They say that there are two different kinds of people in the world - those who eat to live and those who live to eat. I confess I am of the latter persuasion!
I love food. I love to think about food, to cook food and to plan special occasions around food. I don't eat emotionally or to salve a deep dark problem in my life. I eat, plain and simple; because it gives me great pleasure - at least for a little while and then it's time to eat again. What I've noticed is that the more I eat the less I'm satisfied and that in order to be satisfied I have to eat more and more.
I've known this to be a problem for most of my life. And to be perfectly honest it's an area that I have not wanted to relinquish. I mean seriously, I have given over to God so many things in my life - submission to my husband, my children, my possessions, etc. that I have wanted to hang on to this one area in my life. My rationalization went like this - this is a physical issue, not a spiritual one so I'll just handle it on my own, I don't need to bring God into this, He's got so many more significant issues to deal with, I'm sure He doesn't have time for this petty little problem.
So on my own, I have tried all kinds of methods to control this issue in my life. I've tried dieting (from cabbage soup diet to Weight Watchers), reading books, prayer (I've even resorted to begging God to "heal" me). But each one has fallen short. Some of them worked for a while - I even lost 30 pounds with one of the diets but eventually all the weight came back and more and I was worse off than before.
Every time I would diet, there was a sense that I was not getting at the root of my issue. It was such a battle to deny myself. I felt hungry all the time and then eventually I would get worn down and give up in defeat.
Just recently I started doing a Bible study on Overeating and for the first tiime I'm allowing God to get at the heart of this issue and let me tell you it has been humbling and freeing!
I have come to acknowledge that I have a substitute god in my life. (It pains me to say it but it's true.) God has created each one of us with this inner desire to be filled by Him but we often choose to allow other things to fill that hole in our life and that was exactly what I was doing. I was allowing food to fill me rather than God and that's why I have been so dissatisfied and have needed more and more to keep me happy.
You see substitute gods TAKE, TAKE, TAKE. They take your time, your energy, your thoughts, your money, your focus, your purpose . . . If they give it's only temporary and then it leaves you needing and wanting more and more and more. That's what this god was doing in my life. I was bowing down to the god of pleasure, worshiping and accepting it as lord in my life.
Through the study of God's Word, He has shown me that I need His sorrow for my sin and His repentance. I now know that this area of my life is sin. Before I called this problem in my life everthing but sin and by not confessing and relinquishing this area in my life I have experienced frustration, anger and defeat.
Joel 2.12-13 says, That is why the Lord says, "Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping and mourning. Don't tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead." Return to the Lord your God, for He is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.
Repentance is good but hard! And praise God that He loves us inspite of our failures, inspite of choosing a substitute god over Him! And each day I'm experiencing His amazing grace as I continue to give this issue in my life back to Him and accept His forgiveness.
I cannot end this article without asking you . . . Do you have a substitute god in your life? Are you bowing down to the god of Pride? Pleasure? Self-righteousness? Is there an area in your life that you have been unwilling to relinquish and submit to God?
I'm here to tell you, it's not worth it! Sin only brings shame, sorrow, frustration and guilt but God is ready and waiting to release you from the bonds of your sin and to set you free! There is so much joy and freedom and He is patiently waiting.
Romans 2.4 says, Don't you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can't you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from sin?
So trade in that substitute god for the REAL ONE - it'll be the best decision you've ever made!