Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 4:1-5 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3 men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; 5 for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer
Application: Most believers say “grace” before a meal. That means they say words that express thanks to God for what He has provided. What has become a “mere formality” for many today is actually very important to the Lord. Food is a very clear Liberty area for the Church. It was not always so, when God called Israel out, He deliberately used certain foods as a way to keep the Jewish nation separated from the idolatrizing nations. Pork was a favorite meal at their feasts, and when you can’t eat the main course, you don’t go to the feast. “Pigs” or pork in of itself is not sinful or dirty since God has called them clean in Acts 10, yet God made that particular food a restriction for the Jewish nation. Still, we must remember even now, for various reasons some in the Body of Christ may still desire to abstain from certain foods, which is their right given to them by God. The problem is when someone decides to call his or her conviction in a liberty issue as the ONLY standard God allows. When Paul wrote this he was not trying to make anyone eat or not eat anything. He was making it clear that “how” we approach our eating is far more important than “what” we are eating.
“Wuest” help’s clarify this issue:
The word “creature” is ktisma (κτισμα), which is better translated here “created thing.” When we offer thanks at the table for the food we are about to eat, it is sanctified, Paul says.
The word “sanctify” is hagiazo (ἁγιαζο), “to set apart for God.” Vincent says: “Not declared holy, but made holy. Thanksgiving to God has a sanctifying effect. The food in itself has no moral quality (Rom. 14:14), but acquires a holy quality by its consecration to God; by being acknowledged as God’s gift, and partaken of as nourishing the life for God’s service.” The food is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer Vincent says again: “The custom of grace at meat appears in I Samuel 9:13. Christ blessed the loaves and fishes (Matt. 14:19; 15:36). Paul on the ship gave thanks for the meal which the seamen ate (Acts 27:35).”
I have experienced the importance of this personally! Living in a country that is not my home, or my culture, I have eaten things I would not have done on my own. I will spare the details for fear that some would not do well as they read, suffice it to say, that each time I have been served something, it has been a great relief to bring it before the Lord and ask Him to bless it. He has honored, I have never gotten sick or “lost” my stomach. Giving God honor for what He has supplied is always important and right, it is not a mere tradition or something to do in between commercials.
Meditation Questions: Do you thank God for each meal? What does your answer show? Why does it matter? Do you feel bad if you forget to pray? What does your answer show you? When you ask God to bless your food, what do you mean by that? Have you ever given thanks for food and afterwards asked someone if you had remembered to say “grace”? What does that say about where your mind was when you were praying? How serious should we be when we thank God for our food? Why? Is it a big deal? What does your answer show you?