Week 1: From Deprivation to Empowerment
“Dear friends, I urge you…to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.” 1 Peter 2:11
The unrestrained pleasure in food is sin. It wages war against my soul. I cannot give up this sin without my connection with Jesus. I must deny myself and follow Him. Sugar acts like a drug in me. It is a poison for me and keeps me from abundant life. It wages war against my soul. Jesus asks us to give up being controlled by anything in life that we crave more than we crave Him. He said, ‘with God, all things are possible.”
Instead of feeling deprived that I can’t eat things with sugar in them, I should feel empowered that God is helping me to stay away from this poison in my life and choose foods that are good for me.
Beth Moore’s “Believing God” study left me hanging because I didn’t have the promises to claim in the area of eating and the search for them was tedious. Here are the verses I was needing!
We were made to crave- to long for, want greatly, desire eagerly and beg for-God. Only God. But Satan wants to do everything possible to replace our craving for God with something else. We are at war with Satan. God conquered Satan and his angels and threw them down to earth. He has waged war with Jesus and His children. Expect to find difficulties when trying to obey God. It is a sign that we are at war in a spiritual battle.
Jesus and Eve were tempted in 3 ways (and so are we) based on 1 John 2:15-16:
- Cravings of sinful man: meeting physical desires outside the will of God. This would be things with sugar in them for me, mostly chocolate chips. I eat them for energy and comfort. It is a lie from Satan that sugar will give me comfort and make me happy and give me energy. He makes me think I can’t accomplish big projects without sugar.
- The lust of the eyes: meeting material desires outside the will of God. For me this would be buying jewelry, clothes and shoes that are not within our budget. Satan’s lie to me is that I can’t be happy with what I have. I need to buy more jewelry, clothes, shoes and home décor in order to be happy.
- Boasting of what he has done: meeting needs for significance outside the will of God… prop up my significance by feigning humility…Satan’s lie to me is that doing my housework will get me compliments and I will be thought well of.
Just as the Israelites craved food God did not think best for them, I crave foods off my plan. They had to wander in the desert for 40 years because of their cravings, and I am wandering in a desert, never attaining abundant life because of mine.
I must use my cravings for food as a prompt to pray. How can God meet my needs for comfort, reward me for a job well done, give me joy, reduce my stress, help me when I’m sad, energize me for a big project, and help me celebrate when I am happy?
1. Make a food plan for the day and stick to it.
2. When I crave for food off my plan, I must use it as a prompt to pray.
3. Make foods I can eat when I have to bake cookies and cakes or scoop ice cream and when I go places that will serve foods I can’t eat.
4. Memorize Bible verses to counter attack Satan’s lies to me in this area and believe God to keep His promises to me in His word. Believe God to be big enough to do what He says He can do. Remember who I am: a child of God (that’s why I’m under attack by Satan). God’s word is alive and active in me. I’m believing God
Week 2: From Desperation to Determination
Have a friend you can be accountable to. Have an eating plan. Pack snacks when you go away from home.
Desperation breeds degradation… when you become desperate for something, you run the risk of compromising in ways you never thought you would. Don’t sacrifice what is good in the long term for what feels good in the short term.
“If it’s not part of my plan, I don’t put it in my mouth.”
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says that accountability has great power. A friend can help you to recover from failure, give you comfort and companionship in adverse conditions, and help in defending against attacks.
When you are tempted away from your healthy eating plan, remember, “You were made for more than this.” For more than this failure, more than this cycle, more than being ruled by taste buds. You were made for victory. Say this to yourself often.
"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe." Ephesians 1:17-19
- Be persistent (I keep asking): Ask for God’s wisdom, revelation, and intervening power to be an integral part of our food choices from now on.
- Embrace a true identity (“Glorious Father”): We were made for more because we are children of God. You are who God says you are: forgiven, set-free, accepted, holy, made-new, loved, confident, victorious, etc.
- Find the deeper reason (“So that you may know Him better”): The goal of healthy eating is that we may know Him better.
- Discover a hope and power like no other (“That the eyes of your heart may be enlightened”): Paul asks that light be shed upon our hearts so we can more clearly recognize the hope and power available to us.
Jesus said, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." Luke 9:23
My desires to please Him with this food battle will help me grow closer to Him. Becoming a woman of self-discipline honors God and helps me live the godly characteristic of self-control. Pursuing self-control does help my heart feel closer to Jesus and more pure to receive what He wants for me each day. Self-control is hard, but living by the Spirit means to live with the willingness to walk away when the Holy Spirit nudges you and says, "That food choice is permissible but not beneficial- so don't eat it." Inappropriate consumption can be Satan's lure to draw our heart into a place of defeat.
"So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature" Galatians 5:16
"And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you." Romans 8:11
Not only does the Spirit live in us, but He is active and infuses power to our lives that is beyond what we could possibly muster up on our own.
"Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit" Galatians 5:25. We read the Bible with the intention of putting into practice what we read while asking the Holy Spirit to direct us in knowing how to do this..
Issues with food can hold us back in our calling and our commitment to Christ. Whenever we feel defeated by an issue, it can make us feel unable to follow God completely.
"My food... is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish this work.. I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest". John 4:34-35. Food can't satisfy the longing of your soul, only Jesus can. Our souls were created to crave Him and love others to Him.
Food can fill our stomachs but never our souls. Possessions can fill our houses but never our hearts. Sex can fill our nights but never our hunger for love. Children can fill our days but never our identities. Only Jesus can truly satisfy us.
"But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things." Philippians 3: 13-16, 18-19
Food can become so consuming that people find themselves ruled by it. This diminishes our commitment to Him and will make us feel increasingly distant from Him.
"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body." Philippians 3: 20-21
I want His power to help me bring everything under His control.
Making the intentional choice to deny myself unhealthy food options probably isn't the most popular route to growing closer to God, but it is a route nonetheless: a thrilling, hard, practical, courageous spiritual journey with great physical benefits.
What do we sacrifice in order to gain a closer relationship with God?
"Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it."Luke 9:23-24
"Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat--I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self." Luke 9:23 (from The Message translation)
Self-sacrifice is hard, painful, and sometimes costly. The one thing it's not is pointless. Every time you deny yourself something that is permissible but not beneficial, you exchange a momentary pleasure for an eternal gain. Every self-sacrifice in obedience to the nudging of the Holy Spirit positions your heart just that much closer to Christ. And that's a whole lot sweeter than a bag full of chocolate chips.
Week 3: From Guilt to Peace
“Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels. Nothing tastes as good as peace feels.”
“But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.” Romans 14:23
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” John 4:34-35
“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of god for the sake of food.” Romans 14:19-20a
Focus your thoughts on God, not food. Open your eyes and look for ways to love others.
Another step to growing closer to God is to learn to look and act more and more like Him. Our actions need to reflect the self-control the Holy Spirit affords us and our sense of identity needs to reflect His presence in our lives as well (participating in His divine nature).
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these Savior Jesus Christ. “ 2 Peter 1:3-11
- God’s divine power has given us everything we need to experience victory in our struggles
- We are to reflect a divine nature—a secure identity in Christ—which helps us escape the corruption of the world and avoid evil desires.
- It is through biblical promises that we find the courage to deny unhealthy desires.
- Getting healthy is not just about having faith, goodness, and knowledge. We have to add to the foundation by choosing to be self-controlled and choosing to persevere even when the journey gets really hard.
- These qualities keep us from being ineffective and unproductive in our pursuit of healthy eating and, even more importantly, in our pursuit of growing closer to God.
- If we make the choice to be Jesus girls who offer our willingness to exercise self-control and perseverance to the glory of God, we can lose weight, get healthy, and walk in confidence that it is possible to escape the cycle of losing and gaining back again. We can be victorious. We can step on the scale and accept the numbers for what they are—an indication of how much our body weighs—and not an indication of our worth.
I have a choice to make, to see a hurtful comment as an identity crusher or a careless comment; to leave the chocolate chips in the jar and walk away from them. We can say to a comment or thought that presents itself to us,” Are you true? Are you beneficial? Are you necessary?” If not, walk away from it and don’t open your heart to it.
Make peace with your body. No woman is completely happy with her body. Ask the Lord to give you a better perspective on the parts of your body you are not happy with. Define your week by obedience, not by a number on the scale. Ask yourself:
- Did I overeat this week on any day?
- Did I move more and exercise regularly?
- Do I feel lighter than I did at this time last week?
- Did I eat in secret or out of anger or frustration?
- Did I feel that, at any time, I ran to food instead of to God?
- Before I hopped on the scale, did I think I’d had a successful, God-pleasing week?
“Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. “Psalm 103:1-5
Take time to ask Him, and God will reveal the benefit of body parts you may be dissatisfied with. Thank Him for making you just the way He made you. You will find your beautiful and like it. Don’t compare yourself to others. Park your brain in a place of satisfaction about your body with a healthy dose of gratitude. “I am grateful for my______________________________________because…..”
Exercise: Am I too lazy to make time to exercise? Make the effort and see how wonderful you will feel after you are done. You will have a feeling of accomplishment. Ask God to give you strength to stick with it. Make it about spiritual growth and discipline. Do it in His strength. Every time you want to stop, pray for God’s help and don’t stop until He tells you to. God’s strength will replace your excuses.
“Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.” Psalm 86:11-12
The whole journey in conquering my cravings is about having an undivided heart. I have to either be loyal to honoring the Lord with my body or loyal to my cravings, desires, and excuses for not exercising.
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19
“These people say, ‘the time has not yet come for the Lord’s house to be built.’ (the Lord said:) “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin? Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it. Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored.” Haggai 1:2-8
We also often say it’s not the season in life for us to take care of our bodies (God’s temple) or exercise. But God says to give careful thought to your ways and to make time to build the house so He may be honored. We make time for what we want to. Bad things happened because they did not build the house of the Lord, the crops suffered. There are natural consequences for not taking care of our bodies… less energy, more weight, disease, etc. The best kind of exercise is the kind you’ll do.
Week 4: From Triggers to Truth
“You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north.” Deuteronomy 2:3
You’ve lost the same weight over and over again, now head north and never look back.
Every trigger has to be matched with truth in order for our soul to be able to withstand the triggers of temptation.
I need this chocolate. It will fill me up, pick me up and taste so good.
It will only taste good for a few minutes then it will give me that hollow feeling of guilt.
“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:17-19
I am such a failure with this eating thing.
I am not a failure. I am a loved child of God and can operate in a power beyond myself. The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to me and it is possible to use the self-control I have been given.
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! 1 John 3:1
God seems so far away and those French fries are right around the corner at the drive-thru.
French fries do not love me and the only lasting thing I get from them is cholesterol and cellulite. They will compromise my life and my health and compound my frustration.
“So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11
When others around you are eating things that are not on your healthy eating plan, you may say, “It isn’t fair!” and toss aside what you know is right for the temporary thrill of whatever does seem fair. The next day will be filled with guilt and regret, self-doubt, anger. It is Satan’s lie that it’s not fair for things to be withheld from us. The more you give in, the more power temptation will have over you. Given enough power, it will consume your thoughts, redirect your actions and demand your worship. If you are feeling sorry for yourself, it’s a clue that you are relying on your own strength. Grab hold of God’s strength. Invite His power into the situation. Give Him control and recite a go-to script, like “I am made for more. I am made for victory.” “ I am more than a conqueror. With god all things are possible. Let the peace of God reign in your heart. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.” Think about how you advise your children to hold off on sex until marriage, reminding them to think beyond the moment. God will get you through and you’ll be so glad you persevered. You will feel empowered.
“But Jesus said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Weakness is hard, but weakness doesn’t have to mean defeat. It is my opportunity to experience God’s power firsthand. If you say “yes” to a compromise, there will be more compromises and together they would bring failure. Resisting temptation allows promise upon promise to be built in my heart, and creates empowerment. This is God’s power working through my weakness. The struggle to say no is painful but it is working out something magnificent within us. Our battle with food can be the very thing, when brought under control, that can lead us to a better understanding of God. We can thank Him for this battle because of the rich treasures we will discover on the battlefield. Life as a Christ follower will always be a learning process of depending less on our own strength and more on God’s power.
“The testing of our faith develops perseverance which must finish its work so that we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:3-4
Jesus said to me, “My grace (divine love, favor, assistance, mercy, loving-kindness) is sufficient (enough to meet the needs of a situation; adequate; plenty) for you, for my power (great or marked ability to do or act; authority; control; strength; influence; supremacy) is made perfect (being entirely without fault or defect; lacking no essential detail; ideal; complete; just right) in weakness(lacking strength; feebleness’ frailty; failing; limitation; disadvantage).” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses(lacking strength; feebleness’ frailty; failing; limitation; disadvantage), so that Christ’s power (great or marked ability to do or act; authority; control; strength; influence; supremacy)may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
In my own words: Jesus’ love, mercy and assistance are enough for me, for His great ability to act and control a situation is made
Week 5: From Permissible to Beneficial
This is not a physical journey or a diet. It is a spiritual commitment we’re making. It’s a spiritual journey that will have great physical benefits. There are magnificent verses God tucked in the Bible just for us (What does each passage teach about daily dependence on God or the power of God’s truth? How is it significant for my healthy eating adventure?):
- He did miracles in the sight of their fathers in the land of Egypt, in the region of Zoan. He divided the sea and led them through; he made the water stand firm like a wall. He guided them with the cloud by day and with light from the fire all night. He split the rocks in the desert and gave them water as abundant as the seas; he brought streams out of a rocky crag and made water flow down like rivers. But they continued to sin against him, rebelling in the desert against the Most High. They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved. Psalm 78:18 (They forgot all the miracles God had done for them because they were consumed with thoughts of food. What events in your life show God’s magnificence on your behalf? Even though God has provided for you in the past, do you sometimes find it difficult to believe He will continue to provide for your needs now and in the future?)
- When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. Genesis 3:6 (God knew that women would struggle with food).
- Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church- for we are members of his body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery- but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:25-33 (We are to feed and care for our bodies as Christ feeds and cares for the Church.)
- He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it. Revelation 2:17 (When God’s people were complaining in the desert, they forgot daily dependence on God. Manna was to teach them this. I want to overcome and be given hidden spiritual manna and a new name…)
- "But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things." Philippians 3: 13-16, 18-19 (Food can become so consuming that people find themselves ruled by it. This diminishes our commitment to Him and will make us feel increasingly distant from Him. Keep your mind set on the spiritual commitment rather than the diet. Don’t live as an enemy of the cross.)
- My heart and my flesh may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26
- Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” Lamentations 3:22-24
- This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Matthew 6:9-10 (If even Jesus had to ask God for His daily portion, why wouldn’t we?)
- He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Deuteronomy 8:3
Eating in excess is a sin, gluttony. “Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.” Proverbs 23:20-21. “He who keeps the law is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father.” Proverbs 28:7 Besides being a sin, limitless indulgence in food always has consequences- it compromises our health, diminishes energy to pursue our calling, and affects the way we feel about ourselves, just to name a few. It is a desperate attempt to silence the cries of a hungry soul. God created us with a longing to be filled, to draw us into deep intimacy with Him. “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” Psalm 42:1-2 “I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Psalm 143:6 If we fail to understand how to fill our souls with spiritual nourishment, we will forever be triggered to numb our longings with other temporary physical pleasures, like food. This is often called “emotional eating” but it is about spiritual deprivation. When triggers come on hard days (messy house, children crying, etc) and difficult emotions, we try to medicate ourselves with food and it throws us into vicious overeating cycles. In the desert, God planned to use the Israelites’ food issues to teach them the valuable lesson of daily dependence on Him. Each day the Israelites were to ask God for their portion of food. Then God would rain down exactly what they needed for nourishment, called manna. They were to gather only enough for each day. The next day they would come to Him and again receive their daily portion. This process was intended to put them in the habit of dependence on God, and only God, each day. Each day God can be the perfect portion of everything we need- every longing we have, every desperate desire our soul cry out for. God will be our portion. Ask God to be your companion when you are lonely. Ask God to be your comfort when you are disappointed. Ask God to help you be patient with your children today. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my PORTION; therefore I will wait for him.” Lamentations 3:22-24
Also: “You shall have no foreign god among you; you shall not bow down to an alien god. I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.” Psalm 81:9-10. Nothing but God can truly satisfy and fill us. He is unfailing and absolute. “He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” Psalm 107:9
God wants us to live one day at a time, depending on Him to give us just what we need. He knows you and what you need. He knows what is in store for you today, including unexpected challenges and temptations. He’s already out if front of you, walking His way through your day, laying down manna with your name on t, inviting you to dine richly on His love for you, His care for you, His provision for you- a lavish banquet in which God is the full portion of everything you need today.
Week 6: The very next choice you make
Is discipline sustainable? In our own strength, we can sustain discipline for a season. The gap between our frail discipline and God’s available strength is bridged with nothing but a simple choice on our part to pursue holiness. Moment by moment we have the choice to live in our own strength and risk failure or to reach across the gap and grab hold of God’s unwavering strength. The more dependent we become on God’s strength, the less we long for other choices. Holiness deals with my spiritual and physical life:
“Since we have these promises , dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” 2 Corinthians 7:1
“We are taught, with regard to our former way of life, to put off our old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of our minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24 The very next eating choice we make is about whether we are going to stay away from those things that are no beneficial for what we are created to be: God’s representatives as we live out loud the message of God in our daily lives. Even when we are at our goal weight, we are always just one choice away from reversing all the progress we’ve made. Victory isn’t a place we arrive at and then relax. Victory is when we pick something healthy over something not beneficial for us and we maintain our victories with each next choice.
“I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.” Romans 6:19 The very next choice we make isn’t really about food but about positioning ourselves to live the kind of God-honoring lives in which, by God’s strength, sustained discipline is possible.
We tap into God’s strength through prayer, reading the Bible and by getting to a place where our lack of strength disgusts us. We need to be unhappy with our compromises, our unforgiveness, our pride, our distrust, our shallow love, sharp words, self-pity and suspicious fears. Even though we’ve made significant progress during our journey, we’ll still be surprised by cravings and the desire to snack away our issues. Crave means to long for; want greatly; desire eagerly. Pursuing holiness means God is the only One we should long for; want greatly; desire eagerly. The only One worthy of worship. We are made to worship God.
“They continued to sin against him, rebelling in the desert against the Most High. They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved… when the Lord heard them, he was very angry.” Psalm 78:17-18, 21 God is angry when we have inappropritate cravings. They pull my heart away from God. There is deep satisfaction in God. Momentary pleasures can’t compare.
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” Psalm 73:26 I’ve made the choice to step into a place of intentional sacrifice. A place where my strength would fail, should fail, but hasn’t.
“He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 8:3 I don’t want this spiritual journey and the physical victories to stop. So, the very next choice I make is a crucial one. It will determine if I am walking the path of victory or compromise. One wise choice can lead to 2, can lead to 3, can lead to a thousand, can lead to the sweet place of utter dependence on God and lasting discipline. We can see healthy choices as overflowing blessings so pure and rich, we will never trade them. Is sustained discipline possible? The answer lies within the very next choice you make. The decision to make sacrificial food choices is more than just a physical decision. It’s a spiritual one as well. The challenge is that it’s not a one-time decision; it’s a decision we make again and again. Every choice matters- especially the very next choice we make.
Holiness is about purity; it means to be set apart for a noble use. Pursue holiness in the areas of food and nutrition, exercise, sexuality, cleanliness, overall health, and rest.
When it comes to strugglers with food, a choice can also be an occasion to say “I love You” to God. “Lord, I love You so much I’m choosing holiness for my body with this decision about food. It may not be a huge decision in the grand scheme of things but I want every choice I make to demonstrate my love for You and my longing for holiness. Amen.”
Things Lost, Better Things Gained:
The very next choice we make is crucially important. This is a great mental perspective to keep. There is a spiritual perspective we must keep as well. We have to turn from some foods forever. This turning is part courageous sacrifice and part utter repentance. Sacrifice + repentance= Victory. Even little compromises with unhealthy cravings can quickly pave the road for an all-out reversal of my progress. Only you can determine which foods need to be banished forever. “Everything is permissible for me- but not everything is beneficial. I will not be mastered by anything.” 1 Corinthians 6:12 “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food- but God will destroy them both.” Vs. 13 Some actions are not sinful in themselves, but they are not appropriate because they can control our lives and lead us away from God. Food is not the enemy, Satan is. He was to render us ineffective/sluggish for the cause of Christ. We may have to lose foods for good, but we will gain victory for the cause of Christ. No food will ever taste as sweet as victory does. I am not being deprived and I don’t need to feel it isn’t fair. I can make a sacrifice in order to gain something much greater than the food that’s not on my plan. Focusing only on what we are giving up will make us feel constantly deprived. Deprivation leads to desperation, frustration and failure. Instead, we have to focus on everything we’re gaining through this process. See the gains as more valuable than the losses, like my newfound courage to say “I can”. My courage is so much more valuable and beautiful and empowering and lasting. It fills my heart, mind, and soul with everything alive and possible and invigorating. Have courage to repent. I can identify my shortcomings, and instead of using them against myself, hand them over to Jesus and let Him chisel my rough places. His chiseling is full of truth that sets me free. He says, “Let’s fully turn from those things that are not beneficial for you.”
“Dear Jesus, I have finally found the courage to admit I’ve craved food more than You. I have wept over giving up food while hardly giving a thought to You giving Your life for my freedom. I’ve been bound up by feelings of helplessness. I’ve been angry that I have to deal with this weight issue and have been mad at You for allowing this to be one of my lots in life. I’ve made excuses. I’ve pointed fingers. I’ve relied on food for things it could never give me. I’ve lied to myself about the realities of why I gain weight. I’ve settled and excused and made pithy comments justifying my issues. I’ve been enthralled by buttered bread while yawning through Your daily bread. For all that, I am so sorry. These are not just little issues. These, for me, are sins- missing the mark of Your best for my life. With my whole heart, mind, and soul, I repent. I stand on this step and stare at the reality of my depravity and turn. I turn from the dieting mindset. I turn from what I must give up and weep no more. I remove my toe keeping open the door to my old habits and patterns, my old mind-set, my old go-to scripts. I choose freedom. I choose victory. I choose courage. And yes, above all else, I choose You. Amen.
This adventure is about gains and losses- gaining empowerment, confidence, holiness; losing defeat, failure, compromise. And of course there are the sacrificial food choices that get tallied with the losses as well. We expect those losses to sting, and they do at first, but the farther along we get on the journey, the more we begin to realize that every intentional loss and sacrifice returns a tenfold blessing- a blessing we couldn’t experience any other way.
Live as an Overcomer
Food is an issue God takes very seriously. God commands us to have a healthy perspective on food, but He also provides the help to achieve it. His Word holds the key for anyone wanting to overcome food issues. His truths perfectly direct us, guide us, and teach us. He has proven true to His promises to save us.
“Some became fools through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities. They loathed all food and drew near the gates of death. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.” Psalm 107:17-19 I became a fool with my habits regarding food. I rebelled against healthy options, realistic portions, and the need to address this issue in my life. I loved food for the instant gratification, but then I loathed it for what it did to me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I drew near to a complete sense of defeat. How did God save them? He sent forth His word and His word healed them. We were made to walk on paths of victory. We will have struggles but God’s word will heal us and help us to victory.
“To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” Revelation 2:7 Overcoming is possible. We can have absolute victory in an area where we once knew nothing but defeat. There is a reward for pressing through our struggles all the way to absolute victory: the right to eat from the tree of life in heaven.
My healthy choices make me feel empowered, not deprived. It’s an exciting way to live. Dare to set your toes firmly on the pathway of victory you are meant to be on. Whether you are on the path toward victory or defeat is determined by the very next choice we make. May it be that of an overcomer made to crave God alone. Hope is an essential companion on the journey to lifelong healthy eating. In order to sustain our victories, we have to believe that, with God’s help, it is possible to overcome our past defeats and failures. It is possible to draw closer to Christ through our struggles with food. It is possible to make healthy, holiness-producing choices every day. And it is possible to live as an overcomer.
I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there” and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17:20-21 Sometimes our journeys in life aren’t so much about witnessing the miracle of the mountain moving as they are about experiencing God taking our hand and walking through the journey with us.