Daniel’s Diet Plan
Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food . . . Daniel 1:8
When I speak of food as an addiction, I sometimes wonder if I am over-spiritualizing the subject. Can eating really be a sin? Today’s passage though, reinforces the idea that God is interested in what we eat.
In the story, Babylon conquered Judah, carrying off to Babylon a young Daniel and three of his friends. The four were renamed, re-educated, and given a king’s diet of meat and wine. It seems that the four went along with their reconditioning, with a few exceptions. In today’s passage, Daniel requested that they be allowed to refuse the king’s diet and in place, eat only vegetables.
The passage does not explicitly state why they felt the king’s diet would defile them, but what matters, is that they believed God didn’t want them to eat it, so they didn’t. It would have been easier to go along, and it certainly would have tasted better, but instead of following their appetites, they obeyed God and were healthier for it.
The passage isn’t specifically about gluttony, but rather obedience to God, even when it’s not easy. It’s application to my life though, is about my overeating. Gluttony is often mentioned in the Bible next to alcoholism (drunkenness), which is a fair comparison. Like the one addicted to alcohol, the food addict consumes excessive quantities of the unhealthy, despite knowing its destructive consequences. The glutton hates his behavior and wants to stop but cannot.
I’m not saying that donuts and pizza are always morally wrong. I’m saying that the one who is enslaved to his appetite, causing obesity, diabetes and heart disease is engaging in destructive behavior. Often, he will die young, just like the drug addict, unless he embraces radical life change. Food addiction is not God’s will for us.
We were not created to live enslaved to our own appetites. Slavery to anything not-God, distracts from God and causes us harm. If we want to live free from our own self-inflicted misery, then we must ask ourselves if our eating habits are destructive. If they are, we must do whatever it takes daily to abandon those behaviors to follow God. This is Daniel’s diet plan.