Welcome back to “Monday’s Life Change”. Today, I wanted to discuss a topic that has been both convicting and life changing for me: Food.
Several years ago, my husband and I went to Philippi (Greece) on a “Footsteps of Paul” tour. We were able to walk through old ruins and saw the jail that Paul may have spent some time in. Seeing these pieces of history makes the hard truth he preached a reality and it has changed the way I view much of the Bible. In this passage, (Philippians 3:18-21), Paul was addressing the Philippian believers:
“For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”
There is so much here, but these few words caught my attention: “their god is their stomach”.
Over the last couple of years, I have had to ask myself the question, “who controls you?” After being pregnant over and over and over and…(well, you get the picture) for the last 7 years, I realized that my eating patterns had changed to be somewhat unhealthy.
When I was tired or not feeling well or just in general having a “bad day”, I would find something in my pantry or freezer to “comfort” myself. I didn’t realize how often I was “comforting” myself until I decided to “get healthy” again and began to watch what I ate and when I ate it. There’s nothing more humbling than realizing that instead of turning to the Lord when I feel overwhelmed, I was actually turning to food. Was my “god” my stomach? Didn’t I believe that the God of the universe who made me and knew all the intimate parts of my day was strong enough to comfort my heart and stomach? Of course! But my actions would have said otherwise.
Humbling. Life changing.
Over time, bad habits form and extra pounds come on and as we all know, bad habits are hard to break…and those extra pounds are much harder to lose than they were to put on.
In verse 21, Paul says that God brings “all things under his control”. I understand that to be “all things”, even my stomach. So, I began to pray and ask the Lord to help me to turn to Him when I felt overwhelmed with my children or sad about events of the day or tired and feeling unable to make a healthy food choice. I asked Him to control even my appetite.
In time, I noticed that I could slow down while eating and make better choices in the pantry and freezer. Paul said of these Philippians that their minds were “set on earthly things”. I believe mine has been too and I’m pretty certain I’m not alone. In America, we are faced daily, with hundreds of choices regarding food. Big Mac or turkey-wrap? Soda or water? Chips or carrots? But, I’m still not sure that carrots are winning in that tug of war! Because food is our fuel for life, it’s actually an area of great dependence. When I realized that, eating became another area I could submissively yield to the Lord.
I don’t want to be controlled by earthly things. I really believe in the transformation that can come through submitting our lives to Christ and I want all that it will bring, down to discipline with food. I can tell you now, that while I still knowingly make some poor choices with food, more of my meals and snacks are healthy and thought through. We’ve started eating more “meat on the side” with veggies as the star of the plate. I eat almonds and fruit for most of my snacks during the day and drink loads of water. These changes have helped so much and I feel better! I have to exercise regularly as well, and have found what seems to work for me.
But I discipline my body and keep it under control. 1 Corinthians 9:27
I also want to be a good example to my children. It’s one thing to say “eat your vegetables”, but it’s another to actually cut out some of the junk food and sugary drinks that they are given and replace it with healthy food. If I saturate them with junk food now, why would I expect them to eat any different when they are teenagers or young adults faced with their own independent choices?
We talk about the effects of food even now while they are little, so that they begin to understand that it’s important to honor the Lord as a good steward of their body. We love to sit down to great meals and even desserts at our house. Family time always revolves around some sort of food, so I want to display a healthy perspective for my children.
Since I am a mother to four girls, I want to show them how health and fitness doesn’t have to run your life or be a sort of bondage. Too many women are in that boat and I don’t want my girls drowning in that vicious cycle.
If you’ve found this to be a struggle for you, as most of us have at one time or another, keep the truth before you as you walk this difficult journey. The same Lord who calmed raging waters with his mere spoken word, is strong enough to quiet your appetite and bring it under His control.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13