I woke up this morning to my husband’s frantic voice: “Carrie, get up! It’s 7:45!” We should leave our house to get to work at 7:55 (although, let’s be honest; most mornings it is closer to 8:00).
By 8:03, we did manage to catapult ourselves out the door. On the way out, I snatched a cherry Pop-Tart from the pantry. “Desperate times call for desperate measures,” I told my husband.
How funny that I would encounter Stacy Reaoch’s Desiring God article Organic Food, Essential Oils, and the Gospel of Grace today of all days. I don’t think there is a food that could be considered less organic than a cherry Pop-Tart. It doesn’t even taste like cherries.
Clearly, I am not married to organic living, but many in our culture insist that all-natural is always the better option. The organic-everything trend, from vegetables to mattresses, has entered our culture with a vengeance, and shows no signs of slowing down.
Not surprisingly, the organic lifestyle has permeated into the church. You’ve probably heard a friend from Bible study talk about the amazing change the Whole 30 diet has made in his life. Or you’ve been approached by a woman at church who sells essential oils, and swears that it’s the best way to heal your migraines (and maybe it is). And goodness knows that you can’t scroll through your Facebook feed without seeing a least a few posts from friends who share recipes for vegan, gluten-free snacks that include ingredients like “chickpea flour” and “ground flaxseed.”
I’m not knocking these people. They are dedicated to following an all-natural lifestyle and invested in their health. This isn’t a bad thing. After all, Scripture tells us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and that we are not our own (1 Corinthians 6:19). It is our responsibility to care for God’s temple, for we were bought at a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). I would never question whether or not one should take care of his or her body. The answer is a resounding yes.
But my question springs from the overwhelming intensity that people have adopted the organic lifestyle: Have Christians prioritized natural living over Christ?
Now is the time that Christians really need to think about what gospel they are preaching. Are they preaching the gospel of organic food and essential oils or are they preaching the life-changing Gospel of Christ?
Reaoch writes, “When promoting our own choices for food and medicine is becoming the latest form of evangelism, we are showing where our hope really lies — and that we are close to forgetting the gospel we say we hold dear.”
And it’s not just organic food and essential oils that can become our chief obsession. We can allow any issue to become our battle cry, from schooling methods to whether or not to give our children vaccinations.
“If we find our conversations continually revolving around our current pet issue, it’s time to ask whether that issue has become too important in our lives. If we’re constantly passing others information about the way we eat, treat illness, or school our kids, a red flag should be raised in our minds about what we’re really putting our hope in,” Reaoch says.
It should be obvious through our words and actions what our most important issue is: proclaiming the good news of Christ. Jesus needs to be always recognizable in our lives as number one. And we would be wise not to muddle up his message with our own worldly issues.
Reaoch writes, “Only in Christ do we find true wisdom, hope, and healing. It is his words, promises, and all-encompassing truth we should be most eager to pass along to others, not the latest studies reinforcing our family’s food choices as the wisest.”
Remember friends: You are called to be a good steward of your body. After all, bodily training is of some value (1 Timothy 4:8). And this includes what foods we put into our bodies. But above all, we are called to be messengers for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).
[written by Carrie Dedrick]