A Call to Action
"Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food." Romans 14:20a (NIV)
Five years ago I was stuck in a rut of wishful thinking and excuses with my weight. At the beginning of each day I would say I wanted things to be different. I would even make a plan to stop the snacks, increase the veggies, and say "no" to desserts.
But then life would happen, and excuses were plentiful. My resolve would melt away like butter on a hot yeast roll.
The next morning I would get up and weigh myself hoping that somehow, something would have happened over night. Despite my indulgences from the day before, maybe the numbers would have gone down.
But the scale was not impressed with my wishful thinking. It could only tell the truth.
Do you know who I'd get mad at? God.
I'd beg Him to help me one minute while scarfing down an order of fries the next. And then I'd be doubly mad He didn't steer my car away from that drive-thru.
I deemed myself a victim of tragic genetics, overactive taste buds, and a stomach that demanded large portions.
What I failed to realize is there was a much more significant issue going on.
More important than the ever-increasing size of my jeans was the deception going on inside my heart. My weight wasn't God's curse on me. My weight was an outside indication of an internal situation.
Honestly, I might as well have taken Psalm 23 which talks about the Lord being my shepherd and my comfort and replaced His Name with various foods. I was relying on food to be my comfort, my ever-present help, my guide. Food was the thing that got me through the valleys. It became the friend I wanted to celebrate with in the good times.
I don't write to point out anyone else's issue. There are certainly medical and genetic circumstances that can cause weight gain. But I discovered that my issue was spiritual. And no diet would be permanently successful until I got to the root of my problem—craving food more than God.
I desired and depended on the instant high of physical gratification because I hadn't learned how to let God satisfy my deepest needs. This realization became a call to action.
Maybe something is stirring in your soul. I know this is a tough issue. I've walked through the tears and the feelings of failure. But I wanted freedom. And I realized that if I wanted to have my deepest desires met by God and not food, I would need to restore God to His rightful place by changing my old thought patterns. Here are some examples:
Old thought patterns: "I need these chips. I deserve this ice cream. I must have that extra large portion."
New thought patterns: Chips will only taste good for the moment. But the calories are empty and will do nothing good for my body. 2 Corinthians 7:1 reminds me,"...Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit ... out of reverence for God." (NIV 1984)
This ice cream will give me a sugar high but then I'll crash and feel terrible. Psalm 34:8 reminds me to get into God's Word and let it satisfy the hungry places of my soul: "Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him." (NIV 1984)
This extra large portion will overstuff me and make me feel sluggish. I can't look to this food to soothe me. Psalm 34:5 says, "Those who look to [God] are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame." (NIV 1984)
Learning to do this has been a process that I have to intentionally choose day after day. Eventually, I lost the extra weight. But the real reward was what I gained with Jesus in the process. He became the best part of my journey. And I wouldn't have missed this new found closeness with Him for anything.
Dear Lord, if this devotion is a call to action that I need to make, please help me. I want to see the root of my issue. I want to learn to crave only You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Keep a pocket-sized notebook nearby all week. Every time you crave food, ask yourself if you are hungry or if you are craving something else like comfort or peace.
Psalm 18:1, "I love you, O LORD, my strength." (NIV 1984)