I've been revamping some older stuff...
The Wooly Mammoth Within
Do whiny kids, empty checking accounts, and chilly days make anyone else want to eat like there's no tomorrow, or is it just me? I never used to consider it a sin, more of a quirk, until I was reading about gluttony in my Bible during my devotional time one morning. The sin of gluttony relates to our level of self-control, which is a fruit of the Spirit. To be high on the gluttony chart is to be low on the self-control chart, which means that there is a disconnect between our actions and our beliefs. Anway, I think I've discovered I'm a glutton…a selective, emotionally-challenged glutton. Selective because it needs to be something sweet and salty, or crunchy, or maybe just sweet, but definitely not fruit or vegetable based. Unless it's a Frito, which technically is derived from corn somehow. Emotionally challenged because I find I can eat like a normal person when life is going well, but as soon as the boat starts rocking, I am trolling the cupboards for something to satisfy me. The way I eat then, you'd think I was getting ready to go into hibernation. My self-control goes right out the window.
I never would have considered stress-induced eating a sin in the past, more of a bad habit. But, when I look at the emotions that go along with wanting to eat with reckless abandon…frustration, impatience, boredom…I realize that I am substituting the activity of eating for something that will actually satisfy my soul instead of just my taste buds. The desire to crunch and munch my way to serenity is no different than an addiction to sex, drugs, or alcohol, just more socially acceptable. Using food to fill the empty spot in my soul only brings short term satisfaction. It signifies a deeper need that, as long as the bag of crunchy stuff is planted firmly in front of me, I don't need to deal with. So what’s a Jesus lovin’ girl to do?
Pray. Talk to God about the things that are making you nuts. Personally, I find that when I am stressed out, with my husband in particular, I tend to hang out in the kitchen. I’ll search the cupboards for Hershey’s kisses left behind from an Easter basket or Christmas stocking under the guise of cleaning and organizing. (My husband will be disappointed to learn that I don’t spend all that time in the kitchen actually cleaning…)
Bring those things to the Lord, the words that cause you to retreat to your safe havens of the Twinkie box, the tension that brings with it a taste for Doritos, the sadness that cries out for just one Milky Way. Bring all those emotions to Him, and ask Him to surround you with His peace. Philippians 4:6-7 remind us to bring all of our anxieties to Him, and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart. There is nothing that you can consume that will fill you with the peace of God.
We can pray,asking for that power that is ours to utilize, through Christ's sacrifice. Since sin is anything that separates us from God, He has given us an amazing resource to deal with it. Kratos is a Greek word translated as mighty, power, and strength in the Bible. It refers to the power to overcome the sin in our life and live in victory. In Ephesians 1, Paul is praying for us as believers, that we would know, KNOW, what is the surpassing greatness and mighty power that is available to us through Jesus Christ. It is not about the strength of our willpower to walk away from the cookies, it is about relying and tapping into the strength, the Kratos, that the Almighty makes available to us as His children.
While there is definitely something to be said for making no provision for the flesh, and not having the munchy snacky stuff in the house in the first place, it is also about learning who God is and what it means to have His transforming grace alive and at work within us. God knew that his would be a hard life for us, and that we would face many temptations as we navigated through the trials.
Trying to deal with these things without the Kratos of Christ, the strength and power that are available to us as believers, is like leaving a state of the art food processor in the back of a dusty cupboard, and cutting all the vegetables with a dull butter knife. Or, cutting the grass with a scissors instead of the Binford 2000 lawnmower in the garage. It would be silly. I will be turning to God and His strength and praying for victory. Even if it is victory over the cupboards.
I will be praying that I remember who I am in Christ. He has given me this body as a temple for His Holy Spirit, not to use as I wish, but to glorify Him. "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body," (1 Cor. 6:19-20). I know that when the Almighty knit me together in my mother's womb, He did not have a wooly mammoth in mind. When the emptiness strikes, I will remember that I am created in His image, and it is not glorifying to Him whe I drown my frustrations in a bag of Chex Mix. In my mind’s eye, I try to picture Jesus standing right next to me as I am reaching for that bag of chips. The Bible tells me that He is always with me. If I could physically see Him with my eyes, I would fall into His arms and ask Him to hold me. Even though we don’t see Him as a physical body next to us doesn’t mean He isn’t there. He has left us a comforter for the times that threaten to take us under, and He is as close as my next breath.
If food isn’t your thing, maybe television is. You can watch anything from kids cartoons to info-mercials to home decorating shows, all in the effort to not deal with what is hurting you. The remote control in your hand is a comfort, like a Little Debbie snack cake is to me. Or maybe it’s reading…you can lose yourself in a book for hours on end in an effort to escape your life for a while. Not that reading, watching a little television, or having a Hostess Fruit Pie is a sin. It is when we use these things to insulate us from our lives, or to fill up an empty place that it moves from a recreational enjoyment to something that becomes an escape mechanism.
The first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength. We are to have no other Gods before Him. (Deuteronomy 6, Exodus 20). If we are leaning on an activity or substance instead of Him, we have put another God before Him.
Thoughts To Consider
• When I am frustrated, sad, or angry, what do I turn to? How do I seek to fill the empty places?
• What is one thing I can do today to move away from the unhealthy habits?
• What is one thing I can do today to put Jesus first in my life?
• And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
• Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8
• Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. Romans 13:14