Food and Diet as a Spiritual Issue

1rm9glhv0ua-brooke-larkGenesis 9:3 “Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.”

1 Timothy 4:1-5 “… deceiving spirits …. Order [people] to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.”

Anyone who knows me knows that I have had a long and complicated relationship with food. My weight has fluctuated greatly throughout my adult life ranging from as high as 390+ pounds to as low as 178. I do not have a healthy relationship with the food I eat.

In 2015, I was diagnosed with a very bad case of Type II Diabetes to go along with the high blood pressure I was already being treated for. I weighed in at 368 pounds and, at 45 years old, things looked a little bleak. My health issues were exacerbated by mental and spiritual issues. I knew my diet and weight had become sinful. And I was deeply depressed as a result. So I confessed to some close Christian friends that my gluttony was a spiritual issue and I prayed for God to help me make a change.

Throughout 2015 and 2016 I began dieting and exercising more. Cycling and running became staple exercises for me and my body responded well. I’ve lost weight (more on this later) and was taken off all my blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol medications. But I must confess that as I write this in January of 2017, I still don’t have a healthy relationship with food. I have tried nearly every diet out there. I did Weight Watchers. I have abstained from carbs, eaten an all-clean and natural diet, and even drank buttered-coffee while fasting from all foods in an attempt to get control over my gluttony.

Nothing has really worked.

I still struggle mightily. This morning I weighed in at 282 pounds. My lowest weight in 2016 was 249 pounds so I’ve gained some weight back over the winter … and I am frustrated. I feel like I’m standing at the crossroads. Either I’ll get a handle on this now or I’ll gain all my weight back … and I refuse to gain my weight back.

I am keenly aware that, for me, my weight is a spiritual issue. I cannot regain control of my food addiction without leaning on God Almighty. I am turning to Him in prayer and asking Him to speak to me through His Word. Today’s passages from Scripture suggest that a healthy relationship with food is one that partakes of “everything that lives and moves” and “all the food that God created” provided it is eaten with thanksgiving to the One Who Provides.

These passages leave me with some things to ponder and pray about. What types of food can be considered “provided by God”? Certainly, these passages suggest a person should eat from all food groups both plants and animals; but what about pizza or rich, decadent desserts? Did God provide these types of junk food or are they too tarnished by the hands of man?

As I ponder and pray over these questions, one thing is for certain. Whatever I eat, will be eaten in thanksgiving to God. I will stop and acknowledge Him before I put any food in my mouth. I will praise Him for supplying my needs and ask for His strength to help me moderate my food intake.

One thing is for certain … food and diet is a spiritual issue.

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Note: I am currently reading through a devotional plan called Food is Not The Enemy: Overcoming Food Struggles using the YouVersion Bible app on my phone. The Scripture referenced in this post coincides with the devotional. I highly recommend it.

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The Abundant Life

abundant
Image borrowed from Sparkpeople.com

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 (NASB)

Jesus came so that you and I may have life, and have it abundantly. I suspect that to understand exactly what Jesus meant by this statement would take years of study. To properly understand, we would have to put His words in the proper context … to have life in abundance would mean to live our lives in the manner prescribed by Scripture, to love others to the fullest, and to love our God with all our might, with all our souls, and with all our strength. We would have to understand that living life in abundance would impact us eternally as well as in the here and now. There’s no doubt no one knew how to live life better, and more abundantly, than Jesus Christ Himself. He stands as the ultimate example of how we should live our lives.

I certainly haven’t mastered the intricacies of living the abundant life, but I have begun to understand that far too often I allow the sin in my life to sabotage it. For all I don’t understand about living life in abundance, I am an expert in screwing my life up! Years of neglect while I pursued my academic interests left me me tired, overweight, and out of shape. In two short years I was forced to have my gallbladder removed, was placed placed on high blood pressure medicine, and learned I was diabetic. To use the words of John “The Penguin” Bingham, I was living a life of sedentary confinement. Such a life is anything but abundant.

So I am pursuing changes. Bingham calls it adult onset athleticism. I simply think of it as pursuing life in abundance. I’ve started a walking program to become more active, I eat less and move more, and I’ve lost about seventy pounds (with more to lose). What I’m doing isn’t simply about diet and exercise. I’m not moving more and eating less simply to lose weight. It is all part of a grander scheme to pursue life in abundance.

What I’ve come to realize is that whatever the abundant life is, it isn’t sitting in front of the television eating pizza and Doritos, gaining weight, and withdrawing from the world. I’ve gone on diets for less noble reasons in the past and I have failed every single time to keep to weight off. The life I’m pursuing now isn’t about diet or even about fitness … it’s about equipping myself to live the life God has planned for me.

You can follow my quest to lose weight and become more fit on my Tumblr blog that compliments this one. But, if you do, please remember it’s not about diet, exercise, or fitness. It’s about pursuing and adapting a new lifestyle. It is about living an abundant life!