Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Some thoughts from Today's Devotion

I have been working through the devotion The Lord’s Table. You can do this online for free at The Lord's Table. Today’s lesson was really eye-opening and I wanted to share some things from it with you. Keep in mind that these are excerpts so it may sound a little choppy.

Here is the first scripture we read:
20 Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21 "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? 22 These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. — Colossians 2:20-23

It's also important to test our assumptions in the area of food and weight loss issues. Most diet "experts" tell us that, if we are overweight, the problem is in the type of food we've been eating. To correct the problem, they tell us, we need to avoid "wrong" foods and begin eating "right" foods. They insist that the problem is with the food.

My thoughts: These rules do not address the real problem - the sensual indulgence. So much of what we eat is because it looks good or tastes good and this causes a reaction in us - much like being attracted to another person. It causes a stir in bodies/minds. So we eat to satisfy this stir. We don't think about it being good or bad for us, we just want it.

The Scripture passage above reveals the real problem: indulgence of the flesh! It makes perfect sense if you think about it: what is it that makes me want to eat the entire gallon of ice cream? What makes me crave a late-night snack that turns into an all-you-can-eat buffet? The answer is that I want to indulge my flesh. My flesh cries out to be gratified and, lacking self-control, I indulge it. That is the problem—not food in itself.
This realization requires us to re-evaluate our struggle and our goals. If our condition is a result of indulging the flesh, it's useless to change the types of foods with which we indulge the flesh. If I forsake eating breads and only indulge with meat, what have I profited? My heart and lifestyle have not changed; even if I lose weight for a time, it will certainly come back until I identify the real problem: that I have a habit of indulging my flesh.

Susan, at the Lord's Table, we do not suggest denying the body any type of food—on the contrary, we ought to receive every type of food with thanksgiving. It is man-made religion to say "Taste not ice cream, touch not meat," etc. Instead, we suggest eating in a disciplined manner. If you want ice cream, choose when you eat it and how much of it to eat before sitting down to eat it. If you enjoy Cinnabons (as I do!), then you may have one... but first you must choose when to eat it, and then eat it in a controlled, thankful manner. Food is not the problem; indulging the flesh is.

The Christian life is not about legalistically following a set of rules or denying ourselves certain foods. Instead, it's about being full of Christ and enjoying Him.
Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. — 1 Timothy 4:1-5

The Bible teaches that we are to receive all types of food with thanksgiving to God. The Scriptures specifically state that "nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving." Food is not the problem! Try telling that to the diet gurus.

So how do we lose and manage weight if we eat anything and everything? The answer is straightforward: eat in moderation. Eat in a disciplined manner. Eat with self control. Plan your intake of food. And importantly, be accountable to someone for the amount you eat.

Back to me: WOW! This is freeing when you really think about it. I don’t have to give up my favorites –Pizza and Ice Cream. I just need to eat them with moderation and thank God for giving us the wisdom to make such yummy food. The key is THINKING about what I’m eating and how much I’m eating. Am I eating to meet an emotional need that I should be relying on God to meet? If so, I’m using food in place of God – it has become an idol.

Wow, what a strong word – Idol. But isn’t that what we are doing. Replacing God with food. Isn’t that the definition of an idol?

Alright, I’ll get off the soapbox. This just really moved me today and I wanted to share it with you. Thanks for stopping by. Susan

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