What's the Reason You Want to Be Healthy?

READ MATTHEW 6:19-34, JOHN 10:1-10

Why do you want to be healthy?   

We are all motivated by something & I would offer that all motivation falls into one of two categories:  FEAR or LOVE.

We worry so much about our physical looks that we don’t trust in Jesus & our thoughts of worry are wrapped up in lies that we believe from the outside world which stems from fear.

The “thief” who has come to steal, kill & destroy has done so by plastering images of perfect bodies all over magazines & social media.  He has told us that if we could just lose a little bit of weight, we would be happy, healthy & more liked by those around us

Out of fear, we are chasing a “desirable” body that we’ve seen on someone else because that “perfect” body somehow makes us think that the life lived in it is perfect too.

While there are actually great reasons to manage our body weight, eat healthy & be active, if we believe these things are the solution to all our problems, then we are wrong.

Jesus is the solution to all our problems.  Our level of health will either help us live for Him or not.

If we are healthy {eating well, sleeping well, minimizing stress & being active} we will be able to serve our Father, our family, our friends, our church & our community.  Eating whole, unprocessed foods will give us the energy we need to be able to sustain this service for a long period of time.  Choosing to work on our health will allow us to enjoy life more. 

These motivations come from a place of love.  Loving God, loving ourselves & loving the people we are given. 

One of the greatest offerings of love we could ever give to God is to live a life of self-control & offer Him our healthiest self for His service.  Respectively, it’s the greatest gift we could give the people in our lives as well - the healthiest version of our self.

But choosing to diet only to lose weight is going to leave us feeling defeated & unsuccessful.  Our motivation is wrong when we simply choose to lose weight instead of getting healthy.

Health involves way more than our weight, the food we eat or the way we look. 

Our health ultimately involves truth.  What truth do we believe & what lies do we believe? 

If our eye is the lamp of our body, then what we look at & focus on will have our attention.  In the same respect, what we listen to {the Shepherd or the thief} will have our audible focus. 

So in other words, what we focus on will become the biggest thing in our lives. 

If I am focused on Jesus then I increase my ability to show goodness, kindness, faithfulness, and self-control over my life & my body, but if I give my attention to the body image that the world {again the thief, Satan} wants me to see then I will become more fearful, thus focusing on how I need to perform or behave to gain significance.  

If I ask you to think of 6th grade you immediately have an image in your head because you were there & you experienced it. 

If in turn, I ask you to think of your identity in Christ, do you immediately have an image in your heart, mind & soul of what that is?

How much of our attention are we giving to the perfect body image & our restrictive diets to obtain what we believe will give us distinction in this world, when all the images we are trying to emulate aren’t even real. 

Instead let’s focus on the real image of Jesus, who showed us exactly how to live & then sacrificially gave us the Holy Spirit to help us walk in those ways. 

As believers, we have to detox ourselves from the ways of the world in order to go into the world.  We do this by making Jesus our biggest focus & letting Him guide us into living a life that seeks to glorify Him. 

How can you change your focus from what the world calls healthy to the truth of what God says about your health?

Today ask Jesus to help you focus on Him in the area of your health instead of believing lies about a stereotype you should fit into.

 

The Root of Disordered Eating

PLEASE READ JOHN 8:1-12 

In the beginning, God created the heavens & the earth.  He took 6 days to form the ground we walk on, the waters we swim in, the flowers we smell, the trees & animals we enjoy.   He also created man & woman.

Everything was perfect.  The earth & all that was in it functioned beautifully.  The man & woman had an entire garden to eat from.  They could eat anything they wanted, as much as they wanted, anytime they wanted.

There was only one guardrail God placed around this freedom of eating.  They weren’t to eat of the one tree in the middle of the garden.  The tree of the knowledge of good & evil {Genesis 2:17} was off limits. 

But, as I’m sure you know the story, Eve fell for the trick of Satan as he questioned her identity & the voice of God in her life, then Adam did the same.  They became ashamed of their food choice & of their bodies in a turn of events theologians like to call the “fall of man”. 

But what does this biblical history from thousands of years ago have to do with us today?  The day Adam & Eve chose to listen to the voice of the enemy a domino effect was set in motion. 

Among other things, the voice of the enemy questioned the identity God had given them; he made them doubt that they could trust God & he caused them to be ashamed of their bodies.  And thus, throughout human history, the world has distorted our view of foods as “good & bad”, caused us to judge our bodies & most disappointing, doubt the God who created us actually loves us the way He says He does.

If you, like me, have ever eaten & then felt guilty, made diet resolutions to start over & “be good” with your eating or felt like you are separated from God because of your food or body choices, then the enemy has gotten a hold of your heart the same way he did Adam & Eve & the same way he did mine.  It’s an unfortunate ongoing world cycle that was set in motion in the beginning of time but was also set in motion somewhere in the cycle of your own life.

The single act of sin thousands of years ago in the garden, has led many to feel defeated in regards to food choices & body image today.  And likely all the feelings you & I have felt regarding food, the obsessions with thinking about it & arranging our lives around it, the multiple “diet restarts” & the guilt that ensues every time we “mess up” are truly a control issue.  

Somewhere in our life, something or someone caused us to question our body image, our identity & our self-worth.  For some reason we choose food as the control mechanism to make us feel better momentarily & then almost instantly we also self-condemn over that same food choice.

But at the start of it all, there is a heart issue.  Our hearts were led astray by the enemy who made us believe we aren’t good enough to be loved & accepted by God & that we can’t trust our Father to have our best interest at heart. 

But God loved us so much that He sent Jesus & through Jesus we are fully loved & accepted. 

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world & men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”  John 3:17-19

 The first thing we must get straight before moving forward in food freedom is that we are not condemned by the God who loves us.  As children of God, He loves us & looks on us with the same love that He sees when He looks at His own Son, Jesus.

So while self-control is a real aspect of food issues, it’s not the first facet we need to examine.  The first is condemnation. 

You see, a lack of self-control is actually a sinful issue, but there is a BIG difference in sin & condemnation. 

We have to separate our sinfulness from condemnation.  Once we trust in Jesus as our Savior, our sins are forgiven.  Jesus took on Himself the condemnation we should’ve faced for our sin.  Any condemnation we feel comes directly from the accuser, Satan {Revelation 12:10}.

When Jesus was brought face to face with the woman accused of adultery in John 8:1-12, His direct words to her were “I don’t condemn you, go & sin no more”.  Jesus separated her sin from her guilt & told her she was free in Him to live uncondemned. 

Romans 8:1 furthers our understanding that as His children we are not condemned of our sin but instead are free to walk abundantly in Him.

Prayer for today:  God, when I feel guilt or condemnation especially surrounding food choices, help me to remember that You have completely cleared all my sin & that You are not the One condemning me.

 

Self Control is not the Same as Dieting

PLEASE READ: MATTHEW 19:16-26  

Denying ourselves anything we want is never fun.  Self-control in regards to our eating habits isn’t always fun either but when the consequences for unadulterated indulgence lead to shame & guilt then we need to take a look at our self control issue from the perspective of discipline not from the context of control. 

In the story above from Matthew’s gospel, Jesus asked a rich, young man to give up all his worldly possessions to follow Him.  The thing about this request is that Jesus didn’t care anything about people being rich or having things, He cared about things having a person’s heart.  While you might be thinking... what the heck does this have to do with my food choices, stick with me for a minute. 

What if Jesus stood before you today & said, “If you give up ________, you will have the most abundant life I can give you.”  Fill in the blank…is it your favorite burger from the drive thru? The $5 latte you can’t do without every morning?  The bag of chocolate candy you have hidden in the pantry to indulge in when everyone else goes to bed?

What thing has your heart so tightly that if Jesus asked you to give it up, your anxiety level rises?  What food indulgence is keeping you bound to living life tied to that indulgence instead of walking in freedom?

All the time we’ve spent over the years in the form of calorie restriction on yo-yo diets, refraining from food to make up for an “eating mistake” or not eating properly in order to keep a certain waist size, isn’t really self-control, it’s “I’m in charge of my acceptance” control. 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness & self-control... Galatians 5:22-23

Self-control is listed as one of the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians.  It’s not listed as a fruit that comes from our own flesh working toward something we want.  Which means that self-control, without the help of the Spirit to grow & develop it in our lives, will never be sustainable. 

On our own, we are fickle people.  We change our minds & give in to whatever feels good to our flesh way too easily. 

With just a small shift in our thinking we can move from thoughts of “I could never give up ____{sugar, chips, etc}” to “I can enjoy all things in Christ at the right moment”.    Just like the rich, young man we talked about earlier, Jesus wants us to hand over whatever has our thoughts & our hearts so we can be free in Him. 

He isn’t necessarily asking you to give up foods that you may think are “bad”, but He is more likely asking you to learn to enjoy those things as a freedom contained in His restraint.

Practically, If I want a chocolate bar, I need to decide, is this a sudden craving that is happening because I am tired, emotional or I’ve fed my body poorly today?  Am I restricting my intake because I want to achieve a certain body image?  Can I ask the Lord to help me in this moment to put off a physical desire to gain a spiritual one? 

Maybe I need to utilize the self-control given to me by the Holy Spirit in this moment in order to enjoy the freedom given to me by Jesus at a later one. 

Paul told us that all things are completely accessible & free to us to enjoy but not all things are always beneficial to us at all times.  {1 Corinthians 6:12}

Simply put, a chocolate bar is completely within the scope of our freedom, but having one every day might not be beneficial for us.  Maybe we need boundaries in place that will keep us on track for healthy eating & then at a time that is appropriate we enjoy a dessert with a friend or family member.  Not hidden away in our pantry, shoveling it in our mouth before we get caught.

Healthy eaters, who have a healthy understanding of food, know it is meant to be a good thing in our lives. Healthy eaters will sometimes choose to enjoy something that may not be on the “perfect” spectrum of eating habits but they understand there shouldn’t be self-condemnation once it’s eaten. 

If condemnation comes after eating a food, then we can know without a doubt that this is something the enemy is using to draw our hearts & minds away from the Father’s love.

The enemy wants us to feel distant, unaccepted & ashamed in the presence of God.  The only way he can do this is to find the thing in your life that makes these emotions rise up in you.

It wouldn’t matter if it were alcohol, porn, sex or drugs.  Those same emotions rise up in people with these issues too.  The issue of food is just as strong & just as detrimental to our mental, physical & spiritual health as any other sin your mind can conjure up.  

Satan wants you to see an object you want {like a big piece of cake} & think how unfair it is that you can’t have it.  The problem isn’t the food that is enticing us, the problem is the vicious cycle of eating that we give in to that causes us to separate ourselves away from God & His perfect will & plan for our lives.

Keep Your Eating Habits Focused On Jesus

PLEASE READ GALATIANS 4:8 – 9 TPT, GALATIANS 5:1 TPT & MATTHEW 15:32

Why is it so easy to return to the bondage of the past?  The lies we believe, the sins we think we have conquered & the performance cycle that keeps us striving? 

Why is it easy to start a new diet, lose weight, feel better & have more energy but then fall back into our old way of eating & go back to food guilt & body shame? 

The answer is found in the Law that was given in the Old Testament, which always left people short of the mark of righteousness.  You see the Law {10 commandments} was given as a standard of how people should live but the standard was so high, no one could obey it all the time.  It left people too concerned about rules & not concerned enough about their relationship with God.

Just like diets & the search for the perfect body leave us very concerned about following rules & achieving goals, but doesn’t teach us how to operate out of grace, love & even joy. 

The rules are performance.  Rules don’t work in real life because eventually something will “trip us up.”  But if we walk in grace, then we do the best we can & when we are weak, God fills in the rest & makes us strong.  The grace we experience by simply choosing to fill our “temple” with whole foods is love. 

We learn to love ourselves better, our family better & God better when we live in grace.  Because we will always be satisfied, full & energetic by eating whole foods, we won’t have the relapse of performing for strict rules .  Grace gives us restraint to keep us on a narrow path that leads to an abundant life.

Jesus knows our physical needs are as real as our spiritual needs.  Throughout His earthly ministry, He focused on both so people could be made completely whole.  We cannot ignore the physical & only focus on the spiritual & the opposite is true – we cannot ignore the spiritual  & only focus on the physical.  The balance between the 2 entities of our being is crucial.

Anything we seek {body image} apart from God will eventually fail.  This is why dieting always fails.  Diets are created to pull our focus toward restrictive rules & numbers.  A lifestyle of whole food eating knows that grace abounds.  There is plenty of food & we eat it to be nourished.  We enjoy it because God has given us the ability to taste & smell its goodness.  Enjoying food is not a sin. 

Seeking anything above God is a sin.  Once God is in the highest position of your pursuits, everything else will fall into place.   

What area of your health is out of balance in regards to your relationship with your heavenly Father?

Today, ask God to help you restore your pursuit of Him to its rightful place. 

 

Just Because You Can

PLEASE READ JOHN 15:5, 1 CORINTHIANS 6:12, 19-20 & GALATIANS 5:22-23 

Machines are made to be busy; we are made to be fruitful.  Machines can work off of numbers & formulas because their parts & pieces are all the same.   In vast contradiction to parts & pieces, humans are each created individually.  Our bodies, though similar, all function quite uniquely.

 This is why simply counting calories & holding ourselves to a restricted diet that focuses on numbers for our food or numbers on a scale doesn’t work.  Nor do the rules of a diet ever work.  We don’t all need to eat the same amount of food or weigh the same.

If you lived in Corinth in Bible times, you would have had a clear understanding that a temple was a holy, sacred place.  Domed ceilings, intricate columns, exquisite woodwork overlaid with gold & silver would’ve been your immediate, vivid mind picture when you heard the word temple & you would’ve been a bit shocked to think of comparing your body to such.

I think as believers we passively overlook this, dare I say, overused passage.  If you grew up in the church, you probably heard this passage all your life, quoted by people who wanted to make a point of how you should dress, how you should eat or drink & whether or not you should subject your body to any long-standing changes of holes or ink.

But Paul wasn’t telling the Corinthians what they should wear or do to their bodies, he was trying to help them understand that our physical desires are not a pass toward self-focus. 

He wanted them to understand that giving in to indulgence, in the case of overeating, or self-deprivation as with restrictive dieting, would bind them to that behavior.  Thus it becomes sin, which would only enslave them to the things of this world once again.

But Jesus had already set them free from the things of the world.  He has also set us free.  The sin & shame that was ingrained in our DNA back in the garden surrounding food was taken away by the covering of grace given to us through Jesus’ resurrection.  And jointly with that covering of grace, we were given the Holy Spirit as a helper to give us self-control to restrain our human nature of indulgent choices. 

Enjoying a piece of cake isn’t wrong.  Eating healthy isn’t wrong. Our desires aren’t even wrong.  But like the Corinthians, what is wrong is our action towards always satisfying our flesh.  There is a time for enjoying some satisfaction for our desires & a time to constrain those desires.

We must use the Helper God gave us to exhibit the fruit of His Spirit in our lives.  By choosing His ways, the fruit grows & our lives become more full of goodness.  By abiding in Him, we are making a choice to attach ourselves to His presence in our lives.  

Friend, we must start living our lives like we are a temple of the Holy Spirit.  We are infinitely more valuable to Him than the most ornate earthly structure could ever be.  Our bodies, no matter our physical make up, are sacred places in which He is pleased to reside. 

God is more interested in what we do with our bodies & how we handle the treasure of health that He has entrusted to us, than whether we look a certain way or fit into a certain size of clothing.

What would happen if we walked around believing what Paul said about our bodies being a temple that carries the very Spirit of the Lord?

Today, ask your Father to help you learn to abide in Him in regards to your health & to view your “temple” the way He does.  Ask Him for self-control to make choices regarding all areas of your health in a way that honors Him.

 

 

God Does Not Care How Much You Weigh

PLEASE READ JOSHUA 14:6 – 14

The enemy has fooled us into seeking lasting security in short-term pleasures.  Our bodies are a gift from God, to be used to serve Him & those around us.  We should feel strong & healthy; we should be able to say, just like Caleb did in Joshua 14, ‘I am as strong today as I was 40 years ago’. 

Unfortunately, in our modern times we have become overrun by processed foods, yo-yo dieting, Hollywood that constantly tells us what we should look like & a medical industry that is happy to help us achieve the perfect body.

How in the world could Caleb say, “I am as strong this day as on the day Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength”?

Caleb knew a formula for abundant physical living.  He followed the Lord with his whole heart, he ate what God gave him & he was continuously physically active.

Notice the order: 
Spiritual nourishment then physical nourishment. 

We can’t get these 2 things out of order.  The moment we begin to focus more on our bodies than we do on God, we have created an idol, which means we have fallen into sin.

God cares more about our overall health than he does our weight.  Our overall health includes our spiritual, mental & physical health.  Our bodies, soul & mind are one being & all the parts of us must be balanced.   When one part is off kilter, the rest of our life suffers. 

Our world focuses so much on the external part of our physicality that the internal part of our soul health & our mental health falls apart. 

We have been tricked into believing we need to look muscular, obtain a certain weight or have a specific body type to have an identity in this world. 

Aging is inevitable on this earth, but at 20, 40, 60 or 80, we should be as whole &  healthy as is possible within our human ability.  We have the ability to make choices in every area of life & our choices often dictate much of our health outcome.   Sustainable choices lead to a sustainable outcome.

What that means is that consistent positive health choices over a long period of time will lead to consistent results.

Our goal for eating healthy, working out  & nourishing our whole body should be to be able to serve God until the day He takes us from this earth , not to have a perfect body by swimsuit season . 

Being thin & muscular is not an indication of health.  And by the same standard, looking a bit “overweight” is not an indication of an unhealthy body.

Besides the basic things you would think of surrounding health like sleep, stress & food, we must consider the spiritual, mental & emotional health factors of our lives.

If our bodies are physically fit & our relationship with God is non-existent, or our relationships with people are crumbling, then we need to re-evaluate our overall health.

Achieving long-term balance is possible.  Of course, there are seasons in life that ebb & flow where one or more areas of health {spiritual, mental & emotional} are off, but when we look at the big picture of our lives, our focus on God will balance the years.  He can make the sum of our life greater than the length of all our days.

How can you move your focus of overall health to long-term thinking versus simply a short-term goal?

Today ask God to re-align your thoughts around your health to be able to live a balanced & abundantly sustainable healthy lifestyle.

Food Isn't Your Problem

PLEASE READ ROMANS 8:1-11

Food itself is not bad.  But in our society today, food has become increasingly complex & our feelings & emotions around it have as well.

 Even though we have sin in our lives we are not condemned.  If we can understand that in Jesus we are not condemned we can move forward with working on our self-control regarding food.  This might show up in many ways.  Overeating, under eating, constant dieting, fixations on eating the “right foods”, or any other eating fixation that puts food at the center of our focus.

Think for a moment about your very first memory of food?

For me, it was the holiday in which my entire extended family had gathered together.  I remember a specific aunt who had brought this amazing layered dessert called Mississippi Mud. 

I fell in love with that desert.  After everyone had eaten & had dessert too, my cousin & I decided we would go back to that buffet & get some more of that yummy stuff.  Unfortunately, we got caught by an adult & were told we didn’t need any more sugar! 

But I couldn’t stop thinking about that layered, chocolate goodness.  So later that day, I snuck back in that room & got some dessert & ate it hidden away in a corner of the house all alone.

Little did I know this was the beginning of my journey of hiding out, binging on food.  It didn’t happen all at once, but slowly over time.  I went on my first diet at 9 years old, then a boy I in middle school told me I was fat, & having weigh-ins weekly for dance team in high school didn’t help my struggling body image.  Each of these events led me to look for ways to secretly eat the foods I loved & then spend days afterward feeling guilty for my choices & dieting to lose the few pounds of weight I might’ve gained in a day or two. 

What God has given me perspective on now is that during those binge & diet sessions I gained hundreds of pounds of guilt & shame that I could never seem to get rid of, no matter how hard I tried. 

When I would eat this way, I would also feel like I was far from God & so I not only began a cycle of yo-yo dieting but I began a cycle of trying to work my way back into God’s favor.  I thought the condemnation was from Him.  So the only thing I could do was to “behave” long enough for Him to love me again. 

But one day, I read Romans 8 & the Holy Spirit shined a fresh light on it for me: 

I was not condemned because Jesus had given me His own Spirit as a way to have freedom & fullness in life.  My lack of self-control didn’t condemn me but instead His Spirit shined a light on the issue & made me realize I could ask Him for help. 

And just as Romans 8:5 says, I had fixed my mind on things of the flesh, thinking that somehow my food choices could both keep me in God’s favor or pull me out of it.  But we cannot separate truth & grace.   

Truth tells us the Son has set us free & grace tells us we are free {John 8:36}.  We must choose to accept the freedom & walk in the freedom.  Otherwise we let the condemnation of the enemy make us believe we are “bad” & the cycle of performance & our own goodness make us believe we could ever be “good”.

Prayer for today:  Father, help me to allow Your Spirit of life to free me from condemnation from myself & from the enemy.  Help me to depend completely on You for freedom & self-control through Your Spirit not through my own strength.

Fighting Body Image Perfection

PLEASE READ GENESIS 2:8-3:13 & ROMANS 5:12-21

How often do you begin a casual conversation with someone only for it to end in the dreaded area of weight or body image?  Think about your most recent conversations with your girlfriends.  Maybe you said something like: I can’t wear that because it makes me look fat, that style doesn’t look good on my round little body, or my arms are too big for tank tops.

Or if you’re a guy, the conversations about your body are more internal ones you have with yourself, but they manifest in trying to out lift the other guys at the gym or attempts to look muscular.  Just because men’s body image struggles are less talked about than women’s doesn’t mean they don’t exist. 

We so often end up in conversations or thought patterns where we are bashing our own bodies.  Our culture has led us into a body obsession in all the wrong ways for all the wrong reasons.

Not only are we obsessed with our body but also we are obsessed with our food.  I’m not talking about a desire for eating healthy, sustainable, whole foods, I’m talking about obsessions over counting calories, restrictive diets & losing 10 pounds so you can be ready for your next big life event.

God gave Adam & Eve a garden full of good food.  This food represented their freedom, but along came the serpent & twisted the truth to make them believe the food represented bondage. 

Our body image problem began long before we were born.  It started in the garden when Adam & Eve decided to believe the lie that they didn’t already portray the image of God.  Once they realized their nakedness {which they previously had no problem with} they became ashamed.

Never once did God condemn them.  God gave a suitable & necessary consequence for the sin, but He didn’t condemn Adam & Eve.  The enemy’s lie & their own self-condemnation led them to want to cover their bodies.  In fact, in Genesis 3:21, God makes them clothing from animal skins as a representation that He would cover their shame & as a prophetic picture that Jesus would someday cover ours.

Satan wants to keep us in a cycle of performance.  If he can keep us there, then we are stuck in bondage.  Your whole life becomes about achieving, but God wants to meet us where we are right now & show us that our life is actually about receiving His goodness.

This lie of performance shows up in the world of, I want to look a certain way, weigh a certain amount & be perceived as having a certain body image.  There is NOTHING wrong with pursuing health, even physical health, but if that goal occupies more of our heart & mind space than the work of God does, then we are out of balance & unhealthy. 

Where do you struggle the most with your health?  {body image, making good choices, calorie restriction/indulgence}

Today, ask God what lies about your health, about food or about Him you believe.

Your Food Choices Are Not a Sin

READ EPHESIANS 3:14-21 & 1 CORINTHIANS 10:13

 I can distinctly recall nights of choosing to eat junk food instead of a whole foods dinner.  Hiding away sweets to enjoy all alone or sneaking extra pieces of dessert while everyone else had scattered out of the kitchen after a meal.

 How often do I trade healthy food choices for a temporary satisfaction that ultimately leaves me feeling defeated?

More often than I like.  It’s a real sin cycle in my life.  But since the Spirit has given me the freedom to walk away from shame & condemnation, it happens less often because I know when & how to enjoy certain things & I know that the power of the Spirit will give me self-control & strength to combat shame.

I’ve learned over time to combat feelings of overwhelming cravings with prayer & scripture.  But I’ve also learned that if I decide to have an item that seems like a less than “perfect” food, I can thank God for the ability to taste & enjoy it & He in turn gives me satisfaction not to be gluttonous with that food choice.

Part of the reason we physically want to give in to unhealthy choices is because we have a space inside of us that needs to be filled with God & we often push Him aside to try to gain satisfaction of filling that hole with other things in the world. 

I’m sure we all at times have looked at someone who battles excessive drinking, overspending or depression & thought, “why don’t they just stop that destructive behavior”.  Unfortunately, its not that easy or we would all live perfect lives & frankly, we wouldn’t need a Savior as ransom for our sins.

Our human nature wants to control all that is within our visible reach.  For those of us who struggle with food & disordered eating habits, feelings of sadness, loneliness, exhaustion, or overwhelming circumstances can drive us to want something in our lives that feels like it can be controlled. 

As crazy as it seems, even uncontrolled eating & uncontrollable cravings are your body’s way of trying to control something.  

This is a manifestation of a yearning in our soul for that space inside of us to be filled with something that will satisfy.  By turning to food to meet our downfalls, we trade a long-term gain for a short-term satisfaction. 

We forget that if we would just live in the power of the Spirit we have been given to have self-control over our food choices then we would gain the ability to trust God with our hurts & our downfalls.

 If, when I am tired & I want to reach for a bag of chips, I would just take a minute to stop & acknowledge my physical craving to God, then I could move forward in His strength.  That doesn’t always mean restriction of that food.

 Maybe I’m exhausted & my body is craving unnecessary carbs.  If I simply say to God “I’m tired.  I want to eat this extra & unnecessary treat right now.  Could you fill me with Your ability to have control over the decisions I am going to make about my food & could You help me finish my work so I can get a little extra sleep tonight?” 

 In that situation, I might actually go ahead & eat something extra but I would acknowledge to God that He has given me the ability to control my portion size, taste the goodness of the food & make some choices to get myself to bed earlier that day so I can catch up on sleep & feel more balanced the next day.

Giving in to a food craving isn’t always a sin.  It only becomes a sin when we let it consume our mind, harm our bodies to the point of gluttony & push God’s power in our lives aside in exchange for a momentary pleasure. 

 The hollow guilt we feel when we make poor food choices could be completely averted if we simply trust God with our decisions.   

Maybe instead of eating chocolate I choose to eat some blueberries with pecans on top or a handful of raisins.   Then I am satisfying my carb craving with a whole food that will actually sustain my body & give me more energy.

Either choice is fine in the guardrails of God’s power to give us self-control. 

 Friend, you & I are not failures when it comes to our food choices.  We are loved children of God who have been given an inheritance to live this life in a power that is beyond ourselves.  The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to us & we can live in the self-control He gives us.

Prayer: Father help me understand & live in the Spirit to exhibit godly self-control over food choices.  Give me the ability to see Your way out of the cycle of temptation & guilt.  Help me make choices that lead to abundance in my physical life & in my spiritual life.