One of my sons once told me, “You can’t say the word ‘diet’ without saying ‘die.’” Needless to say, he is not a fan of dieting. The truth is that few people are, although most people have dieted at one point or another. Why is dieting so difficult? It is all about denying yourself and adhering to a set of rules that are very difficult to keep. There is also as much controversy on any specific diet as there is approval.
People are understandably confused about what the real way to lose weight is. Studies have shown that less than twenty percent of people who start a diet are still on it after one week. That is a really bad record. Diets are typically demoralizing because either you plateau and have to deny yourself even more, or you quit and gain back more than you lost. Yes, there are those people, few and far between, who can maintain a very strict keto diet for years and years, but those people are definitely not the norm, and those people have undoubtedly sacrificed a lot of fellowship in order to stay on their diet. Could it be that the problem of misusing food is not merely a physical problem but a spiritual one? Could it be that real success in a lifestyle that embraces clean eating can come from bringing Jesus into the way we eat?
The way we eat may be the final frontier in a life submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. After all, the whole Bible is full of similes, metaphors, and true stories that involve food. For example, Jesus calls Himself “The Bread of Life.” The Israelites’ Promised Land is described as “a land flowing with milk and honey.” Two of Jesus’ miracles involved the multiplication of food. Sin entered the world when Eve saw that the fruit looked delicious to eat.
And the most incredible food analogy is when Jesus said, “This bread is my body given up for you.” The list goes on and on, but it is clear that food is very, very important to God.
As our creator, God knows how hard it is for us to bring our eating habits under His Lordship. We tell ourselves that overeating doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings, that we are simply built heavy, that nobody can see us or cares if we go down to the kitchen before bedtime and have one more whatever. The same is true of people who starve themselves or purge after eating. The things that we do in private and have done all of our lives have a way of convincing us that they are a true part of who we are. That is a lie. The Bible exhorts us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. We have been thinking about food health in the wrong way. We have tried to eat healthy for the wrong reasons. We should eat right because it is honoring to the One who lovingly knit us together in our mother’s womb! He is also the one who can transform the way we think about food as we put it under His care.
The Holy Spirit who changes the way you speak, act, and think about others can also transform your attitudes toward food. Consider the following transforming thoughts regarding food:
~God can retrain your taste buds. You can learn to eat healthy foods you don’t currently like!
~God has created built-in signs that tell you when you should stop eating. For one, you feel full!
~God will always give you another wonderful thing that you can do instead of eating what or when you should not.
~God is not out to deny you but to give you freedom.
Remember that God is not all about rules, but principles. The way you eat should be the same. Diets are all about rules, but putting eating under the Lordship of Jesus Christ is all about the principles of love, joy, and the freedom that comes through the Spiritual fruit (another Biblical food analogy) of self control.
So, the next time you hear the word “diet” just skip it. Instead, ask the Lord Jesus to help you, step by step, to be transformed in the way you think about food through the power of His Holy Spirit. You may not drop fifteen pounds in the first two weeks, but your process will be deep and lasting. Invite Jesus to come and dine with you.