What do Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, both currently ranked number one (at the time of this writing) in the world in singles tennis, Mike Tyson, former heavyweight champion, David Hayma, world champion boxer, Ricky Carmichael, the greatest motocross racer of all time, Carl Lewis, an American former track and field star, Tony Gonzalez, a former American football tight end who played 17 seasons in the National Football League, to name a few have in common? You are probably thinking obviously they are all in the world of professional sports. That’s true, but more importantly they have all discovered that a plant-based diet is essential in their careers and lives.
The apostle Paul summed it up best when he wrote:
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).
Although I don’t condone watching sports (waste of time and produces a competitive spirit), it highlights the facts that those who put everything into their body’s performance in order to be successful in their careers show that there is plenty of evidence displaying the superiority of the diet our Creator gave to our first parents.
“And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. ... And you shall eat the herb of the field” (Genesis 1:29, 3:18).
“Grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables constitute the diet chosen for us by our Creator. These foods, prepared in as simple and natural a manner as possible, are the most healthful and nourishing. They impart a strength, a power of endurance, and a vigor of intellect that are not afforded by a more complex and stimulating diet” (Ministry of Healing, page 297).
Although going plant-based has become more and more common, not just in the world of sports, some of us are still murmuring for the “fleshpots of Egypt.” (Exodus 16:3). It appears that the “children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” While these athletes in order to be on the “top” are willing to change their diet, the so called “children of light” are still eating “chicken.”
Before coming home from Sabbath evening worship service from the local Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church, my wife texted me and said that they were preparing chicken plates for sale in order to lift a church debt – hence the article title Church's Chicken. I could hardly believe that they were actually dissecting dead carcasses in the churches kitchen. Instead of being health reformers some of us are just conformers to the world’s destructive standards.
Perhaps it’s not a surprise when, during the morning sermon, the guest pastor stated that we aren’t saved by what we eat or drink. It was obvious that he and his better half were practicing what they preached. It seems that we either are ignorant or unwilling to see the connection between our lifestyle and our destiny. No wonder we are labeled as Laodiceans. Consider the following verses and quotes:
“But while the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was aroused against the people, and the Lord struck the people with a very great plague” (Numbers 11:33).
“He caused an east wind to blow in the heavens; And by His power He brought in the south wind. He also rained meat on them like the dust, Feathered fowl like the sand of the seas; And He let them fall in the midst of their camp, All around their dwellings. So they ate and were well filled, For He gave them their own desire. They were not deprived of their craving; But while their food was still in their mouths, The wrath of God came against them, And slew the stoutest of them, And struck down the choice men of Israel” (Psalm 78:26-31).
“When you sit down to eat with a ruler, Consider carefully what is before you; And put a knife to your throat If you are a man given to appetite. Do not desire his delicacies, For they are deceptive food” (Proverbs 23:1-3).
“For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things” (Philippians 3:18, 19).
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1. Corinthians 10:31).
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are” (1 Corinthians 3:16, 17).
“But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27).
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
“Anything that lessens physical strength enfeebles the mind and makes it less capable of discriminating between right or wrong” (Christ’s Object Lessons, page 346).
“The health should be as sacredly guarded as the character” (Bible Echo February 5, 1894, par. 5).
“Flesh was never the best food; but its use is now doubly objectionable, since disease in animals is so rapidly increasing.” The Ministry of Healing, page 313
“Animals are becoming more and more diseased, and it will not be long until animal food will be discarded by many besides Seventh-day Adventists. Foods that are healthful and life sustaining are to be prepared, so that men and women will not need to eat meat” (Testimonies for the Church Vol. 7, page 124).
“The light given me is that it will not be very long before we shall have to give up using any animal food. Even milk will have to be discarded. Disease is accumulating rapidly. The curse of God is upon the earth, because man has cursed it. The habits and practices of men have brought the earth into such a condition that some other food than animal food must be substituted for the human family. We do not need flesh food at all. God can give us something else” (Australasian Union Conference Record, July 28, 1899).
“The controlling power of appetite will prove the ruin of thousands, when, if they had conquered on this point, they would have had moral power to gain the victory over every other temptation of Satan. But those who are slaves to appetite will fail in perfecting Christian character...” (Testimonies for the Church Vol. 3, page 491).
“Greater reforms should be seen among the people who claim to be looking for the soon appearing of Christ. Health reform is to do among our people a work which it has not yet done. There are those who ought to be awake to the danger of meat eating who are still eating the flesh of animals, thus endangering the physical, mental, and spiritual health. Many who are now only half converted on the question of meat eating will go from God's people, to walk no more with them” (Review and Herald, May 27, 1902).
“Whatever injures the health not only lessens physical vigour but tends to weaken the mental and moral powers. Indulgence in any unhealthful practice makes it more difficult for one to discriminate between right and wrong and hence more difficult to resist evil” (Ministry of Healing, page 128).
“Esau passed the crisis of his life without knowing it. What he regarded as a matter worthy of scarcely a thought was the act which revealed the prevailing traits of his character. It showed his choice, showed his true estimate of that which was sacred and which should have been sacredly cherished. He sold his birthright for a small indulgence to meet his present wants, and this determined the after course of his life. To Esau a morsel of meat was more than the service of his Master” (Bible Commentary Vol. 1, page 1094).
Our lifestyle habits will either increase or decrease our chances of choosing God’s free gift of salvation, and the lifestyle we choose has to do with our ability to choose.
Consider the following texts in Hose 3:5, 4:1-5:
“Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days.” Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel: for the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood. Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.”
In Hose 3:5 we get the context, “latter days” or the last days. In chapter 4 we see that as the result of man's rebellion against God the curse that is upon the earth increases which results in the land that mourns and the animals languishing. The word translated as languish (Strong's H535) means: to be weak, to droop, to languish, to be exhausted. In other words sick. This seems to go along with the following quote found in Counsels on Diets and Foods:
“The Lord's curse is upon the earth, upon man, upon beasts, upon the fish in the sea; and as transgression becomes almost universal, the curse will be permitted to become as broad and as deep as the transgression. Disease is contracted by the use of meat. The diseased flesh of these dead carcasses is sold in the market places, and disease among men is the sure result” (Counsels on Diets and Foods, page 411).
It is interesting that in Hosea 4:3 three animal groups specifically mentioned are, the land animals, the birds and the fishes. Notice some of the headlines in recent times when it comes to animal deaths from The Huffington Post:
If the world's top athletes, who run for a “perishable crown” understand the importance between their diet and success how much more we, who claim to be running for an “imperishable crown,” be careful in our habits. Before we say anything to anyone they have already judged us based on our appearance for man still “looks at the outward appearance.” Let us give witness as to what the grace of God has done in our lives and “run the race in such a way that we may obtain it!”