It’s Not About The Weight Anymore (Part 2)

It’s all about the attitude.

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God with your body.”  1 Cor 6:19-20

This is our theme verse for this whole topic. And in this week’s post, we are going to be focusing on our attitude towards our bodies, and towards food. What you believe about food and who is in charge of your body are directly linked, and knowing both will help as you seek to make wise choices in both areas.

Part 1: Food

What first pops into your head when you think about food? Or, another way to ask the same question, what does food mean to you?

Security?

Planning?

Comfort?

Work?

Joy?

Stress?

Necessity?

Money?

Sustainment?

Deserved?

As I have been pondering on this question for the past few months, I have come to a startling revelation. For me, food means joy and comfort, for the most part. But even more than that, deep down I believe that I deserve food, and even good food, not just any old food. For a little while I tried to deny it – of course I don’t really believe that I deserve food, I told myself. No, I said, I believe all those verses that talk about how everything we have comes from God (Acts 17:28, Col 1:15, John 17:7), and that without Him there is nothing (John 1:3) and the ones that talk about gluttony being against God (side note: more to come on that in the next post!) and that our bodies are temples (1 Cor 6:19).

Right?

Yes. But then right alongside those beliefs came slowly creeping in the self-made belief that I deserve to eat whatever I want, whenever I want, regardless of the consequences. As I thought about what, and when, I ate, and realized that often it wasn’t because I was hungry. It was because I was sad, or lonely, or tired, or bored, or it was chocolate and I couldn’t refuse it, or because it was just sitting there, or it was mealtime, or I just felt like it.

There are many factors that lead me to this kind of thinking, including our culture. We live in a culture that declares our independence from responsibility. You want it, you can have it. In fact, you deserve it! Treat yourself, and don’t pay any attention to the consequences. You can just take a pill to cover whatever your decisions bring – excessive weight gain, diabetes, high cholesterol, back pain, knee pain, etc (note: I realize that some of those things can be genetically prone, but at the same time the truth is that we bring a lot of it on ourselves by our poor choices, especially when it comes to how and what we eat). This is why the Scriptures repeatedly tell us to set our minds on the things above, not on the things of the earth (Col. 3:2), and to NOT be conformed to this world (Rom. 12:2), and to discipline ourselves for godliness (2 Tim. 2:1-7), and to be set apart from the world.

Part 2: Our bodies

Ok. Let’s move on to our attitude regarding our bodies. Our attitude towards food and how we eat is one insight into who we believe is in charge of our body. For me I have realized that it all boils down to this: when it comes to food, I love myself more than I love Jesus and His Word. Ouch. This is the one that I tried the hardest to deny, and then on Sunday I read a couple excerpts from an excellent book called A Gospel Primer by Milton Vincent that hit me hard and caused me to see the ways that I put self-love above Christ-love. Vincent says that:

“One of the leading causes of my natural tendency to self-love is fear. I fear that if I do not love myself there would be no one left to love me quite so well as I do. An even more significant cause of self-love is a lack of persuasion that there is someone out there who is worthy to be loved more than I.” (p. 29-30)

When I am sad, or lonely, or tired, or bored, and I turn to food, I am in essence saying that food will satisfy me more than Christ could, and that I doubt Christ’s ability to fully love me. I am loving myself more than I love Christ by focusing on my own emotions and trying to satisfy them on my own instead of turning to Christ and allowing Him to be my soul’s satisfaction. The problem with self-love is that we can never love ourselves enough. The food doesn’t work, so then we turn to other things. In talking about lusts, Vincent says They promise me fullness, and their promises are so deliciously sweet that I often find myself giving in to them as if they were friends that have my best interests at heart.”

The food is not to blame. When viewed rightly food is a great blessing, as is everything that comes from the Lord. But in order for it to be a blessing, I must view it rightly: first, as coming from the Lord, second, as something that I do not deserve, and third, as a means of satisfying my physical hunger, not something given to satisfy my emotions or indulge my whims.

And then, the heart of it really comes down to learning to love Christ more than I love myself. See, the two really are linked. Because as I learn to put Christ first, and turn to Him to satisfy my heart and hunger, then my attitude towards food will automatically fall into line. And then, amazingly, all of a sudden it isn’t about the weight anymore. It’s about Jesus, and loving Him more than food or myself, just as He created it to be.

As you’ve read through this (and congrats if you’ve made it this far!!), I would love to hear any thoughts/comments or reflections from you on how you answered the first question, and anything the Lord has put on your heart so far.

Till next time…..


2 thoughts on “It’s Not About The Weight Anymore (Part 2)

  1. Emily, I so support you in your exploration. I just started reading The China Study by T. Colin Campbell. (Google it for a complete description.) This is a revolutionary battle in the mindset and culture we were raised in and live in. Your thoughts are an encouragement to me.

  2. Thanks Betsy! I saw the link to the book you recommended. It looks like a great read, but my summer reading list is already pretty full!! 🙂 I’ve added it to the list though and would love to read it in a couple months when my list slims down a bit. I would also love to hear your thoughts on it and what you are learning as you read!

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