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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Love to Eat, Hate to Eat: Chapter 7

Chapter 7: A Right Perspective of Food

In this chapter, Fitzgerald more closely explores the first step towards godly change from Chapter 6. Step one stated that we must "become convinced that our present method of eating is sinful and cease from it."

Too many of us don't see our eating habits, at times, as sinful. Our society has developed a skewed idea of what sin is. God's truth is found in the Bible and we have a God who hates sin. For any of us to truly change, we must acknowledge that overeating, starving or purguing is sin. These behaviors are not merely bad habits, but sin habits. These behaviors are as much sin as drunkenness, adultery, or murder. We must begin to hate these behaviors because they are sinful and take us away from the heart of God, not simply because we are embarressed or ashamed by them.

Anything can be sinful if we allow it to enslave us. Paul speaks of this in 1 Corinthians 6:12-13,
"All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food; but God will do away with both of them."
When we allow ourselves to practice extreme dietary habits, such as starvation, bingeing, purging or overeating of any kind, our heart becomes enslaved to those habits. If our bodies will not last for eternity, should we be enslaved to them in this present life? If food has power over you, it has become an idol in your life. The first commandment states, "you shall have no other gods before me."

There is no particular food that is considered sinful. You must first determine the motives of your heart as you eat to know if your habits are sinful. To help you determine whether or not your eating is sinful think about these questions...

When you eat, are you being enslaved to your appetite?
Will this food bring me into bondage?
Am I eating for wrongful desires and pleasures? or control?
Will eating this send me into a binge? or starvation?

When we compromise our consciences, we are sinning. What may be sinful for you may not be for someone else. Faithless eating is sinful.

Fitzgerald then takes a look at gluttony and it's biblical meaning. When the Bible talks about gluttony it is referring to someone who is excessive in his eating habits. The sin of gluttony isn't merely overeating, but refers to someone who is only living for himself; wanting whatever we want, in whatever quantity, whenever we want it. The habit of living in slavery to excess and self indulgence is gluttony.

The Old Testament addresses gluttony in Deuterononmy 21:18-20 and again in Proverbs 23:20-21. In both of these passages the sin of gluttony was accompanied by sins of self indulgence, laziness, drunkenness, stubbornness and rebelliousness.

In Luke 7:34 we see people accusing Jesus of being a glutton because he ate and drank freely with sinners. Yet, Jesus knew no sin. He ate and drank without giving in to gluttony or drunkenness.

We see Jesus eating at many points in the Bible because food itself is not a bad thing. In 1 Timothy Paul states that food is created by God to be enjoyed for the health of our bodies. He says, "Everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer." When we are thankful for the food we eat and ask God's blessings for our body, food is a good thing. However, we are being sinful in our eating if we are not thankful for the food we have and give no regard to God's provision of it.

"As long as what you eat dominates your affections, thoughts and behavior - even if you are eating small portions, starving yourself, or insisting on eating only "healthy" foods, your eating is gluttonous because your life is focused on food."

The measure of gluttony is your heart. You can be ruled by your appetite whether you are thin or overweight.

God gives us the ability to break old habits and learn new ones. Old habits can be comfortable and hard to break. But, the power of the Holy Spirit can change and transform us, as well as our ungodly habits.

Paul discusses this struggle with desiring to keep our old habits in conjunction with our desire to serve God. Romans 6:12-13 says,
"Do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness of God."
In these verses Paul is saying that we should no longer use our body (hands, mouth, eyes) for sin. When we use our body for sinful purposes we are giving Satan the power to hurt us. When you resist Satan by fighting your temptations, your sin habit will become less and less. We can move from sinful habits to godly habits because of God's grace. Romans 6:14 says that "sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace."

The first step in changing your sin habits to godly habits is to stop the sin patterns in your life. When you recognize that you are struggling or about to sin, say to yourself, "sin will not master over me." God is good and powerful. He has the power to change you.

Love to Eat, Hate to Eat
Elyse Fitzpatrick
Copyright 1999