Let’s talk food again today. It’s one of our favorite subjects in modern-day America. It’s everywhere. Food is highly accessible for us and abundantly available. Yet we still have homeless and hungry people in America. Weird, huh? What’s that about?
It’s not about food, it’s about the heart.
I can’t comment on America – but I can comment on South Africa. Did you know that South Africa is listed as one of the fattest third world countries? Think about that for just a minute. Poor, impoverished people – who have very little money, clothing or housing – are considered to be one of the fattest nations in the world. Now that is scary. Firstly, I think it is because fast food, unhealthy food, and breads are cheap. They are easily affordable by most people. But, also, I think our (I say our, because this so refers to me as well) priorities are skewed. It is seen as a status symbol to buy KFC or McDonald’s. And its convenient. South Africa doesn’t really have healthy fast food alternatives…
So far you have been asked to keep track of your food. I haven’t told you to count calories or do long math in order to figure out how many calories you should or should not consume. I simply asked for you to become aware of what you are eating. Did you stop consuming some silly things because you knew you would have to account for it? That was my hope. Partnering our mind, that is now immersed in God’s word, with the sobriety of having to be thoughtful for what we are taking in should be curbing some appetites. That’s the hope. That’s the beginning of your free life. Can you feel it?
I have been keeping track – diligently. And nothing jumps out at me – I’m too “on top” of everything to be surprised by anything. But, what I do know is this – I am not free yet. God came that we may be free, and living to eat whenever and wherever I can isn’t freedom. It’s being in bondage. And Jesus came to set us free – He didn’t die so that we could stay in bondage to eating, being fat and lazy, and anything other negative vice in this world – drugs, alcohol, food, or anything…
I want you to look back at some of the foods you have consumed over the past few weeks. I want you to look for an idol. Some of you might be thinking, “What do you mean, Alisa? It’s just food, not statues.”
An idol is anything we ascribe highest value to in our life. An idol is the thing we LOVE and spend ourselves on. It’s the thing we think we must have in order to have comfort, peace, and joy. Idols keep us from loving, serving, and trusting God. As we serve them we become enslaved to them. They offer temporary freedom and release from our pain only to turn around and kick us in our backsides. This brings more pain into our lives which keep us going back to serve the idols for temporary relief of the pain. Round and round we go.
An idol is our substitute God.
Idols are always found keeping very close company with our anxieties, fears, and hurts. Those are things from which Jesus came to set us free. We must find our idols and then with the help of the Holy Spirit, keep ourselves from them.
“Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.” 1 John 5:21
What if we took an aggressive stand for holiness? Holiness that keeps us free and doesn’t compromise our freedom we have in Christ.
What is my idol? Eating. Whenever I feel anxious or afraid or even just slightly out-of-sorts, I eat. It brings my sugar up and I feel better and so whenever I think I may be feeling any of those feelings, I eat. And I feel better. But what am I not doing? I’m not relying on God to get me through those feelings. Trust. Instead of eating, I need to go to God and ask Him to renew my mind, and to create within me a new heart.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but I will not be mastered by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12
Allow me to give you some quick examples of idols that cunningly hide themselves in our daily bread and keep us running on false fuels:
- enriched flour, pastas and breads
- food found in boxes or machines and/or that can be passed through a window and consumed by you with little to no effort
- Look at your food logs and find out WHAT is still mastering you in your food. There may be a few things that stick out. So go to Him and ask, “Which idol do you want, God?” You will know in a few seconds. Because it will be the thing that you begin to justify, listing reasons why you should keep it. You are going to put that idol in the fire and let it burn. Until the end of our 31 days you will melt this idol in the furnace that is your new metabolism with God. Not because you are some sort of superhero in the Spirit who is going to show Jesus how strong you are, but because He is giving you the grace to give it up. I can promise you that He has something greater he wants to give you in return.
9 But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
TIME: 10-20 minutes for introspection and application.
PRAY: Jesus, you told us in Isaiah 61 that you came to set the captives free. I am captive. I confess I have enslaved myself with the choices I have made that you never told me to make. How easily I forget you, God. I readily choose quick fixes instead of turning to you and having my heart healed (Isaiah 6:10). I am placing before you my need to eat all the time – whenever an uncomfortable emotion comes my way, I don’t even question if the emotion or thought is valid, I just eat. I lay it at your feet and ask for the daily grace to go without until you give me further notice. – Amen