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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Love to Eat, Hate to Eat: Chapter 9

Chapter 9: Food and Your Thought Life

Our eating habits reflect our thoughts. When all of our thoughts are consumed by food, we need to change our thoughts; but how? Our hearts influence our behavior, emotions and even our health.

During this chapter, Fitzgerald digs deeper into the third step of the change process and what the Bible has to say about our thoughts.

We often think of head knowledge and heart knowledge being two different things. We think that we can believe something in our heads, but that our hearts could feel differently. The Scriptures, however, show that there is no distinction between the heart and the head...
"Out of the heart come evil thoughts." Matthew 15:19

"The Word of God is living and active... it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12
According to the Bible, we have an inner person and an outer person. The inner person is composed of thoughts, desires, intentions, and will. The outer person includes our appearance, actions, words and deeds.

Our thoughts and emotions are completely influenced by each other. Our behavior is then influenced by our thoughts and emotions as well. She gives an example of this cycle...
  • Your emotions influence your thoughts (thoughts --> emotions)
Thinking that "What happened to me isn't fair!" leads to feelings of anger, depression, and fear
I'm going to punish myself by starving, or comfort myself by eating

  • Our thoughts then are influenced by our emotions (emotions --> thoughts)
Depressed feelings lead to thinking that nothing will ever change
I'm so depressed, that I need to eat

  • Your physical health influences your emotions (thoughts and emotions --> physical health)
Thinking that things aren't fair and feeling angry leads to ulcers
I'm so angry that I'm going to starve, binge, or purge
  • Thoughts and emotions influence your physical health (physical health --> thoughts and emotions)
Being in poor health leads to thinking that my life is awful and I feel depressed
Health problems result from bingeing, starving and purging, which leads to
sinful thoughts and emotions

The 3rd step to godly change is this: Seek diligently to change our mind and be conformed to God's thinking, especially in the area of our eating habits

God gives us specific instructions about how we are to think in Philippians 4:8...
"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute; if there is anything excellent or praiseworthy, let your mind dwell on these things."

Whenever a thought comes into our minds, we must judge it with these standards. We must continually ask ourselves if our thoughts reflect these things so that we can train our minds. If we think sinful thoughts for too long, we will follow through with action. But when we train our minds to think of things that reflect Philippians 4:8, our actions will be changed.

Our thoughts are sometimes so habitual that we don't even know we're thinking of them, which makes them hard to change. These thoughts can be changed, however. The first step is to ask God to make you aware of your sinful thoughts through the power of the Holy Spirit. Another way to change your habitual thoughts is to work backwards. Once you realize that you are eating in a sinful manner, go back and see what thoughts led to that behavior.

We can change our thought patterns by dwelling on godly thoughts. When we find ourselves going down a road of sinful thoughts, we can ask God to help us stop and redirect our thoughts to the things of Philippians 4:8. When our thoughts are godly, our attitudes are changed, others around us are changed, and we glorify God.

There will be times that we will stumble, but we can take heart because God is always on our side and he will continually work to renew our thoughts. 2 Corinthians 10:5 states that, "You need to bring all of your thoughts under submission to Christ's lordship."

We can also change our thought patterns when we soak in God's word. Memorize His word and recite it all day long. We can stop feeding our mouths with food and instead feed our hunger with God's word. Man does not live by bread alone, but the very word of God (Matthew 4:4).

Love to Eat, Hate to Eat
Elyse Fitzpatrick
Copyright 1999