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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Love to Eat, Hate to Eat: Chapter 5

Chapter 5: Why We Do What We Do

This chapter addresses the question of...
"Why do I do what I do?"
What are the motivations of your heart?

Our society gives us these reasons for doing what we do...

1. My Mama made me do it
  • the way we act today is a result of subconscious roots from something that happened in our childhood
2. My computer has a virus
  • man is simply a machine; the input will always result in corresponding behaviors
3. Help me doctor, I think I'm sick
  • people who believe that eating disorders are diseases think that we do things because of our genes, allergies or chemicals in our brain
4. Feel the force within you
  • these people believe in eastern philosophies and mysticism for the answers to motivation and healthy behavior
5. The devil made me do it
  • people who believe that demons and spirits inhabit our bodies, causing people to struggle continually with sin
6. I don't love myself enough
  • inside each of us is the power to love and accept ourselves, but these people have low self-esteem and instead choose to punish themselves instead of loving themselves
Every motivation mentioned thus far has blamed an outside force for our behavior, instead of self. Generally speaking our society says that we aren't responsible for our own behaviors. All of our behaviors must be a result of something or someone else - your parents, lack of self-esteem, the devil, etc.

However, the Bible states that one day we will be accountable to God for our actions. God has forgiven us of our sins through Jesus Christ, but the same God has also called us to trust and obey Him.

Taking Responsibility... with God's Grace

God calls us to obey His Word. He has the ability to ask this of us because He alone can give us the strength to do so. Regardless of our past experiences or present circumstances, God delights in showering us with His grace so that we can boast in Him and glorify in Him in all things.

If you are in Christ, why not begin today to ask God to show you how He redeems your past and uses it for His glory? The thought that God arranged your history to happen exactly the way it has so that He could turn your mourning into dancing. His grace should fill you with hope and joy.

What the Bible teaches about "why we do what we do"

The Bible says that while we all have different pasts and different histories, we are all made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). God created us all innately the same. Because of this, we can know that the Bible holds truth for everyone.

Our first peek into what the Bible has to say about this comes from James 1:14, "Each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust." Each of us have lusts in our heart that cause us to see certain temptations as very inviting. These lusts then are strong motivators of our behavior. When you find yourself tempted to sin, ask "What desire is motivating this behavior? What desire is it that I'm trying to satisfy by eating or not eating this?"

The Condition of our Hearts

Only God can truly know the condition of our hearts. Only God has enough insight and wisdom to see us as we truly are. Our hearts can deceive us at times. Sin can speak in our hearts and tell us that the wrong we are planning is right. We make excuses and rationalizations. The only way to truly understand the temptations of our heart is to be in the Word. When we learn the Word, we gain the ability to understand our thoughts and intentions.

God can help us understand our own heart through prayer. When Jesus was facing his death, he prayed and even guided his disciples to pray, that they would not fall into temptation. God can show you what areas you are particularly tempted by. The Holy Spirit in you can then give you the strength you need to resist temptations. Pray before the temptation comes if you are aware of specific temptation areas are in your life.

Temptations do not come from God. In James 1:13 it states, "let no one say when he is tempted I am being tempted by God; for God cannot be tempted by evil and He Himself does not tempt anyone." Outward temptations come from the world or the devil while inward temptations come from our fleshly desires. We fall into sin when the selfish desires of our hearts are matched with outside temptations that are ungodly.

Some ungodly desires include...

1. Love of Independence
  • we have a desire to have what we want when we want it
  • we make statements like, "You cannot tell me what to eat or not eat." "Everything in my life is out of control and food is the only area that I can do what I want."
  • this desire to have control started in the garden when Eve ate from the apple

2. Love of Pleasure
  • desiring to experience pleasure simply for the reason of greedy enjoyment, rather than for it's given purpose
  • eating to fuel your body is not wrong, however eating for other motivations such as loving the pleasure of food for comfort, peace, love are wrong

Cultivating Godly desires...

What are the true desires of your heart? Do you long for God the way that you long for a drink or a certain kind of food? When we seek God alone as our only source of pleasure, we will find joy beyond description.

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisified." Matthew 5:6

If we hunger and thirst for anything but God, we will never be satisified. But if we seek Him first, we will be blessed, satisfied and joyful. Our stomachs will never be satisfied in this life, but we can store up treasures in heaven when we have an appetite for Him that can remain satisfied.

Leave behind things that bring lesser joys. Too often we seek after food and drink for joy and contentment, when God wants to offer us His pure, everlasting, unconditional, infinite joy. Lust is content with nothing, and the more it is fed, the hungrier it becomes. In God we are always satisfied and our deepest hungers are fulfilled.

Let Psalm 73:25 be your prayer today,
"the earth has nothing I desire besides you."

Love to Eat, Hate to Eat
Elyse Fitzpatrick
Copyright 1999