Joseph Herrin (05-16-2012)
I enjoy studying a wide array of subject matter. I have found that Yahweh speaks through so many diverse things in His creation. There is understanding to be gained in everything around us. When Yahweh recently began speaking to me about eating legumes as a source of protein and nutrition I decided to learn more about the humble bean. The book pictured above is one source of information I have looked to as I have delved into this topic.
The Lord’s direction for me to eat more beans strikes directly at the issue of bodily appetites. The Father was directing me to replace less healthy but physically appealing foods in my diet with that which is generally considered by a great many people to be a less appealing food. The lack of appeal in eating beans has nothing to do with their nutritive value, for they are a veritable storehouse of healthy nutrients. Rather, they are eschewed because they are so common and they lack the excitement of meats, pastries, and many highly refined and strikingly flavored foods. Go to any school today and give the students a choice between eating a slice of pizza or a bowl of beans and there will be no contest.
For some time the Spirit has been impressing upon me that it is the Father’s will that I choose what my body needs, rather than what my body wants. This brings into play the great struggle between the passions and desires of the flesh and the rule of the spirit.
Galatians 5:17, 24
For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please… Now those who belong to Christ Yahshua have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Ruling over our bodily appetites provides one of the greatest opportunities for a Christian to exercise that new creature in Christ that has been formed by the new birth. When a person is “born again,” a new life begins. This new life must be fed, nurtured, and exercised. This new creation very much mirrors the life cycle of the caterpillar/butterfly.
The caterpillar has been referred to as “the stomach with legs.” Caterpillars live to eat. In a few weeks time they multiply their weight many times over. The caterpillar’s existence is dominated by a drive to eat as much as possible in a short span of time. After a period of conspicuous gluttony, the caterpillar will build a cocoon around itself and enter a time of transition. Its body liquefies, then the miracle of metamorphosis occurs. An entirely new creature takes shape. The earthbound caterpillar transforms into a creature of flight. Wings are formed, the body takes a new shape. The very mind of the creature is refashioned.
Caterpillars know nothing about flying. If they try to launch themselves from the top of a tree in which they have been munching on leaves they will assuredly have a hard landing. Yet to a butterfly, flying is its nature. A butterfly also has different appetites from its former incarnation. Butterflies sip on the nectar of flowers. They use their long proboscis to “probe” deep into the heart of a flower to draw forth its nectar. Caterpillars have no appetite for nectar. They want only an abundance of leaves and other vegetation, which they proceed to strip bare in a very destructive manner.
A caterpillar must surrender its old life, its former appetites, its entire manner of living, in order to become a heavenly creature. So too must man experience an alteration from all that was common in his natural life if he is to become a son of the Most High. We cannot remain fleshly men and be spiritual men at the same time anymore than an insect can be both a caterpillar and butterfly at once. One has to die that the other might live.
I have been writing lately about a wilderness experience appointed to the people of God. When the Israelites departed Egypt, symbolic of the world, Yahweh immediately changed their diet. Even before they left on the night of the first Passover, they were instructed a week prior to remove all leaven from their households. When they entered into the wilderness Yahweh fed them on that which humans had never seen before. The very name manna means “what is it?” Can you imagine a caterpillar being set before a plate of nectar. Surely, he would have a similar response.
Yahweh has demonstrated through the Exodus that when men are delivered from death by the blood of the Lamb, they are to begin to act as entirely new creatures. Indeed, all those born of the Spirit of Christ are new.
II Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.
Christ demonstrated what a spiritual man looks like, acts like, and thinks like. His very first act after being baptized by the Holy Spirit in the Jordan involved His physical appetite. Like the caterpillar in the cocoon, Christ did not eat. For forty days and nights Yahshua ate nothing. He was demonstrating that His body’s physical appetites were held in abeyance to the spiritual part of His being. The spiritual man feasts on doing the will of the Father.
And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'”
Yahshua said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”
Yahweh will often give His sons and daughters opportunity to decrease as natural men and women while increasing as spiritual by laying some obedience upon them in the area of their appetites. This is certainly what He is doing in my life by instructing me to give my body what it needs rather than what it craves. I must subdue my body and keep it under subjection. It is required of me that the spiritual part of me rule over the physical. There is no other way for me to obey God.
The flesh and spirit are truly at enmity with one another. Yahweh has designed it to be so. If a spiritual creature is to emerge there must be struggle. The struggle is necessary to enter into divine life. Even as a butterfly in all of its newborn frailty and weakness must struggle to free itself from the confines of the cocoon, so too must man strive to break free of the flesh. If someone “helps” the struggling butterfly by loosing it from the cocoon, the butterfly will die. The struggle, as brutal as it may seem, is necessary for its development. It causes the life blood to flow through its being even as those who exercise themselves spiritually find the life of Christ coursing through them.
Yahweh is using the area of my appetite for food to stimulate me to grow spiritually, to exercise the spirit man. He has particularly instructed me to eat more beans. This seems like such an odd thing for Yahweh to speak to one of His children, yet His ways are not man’s ways. Spiritual growth can come to us in the most common experiences.
I was amazed to find the following statement in the book on beans that is pictured at the head of this post.
Beans also have a unique and fascinating flower structure. Apart from the delicate range of hues and subtle fragrance, each flower has two little wings, hence the archaic family name Papilonaceae – or butterfly-like.
Following are some pictures of bean flowers, revealing their butterfly-like appearance.
Snow Pea Flour
A Bean Flower
Another Pea Flower
Another Bean Flower
It is not hard to see how men perceived a butterfly when looking at the flowers of the lowly bean. The description of these flowers could well describe a butterfly’s wings: “the delicate range of hues… two little wings.”
It seems not coincidental that the bean is associated with humility, and yet its flowers resemble that transformed life evinced by the butterfly. The path to transformation into spiritual beings is a humble one. We must decrease that Christ might increase.
Was not the life of Christ a lowly one? He was not born in a palace. There was not even room for Him in the inn. His ministry years were those of a vagrant, a wanderer without home or possessions. He was found among the drunkards, the prostitutes, the outcasts of society. It was the sick who needed a physician. He was crucified between two thieves. Yet He now abides in the heavens. He is seated in glory. We too must abide a lowly road if we are to ascend.
Recently I purchased a couple more books. They are focused on cooking with beans. One of the books is titled Country Beans by Rita Bingham. The book focuses on an oft neglected use of beans. It contains instructions and recipes for grinding beans into flour and using bean flour in cooking. There are recipes for various types of bean breads, for using bean flour as a base for soups and for gravies. There are even recipes for desserts using bean flour.
Bean flour/Bean flower – You are what you eat.
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I love beans. I ate them often when I was growing up. You can imagine how economical a pot of beans and Mom's homemade biscuits were for five growing children. I have even convinced my two young children to eat simple white beans with salt and pepper. I believe they are even more nutritious and certainly more economical than fresh vegetables, especially if one has a low income.
I appreciate this article. It is beautiful to see how God speaks to us through almost everything we encounter in our daily lives.