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Last night my daughter, Giavella, and I are were standing in the kitchen. I was making dinner and she said, "Mom, what did you look like when you were younger?"
I told her to watch the food while I ran into my office and grabbed an old box of photos. We laughed as we went through them, but at one point Giavella looked at me and said Mom, "Why do you look so different?"
Before I even thought about what I was going to say, I just blurted out food!
I explained to her that I grew up thinking that dieting was the only way to get healthy and lose weight, so I’d go on a diet and lose weight and then gain weight, and this cycle was obvious in the photos. I shared with her how I never learned healthy eating habits or how to have a healthy relationship with food.
She said, "But Mom, you look better now – your skin, your hair, your body, everything!
The pictures told the story of how food was a real struggle.
It’s hard to see the difference our food choices make in the day-to-day of life, but when my sweet girl and I looked at those images – it was written all over my face, my body, my hair, you could see a lack of confidence in my eyes and my posture.
Food is so much more than food, so I want to share one quick gut check that will help you. Before I do though, I’m wondering if you’ve ever experienced any of the feelings about food and eating that I have.
Food has been a place of shame and pride for me.
God showed me in really deep ways that both of these mindsets about food are sinful because they make food an idol. God made food for us to enjoy but the dieting mindset has ruined our relationship with food.
Have you heard the phrase diets won’t fix your issues they created them?
So much truth, let me explain. Dieting is a mentality that goes like this:
You promise this is it! This time you’re going to eat perfectly and lose weight, but your body longs for real food – not bars, shakes, or packaged food. No, it wants to enjoy food, so before long, you give up and quit and then overindulge with all of the foods you missed, and then you feel shame...so you promise to do better next time.
My prayer is that you will start to ask God to repair your relationship with food. That it will lose its power over you. That you will eat from a grateful and grace-filled heart. That you will choose to eat with intention and fuel your body, His temple, in a way that stewards what God has given you to take care of. I also pray that the Holy Spirit working inside of you would prompt you when you start to engage in gluttonous behavior.
Gluttony is a word nobody wants to talk about. I think we need to unpack the actual definition and gain a biblical understanding of what it means. Bible Study Tools definition of Gluttony is “Gluttony is a sin that many Christians find easy to laugh about and accept as harmless while sins such as being an alcoholic or adulterer are quickly attacked. The sin of gluttony is idolatry - it is a choice to self-love, comfort, and control through food.”
And Easton’s Bible Dictionary defines Glutton as:
( Deuteronomy 21:20), Hebrew word, zolel, from a word meaning "to shake out," "to squander;" and hence one who is prodigal, who wastes his means by indulgence. In Proverbs 23:21, the word means debauchees or wasters of their own body.
When I read, Gluttony is idolatry - it is a choice to self-love, comfort, and control through food.” and a Glutton is a waster of their own body, I prayed for myself, for you, for our fit sisters in Christ to have a lightbulb moment. We often choose our own hierarchies of sin, don’t we? But sin is sin. And we want NO part of it! The Bible warns us that we cannot serve the god of our bellies.
"Whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things." (Philippians 3:19)
Try this exercise: Picture a line with gratitude on one side and gluttony on the other. We are always somewhere on this line when we eat. Our goal is to move it toward gratitude. And when we miss it, grace.
When we feel ourselves sliding down the line toward gluttony, we need to say, "Thank you Holy Spirit for convicting me, God I’m choosing at this moment to honor you in my body and to be filled with the Holy Spirit teach me to be satisfied with enough and when I miss it helped me not to engage in shame but practice grace."
Here’s the gut check I mentioned:
When you eat, ask yourself, am I eating from a grateful heart or a gluttonous one?
And if it is gluttonous, skip the guilt by turning to God and asking for Him to show you how to give yourself His grace and return to gratitude.
The way we eat from a grateful heart is this, we don’t put a bite of food into our mouths without first coming to God with a long moment in prayer and gratitude.
Jesus is saying this to you in Revelation 3:20, Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with you. Just wow right?!
Let me give you a real example:
God has shown me that if I invited Him to the table and He was eating with me, I wouldn’t be shoving food in my mouth and scrolling through my phone. I would be in reverence in awe of the food He provides, the way He protects my family, the peace He gives when we eat from a grateful heart versus a hurried, can’t seem to be satisfied, I’ll just have another bite and then another, gluttonous one. The thing about gluttony is that it doesn't satisfy and it takes away our peace. There’s never enough, but in Jesus, there is fullness of joy!
With the holidays coming, instead of us letting the work we’ve done to glorify God in our bodies come to a stop, let’s challenge ourselves to eat from a grateful heart and not a gluttonous one (and if you accept this challenge come tell me on social I want to hear about it.)
Here is our biblical foundation to eat from a grateful heart and not a gluttonous one.
Everything is permissible for me, but not all things are beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything [and brought under its power, allowing it to control me]. 1 Corinthians 6:12 AMP
This makes me think of how Paul said, Liberty is not a license. Paul warns us in Galatians 5:13, “You, have been called unto liberty (freedom from the penalty and power of sin); only do not use liberty as an opportunity (springboard, base of operation, excuse) for the flesh (sinful nature to do what it pleases), but through love serve one another.”
But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning. Romans 14:23
If something is a sin to us, it’s sin. If God has put His finger on a food or drink in your life, and you know you need to lay it down, surrender it to Him, and replace it with something healthier.
Dieting has tied eating to performance, so we need to disassociate it by recognizing we are not bad if we eat bad or good if we eat good, we are free in Christ to enjoy food.
Eat from a Grateful Heart with these 7 Scriptures:
1. "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations." (Psalm 100:4-5)
2. “Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!” (Psalm 95:2)
3. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:21)
4. "And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Colossians 3:15-20)
5. "You are my God, and I will praise You; You are my God, I will exalt You. Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever." (Psalm 118:28-29)
6. "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
7. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1)
You know where each of us struggles with food or what we drink. Pour out your Spirit on us. Have mercy on us. Your word says there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, Father the enemy condemns us over our eating with shame and guilt, remind us that we are free in you and this diet teaching didn’t come from you. You made food for us to enjoy for our nourishment. Help us come before you when we eat, with a grateful heart, help us slow down to be present and mindful and let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, and be thankful. Let no sin rule over us, Father!
In Jesus’ name, amen.
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