A POSSIBLE YOU
FINDING GOD’S DESTINY FOR YOUR LIFE
(MOLD ME) – REFLECTING THE IMAGE OF WHOM?
“Hardly any other sin is more hateful to God than idolatry for it is at the bottom a libel on His character. The idolatrous heart assumes that God is other than He is, (in itself a monstrous sin) and substitutes for the true God one made after its own likeness.” (A.W. Tozer)
Just like with drugs, alcohol, cursing, stealing, gossip or sex addiction we realize there is a VICIOUS CYCLE and where there is a negative habit or repetition we are routinely faced with the choice to continue going in the same old direction or to change course. With food addiction, the place of decision is when we are hungry as we begin to focus on what we would like to eat next. This is when the body raises its awareness and becomes the aggressive predator that desires to be satisfied. Because we are weak and very vulnerable to temptation, this crossroad moment is where we secretly decide (on an hourly basis) if we are going to obey the red light of discipline or the green light of not caring. It begins with temptation that comes from a passionate craving and ends with us accepting or rejecting its offer. When we give in to the desire and indulge until we are content, our senses are submerged in a temporary feeling of ecstasy, satisfaction and euphoria. This emotional “dream state” sometimes will drift into emotions of sadness, regret, depression and guilt only minutes after we have become mesmerized with pleasure – “IF” we allow our conscience to haunt us. This prison of condemnation can become so powerful that some may fall into the pattern of regurgitating the food or another symptom of the many different types of eating disorders that are connected with this tragic pattern of dysfunction. This agony of regret usually remains until the satisfaction wears off and the hunger returns – then the process starts all over again. To others the feeling of guilt have not been recognized or acknowledged because they have never cared. As a Christian, the concept behind caring comes from the responsibility of not only being aware of how we are reacting to God, but also being aware of our temple and protecting it from all forms of sin. We are to watch carefully what comes INTO our body and mind along with what comes OUT of it (like what we do and say). Is it wrong to eat? Of course not. We are not talking about eating to enjoy what God has provided but rather the danger of turning food into a an idol. Do you agree that God wants to have an input into every area of our life so that He can lead us and guide us into what is best for us? Then, all of our decisions (food included) should be brought before Him as a submission of our will to follow Him and gratefulness for what He has provided. There is no such thing as an insignificant sin. Selah.
The other night I came home late from a meeting and was hungry. My wife had fixed a delicious meal and I sat down to have dinner. Since I have been praying for awareness in my food intake, it crossed my mind that I should be careful not to go over-board and allow my flesh to go out of control. The meal tasted so good and I fell into the old habit of eating fast. I finally decided to stop as I was sensing that I had already gone too far. I knew within five minutes that I had blown it and was feeling very full. I had not eaten that much all day and now I felt as if my stomach was being painfully stretched. I fell into guilt because I knew better and was upset at myself because I failed to do what I know. I just flat out betrayed my own convictions and had no excuse for my weak display of discipline. I did not get away with this misstep because I did not sleep well, and got up 2 times in the middle of the night with acid reflux. For those of you that have experienced this problem, you know how uncomfortable that can be. I was reminded that night of how serious this is and how determined I need to be with my prayers. I need to not only pray – but obey! We notice in James chapter two that it is vain to talk all day about doing something and then end up actually not doing it at all. “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” Our flesh knows what it likes and our hunger (or any desire) can easily over-power our convictions if we do not allow our thinking to be transformed, like when God whispers for us to help someone and instead we just walk past them and say “be blessed my friend”.
We do not need a psychiatrist to tell us that our problems may have started when we were a child or maybe after we experienced a traumatic event as an adult. Why we do things is not as important as inviting God to come into our life to heal us. We all deal with our difficulties in different ways because our minds have a built-in feature called “survival mode”. Yes, it is the same nature that cried and had a fit when we did not get that toy and the same arrogance that took for granted what we did receive. We build walls and fortresses to keep others out of our business and use the security of these barriers as a safe place to throw pity parties. Will we ever stop blaming our past as an excuse for who we are? Selah. Jesus is ready to help us learn how to arrange our life into the beautiful state of joy, peace and freedom where He sits on the throne of our heart and rules our mind but He is waiting for us to ask Him. When Christ controls our “house” our flesh will become a servant to HIS truth and wisdom. Even if we write a book about our dysfunctional past it would not necessarily in itself cause us to break the agonizing cycle of addiction or conquer the bondage of being a slave to sin. We must take the initiative to ALLOW Him to be our Lord! Selah. Most people are aware of their situation but they just do not care and have agreed with the forces of darkness that this is the way it’s going to be. ABSORBING this revelation of spiritual truth will unveil that it is not the past that holds us hostage, but rather our inability to realize that in our blindness and deception we have always held the key to our own prison cell.
Can God’s power really help me overcome my problems? Well, of course and we all need His power to “help” us every day. But as we have said before, we cannot sit on the couch with a huge bag of potato chips and expect Him to “zap” us with a new sculpted, beach body! In this particular situation, it is more like He offers us the “WILLPOWER” to make our own decision to be transformed. He can ENCOURAGE us and INSPIRE us to be the best we can be but we must have the vision and desire to put on our track shoes and begin to run. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us (attacking, surrounding, harassing) and let us RUN with patience the race that is before us. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.” (Hebrews 12:1,12,13) Until the passion to be free from our eating issues (or whatever) becomes greater than living “incarcerated” to sin – there is no hope for victory. Selah. Do we want to be a stronger and more committed Christian? Oh yes brother! Well, allow me to say that until we gain control over our flesh, we cannot be the spiritual person He has called us to be! The place of standing our ground against the desires of our flesh is not AFTER we have just consumed everything on the table because when we are full, we do not even want to think about food for a while let alone resisting it. It is when we are hungry, BEFORE we put a bite into our mouth and of course this is when we must not lose focus. We do not enjoy waiting for our food when we are hungry, HOWEVER this is the perfect time to call a timeout and listen to the “coach’s” game plan. This “pause” is the opportunity to think about what you are going to do and how you are going to do it. Most of the time we are blinded by the power of our desires and are focused on consuming. What if we made the decision to drink a full glass of water before we started and then only declared to eat one portion of the meal? We need to start somewhere and I believe this would be a positive act to establish. I know it sounds crazy, but there is nothing wrong with leaving the table still hungry. We are definitely not used to it, but it is a fact that our mind does not automatically receive the message from the stomach that it is full. Many times especially if we are a fast eater, we are still swallowing down food before the stomach can contact the brain with the warnings to stop eating. This is how we become “overly” filled and unfortunately this stretching to capacity is what causes our stomach (and the rest of us) to grow larger and larger. This bad habit is the culprit that is responsible for expanding the stomach a little more each time and in turn it takes a little more to satisfy the next time we eat. Generally speaking, if this process is not changed we will discover a very unpleasant result of becoming not necessarily bolder but definitely bigger! Another idea would be to select a certain size bowl, and only eat what you can fit into that bowl. This limitation or “ration” would allow you to simply and visibly limit the quantity of your consumption. If this is done with diligence, there will come a time when our self-control can allow us to do away with the bowl and enjoy the sensible amount like a normal person.
So, how long will I need to pray about my problems? Ah, there it is. The flesh is always thinking ahead. Our old nature associates every “punishment” or restriction with a specific sentence of discipline – and is always looking for the day of release. I am glad you asked this question because it is a very important part of our spiritual strategy to defeat our carnal nature. We have spoken many times about how religion is not the same as Christianity and this is true in many ways. The Lord is not impressed or pleased with anything done in the name of religion because it is usually associated with the works of the flesh. True Christianity is a spiritual life that is dedicated to abiding in the personal relationship, obedience and loving intimacy of God’s presence. This lifestyle is commonly called “walking in The Spirit” and means that we obey as we are led and controlled by the Holy Spirit which is in perfect unity with God’s plan. This relationship involves the sincere, “constant” communication between our mind and spirit with God and when we are living in His perfect will, this Holy Communion is the highest form of joy in all eternity. This concept comes from the great design of our maker that rescued us from an eternal separation because of sin and restored our fellowship through the blood of Jesus Christ. Our New Covenant includes the truth of our identification with Him and the responsibility for us to live holy as representatives of His Kingdom. Now, allow me to say, that in order to fulfill this vision we must be aware of His presence at all times. Amen. When we step away from His presence for just a moment, the shadows of darkness begin to fall upon us. When we allow ourselves to be distracted for just an hour, we have already started to backslide into error. Yes, it is true that we cannot be perfect but the question wanted to know how long we will need to pray in order to keep our carnality under control and my answer is every second! One of the most important deeds that we can demonstrate is found in one of the shortest passages in God’s Word. “Pray without ceasing.” (I Thessalonians 5:17) What does this mean? How can we pray out loud everywhere we go and how can we concentrate on our work while we are trying to talk to God? This message from God is so compact that if we are not careful we will skip right over it, yet it has the unlimited power and potential to change the world a hundred times over. We will always return to awareness whenever we talk about His presence. Praying without ceasing is living in the quiet awareness that God is listening and God is speaking. Selah. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is STAYED on Thee; because he trust in Thee. Trust in the Lord forever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting STRENGTH.” (Isaiah 26: 3-4) Let us be reminded of the dangers of creating our own concept of the way God is, what He expects, and how we are to live. If our imaginations and interpretations of God’s divine reality are not TRUE, then we are worshipping, obeying and living for someone else! Selah. God is THE creator and He has designed the way things are! It is our honor and privilege to know Him and follow His instructions, and we can do things the hard way through our own strength, or the best way through His Spirit! Prayer is the best way to succeed in ANY situation whether we are interceding for others, facing adversity, or asking for help in trying to deal with our flesh! “Lord, crush my lust for fattening foods that are filled with grease, salt and sugars. Cause me to be nauseated about my attitude toward ALL sin that offends, hurts, and disappoints You. Come do Your work in me, in Jesus Name, amen.”