. All throughout the Bible, you see the Lord finding delight in blessing His creation with the fruits of the earth.


  • God blessed Adam and Eve with a garden full of delicacies.

  • He promised Israel a land flowing with milk and honey.

  • He dropped manna from heaven while the Israelites were in the wilderness.

  • He attached our remembrance of Him to the breaking of bread.


But, too often, a good thing can become a bad thing if done outside of God’s will; and food is no exception. If we are not careful, we can begin to worship the gift instead of the Giver and become consumed with consuming. Our appetites become unhinged, giving food a stronghold in our daily lives. A good thing has now pivoted into an idol.


But why is food so attractive? Why do so many people struggle with the balance of what to eat and what not to eat? I think it boils down to one simple factor…


Food is legal, necessary, and cheap.


Yes, we need food for survival. So why not smash down that double cheeseburger with an extra-large fry like a high school teenager on a growth spirt? I mean, we’ve gotta eat, right?


But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Our food choices matter to God, and we should strive to please Him in everything we do.


Some people fall into the traps of food addiction because it is an easier idol to maintain. Crack just costs too much. (Just for the record, I’ve never done drugs and you shouldn’t either). But just because something appears harmless doesn’t mean that it is. And we (myself included) justify our actions by saying,


“I deserve to treat myself.”

“This will make me feel better.”

“Food is the only pleasure I have.”


I’ve seen this even in ministry. Really solid, sold-out believers that live a very pure life of service for Jesus have an unhealthy relationship with food. They don’t live with all the pleasures of the world (Praise the Lord!) so food is “all they have” for enjoyment. They turn to it when they feel sad. They turn to it when they feel glad. It’s the easy go-to for quick gratification. And in its own subtle way, it becomes a drug that pokes an prods its way to the forefront of their lives.  


But isn’t that kind of drastic to say food can be addictive like a drug? In fact, it’s not that far-fetched. An article from Every Day Health states that “people predisposed to addiction, as well as those who struggle with weight or weight-related problems, tend to be more likely to behave in ways that align with this definition of food addiction, as do people with low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression…


“Here it’s worth pointing out that evidence published in Archives of General Psychiatry did show that highly rewarding foods (ones with large amounts of sugar, fat, and salt) trigger the brain’s reward circuitry (namely dopamine neurotransmitters) in ways similar to other addictive substances, like drugs and alcohol.” (1).


Yes, food can be addictive and it can easily control other facets of your life. “Other researchers have found in brain imaging studies that people who frequently consume junk foods can develop a tolerance to them over time, leading them to require larger and larger amounts to get the same enjoyment.”


Notice King Solomon warning to those who are given to a lifestyle of gluttony and food addiction:


“And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite” (Proverbs 23:2).


An addiction to food is an easy gateway into a lifestyle of self-gratification. It’s the fragileness of our heart that we have to take into account and realize that even something sugar-coated and jelly-filled can be the monster that drags us through a rabbit-hole of regret. This is why we need to truly take evaluation of our eating habits and ask ourselves:


“Is what I’m choosing to consume, consuming me?”

“Do I have a healthy relationship with food?"

“Do I run to food to give me the comfort and satisfaction that only Jesus can give?”


“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10:31).



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