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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Love to Eat, Hate to Eat: Chapter 6

Chapter 6: God's Life Changing Power

Bringing About Real Change

God's Word says that He has the power to change us. His plans for us are for our good, not to harm us. Because He wants good for us, he does not want us to be stuck in sin, but to persevere through struggles and continually seek Him. He promises to help us in this work, "he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion" (Philippians 1:6).

Fitzgerald believes that there are 4 basic steps we can follow to bring about godly change in our lives through the work of the Holy Spirit...

  1. Become convinced that your present method of eating is sinful and cease from it
  2. Become convinced that God's methods for disciplined eating are right and begin practicing them
  3. Seek diligently to change your mind and become conformed to God's thinking, especially in the area of your eating habits
  4. Continue to practice these new thoughts and behaviors, even when the struggle gets hard

The foundation for this change is found in the Holy Spirit working in you. If your goal is to be conformed to the image of Christ, none of us can bring about real change on our own. To truly change our hearts in a way that pleases God and conforms us to look like Christ, the Holy Spirit must work through us. The fruit of the Spirit's work in you is self control, even as it pertains to your eating habits.

Let's take a look at how the Spirit can help in each of the above steps for change...

Step 1:
"Solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil." Hebrews 5:14

The Spirit convicts us of sin and leads us to recognize good from evil. The Holy Spirit can also guide us to eat in godly ways, that don't lead us into sin. The Spirit enables us to put the desires of our flesh to death. His power is mighty to help you discern godly ways of eating from sinful ways of eating.

Step 2:
"When the Spirit of truth comes He will guide you into all the truth." John 16:13

Any change in your outward behavior and in your heart, must come from the work of the Holy Spirit. Only the Spirit can guide you in truth so that you can display godly eating habits. After accepting Christ into your life, God does not want to leave you as the same person. He desires to change us into his likeness, to sanctify us. To make this change possible, He uses the Spirit in you.

Step 3:
"Lay aside your old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God, being changed in his image, has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth, that the Holy Spirit is creating in you." Ephesians 4:22-24

Putting off our old ways of eating and thinking is a process that takes time. Throughout the entire process, as the Spirit guides, change occurs. The spirit changes the way that we think about ourselves and about Him and about our eating habits. The Spirit works through God's Word. The Bible is a lamp to light our way so that we can better understand God's purposes in our lives. And as we read, we must also pray and ask that the Spirit would help us gain understanding.

Step 4:
Too often we start a new "plan" with hope and excitement, only to feel like a failure days or weeks after starting. Or we get tired of the routine and search for something else that might be better. Fitzgerald states that "the practice of godliness that the Spirit is working in us is the only solution that is going to have true and lasting results."

Have HOPE...
We can have hope as believers because the Spirit protects us and seals are fate. The Spirit watches diligently and guards us so that we will someday be delivered safely back to the Father's hands. Our struggle with sin will not end until this life is over, but God is powerful enough to change us while we are here, give us strength during the process, and continue the work He started in us until He calls us home to be with Him.

We can also have hope in our struggles and be joyful for them...

"We exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. " Romans 5:3-5

As we trust in God to change us, even as we continue to struggle, we will be filled with God's unconditional, overflowing love. You can release fears and worry that you won't be able to do it because God has already chosen to give up his very own Son, to death on a cross, so that He could do this work in you. He will do anything for you!

Even in times that you feel too weary, tired or weak to pray, the Spirit prays on your behalf. The Spirit knows exactly how to pray for you. And in these times we can look to the Spirit for comfort, peace and strength. Galatians 5:6 states that as we "walk by the Spirit, you will not carry out the desire of the flesh." We can walk by the Spirit when we "set our affections on Him, rely on Him, please Him, rest in Him, trust Him, pray to Him, worship Him, and obey Him." When we do these things we will be guided by the Spirit and our fleshly desires will be put to death.

Love to Eat, Hate to Eat
Elyse Fitzpatrick
Copyright 1999