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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Love to Eat, Hate to Eat: Chapter 8

Chapter 8: Making Godly Food Choices

This chapter highlights the second step towards godly change.

Step 2 says,
"Become convinced that God's methods for disciplined eating are right and begin practicing them"

While the Bible doesn't appear to speak much of eating habits, the Bible does teach us principles that apply to so many different aspects of life. In respect to eating, the Bible speaks a lot about self control and self discipline.

The Results of the Spirit's Work...
In Galatians, Paul speaks of the fruits of the Spirit. When the Spirit is at work in our lives one of the results is self control. In 1 Corinthians 9:25-27 he speaks more about his struggle against the desires of his body. In this scripture he states,
Everyone who competes in the games exercises self control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way , as not without aim; I box in such a way; as not beating the air; but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.
We can't earn God's love or His grace by living a self disciplined life. There is nothing that we can do to pay for the debt of our sin. When we become saved through His sacrifice, He works to sanctify and change us. We are enabled to change through the work of the Holy Spirit as we choose to put off our old habits and put on new godly habits through the practice of self control.
The Need for Self Control...
Even Peter speaks of the need for self control in 2 Peter 1:5-7. He says that Christians must strive to grow in moral excellence, knowledge, self control, perseverance, godliness, kindness and love. He says that these things are necessary to be useful and fruitful for the kingdom of God.
Guidelines for Self Controlled Eating...
To determine whether or not your eating displays self control, Fitzpatrick outlines 12 questions to ask of yourself. As you consider these questions, ask God to show you how your eating can be more pleasing to Him.
To remember these points, you can remember the acrostic, D-I-S-C-I-P-L-I-N-E-D Eating.
12 Questions...
Doubt - Do I doubt that I can eat this food without eating? * If you believe that it is sinful to eat something, you should abstain from eating it because faithless eating is sinful
Idolatry - Does eating this food demonstrate a heart for independence to do whatever I want or a heart longing for pleasure? * If you are eating for reasons that pull you away from the desires God has for you, then you are serving another god
Stumble - If I eat this, will it cause a weaker Christian to stumble? * If we love each other enough we will avoid foods that would cause someone else to sin
Coveting - Am I eating this simply because I saw someone else with it and I'm coveting it? *TV commercials often cause us to covet foods that we don't need
Inroad - If I eat this will it create an inroad for sin? *If you eat something that causes you to desire more and more, you should abstain from it completely.
Praise - Can I eat this food with thanks and gratitude? *If you can't thank God for what you are about to eat, you shouldn't eat it at all
Life - Would eating this food be harmful to my health in any way? *This can be different for every person, but each of us must eat, what for us is a healthy diet that shows care for the bodies God has given us
Illustrate - Am I modeling good habits for others and encouraging them to be self disciplined? *It's important to witness to others with the habit of self controlled eating
No - Can I say no to this food even if I can do so without sinning? *We must keep our bodily desires in submission to our hearts desires
Emotions - Does the desire to eat this flow from a heart of anger, fear frustration or depression? *If you eat for these reasons, sin ends up mastering over you
Distract - Will preparing this food distract me from something better that God has for me to do? *Maybe you need to be ministering to someone instead of worrying about cooking an elaborate meal
Enslaved - Does this food bring me under any kind of bondage? *If you feel a need for a particular food, you should abstain from it so that it does not master over you

All of these things can be summed up with one question...
"With my eating and drinking, am I glorifying God?" 1 Corinthians 10:31