…you need to be spiritually nourished. So ask God to open your heart to his presence and power as you pray and feed on His Word. Invite the Lord into your struggle, and surrender the deeper hungers of your heart to him. Ask God for the willingness to relinquish control and trust him with your needs while you obey as he directs. (Emphasis added – Smith and Halliday, HEAL, page 64)
This little statement is packed with a lot of truth!
Many of us have experienced a *life*-long struggle with eating and our weight. It is so very easy to fixate on the food and our bodies. We have become accustomed to doing this–to fixating on food and our bodies as we have over the years (though it sure hasn’t served us well, has it?).
The authors encourage us to invite the Lord to do a work within us…this is where the root of our struggle is, after all. As we release our deep hunger and our insistence that we have something NOW to fill the hole, we begin to experience what God intends…a true, more deep, solution and satisfaction for what truly ails us. Making it a daily prayer (if not more often) that we will give HIM the control in our life is so helpful in keeping a godly perspective. I love that the authors point out this two-faceted process…we trust HIM with our needs, to do *HIS* part, while we also put one foot in front of the other in obeying what He tells us to do–doing OUR part in the strength he provides.
I have hesitated posting this post to the blog. I wrote it a few days ago…If you struggle with embracing the idea of how we eat being at all related to “obeying God,” I want to encourage you to either not read the rest of this post and to spend time asking the Lord to reveal HIS truth about this, or to prayerfully continue to read. What GOD says to you is the most important. NO human should put a yoke of slavery on you.
So, while Romans 8:1 and other verses of scripture clearly teach us that there is NO condemnation in Christ…while we can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that GOD’s response to our sin is not “disapproval” or anger, it is hard for us to embrace this when all our lives we may have equated “disobedience” with incurring someone’s wrath, disappointment or disapproval. I urge you to realize…we are talking about God. He doesn’t need my obedience. He doesn’t need me! He chooses me. And he did this, Romans 5:8 says, while I was yet a sinner! Ephesians 1 says he chose me before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight–in love he predestined me! He has chosen me before I ever did anything godly or good! So I surely can’t lose that “approval” and “love” with any actions of mine. My actions didn’t “win” Him and my actions won’t “lose” Him!
So as we go on, please know that the last thing I want is for the enemy to use my words to heap condemnation on anyone. The Lord doesn’t do that!
But the truth is, in this society where we have food on demand, TV on demand and everything else with all kinds of options for what we “demand,” it is counter-intuitive to “Just Say No” to something that we want–even when it isn’t what God wants us to do. He wants what is truly best for us. He looks at the big picture. We tend to look at what will bring immediate gratification.
Romans 12:2 says that we need to refuse to be conformed to the world and, instead, be transformed by the renewing of our minds. It is no surprise that this is comes on the heels of verse 1 that urges us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to the Lord. I must be willing to give myself to God and say no to self. In our fast-food, micro-wave, have-what-you-want culture, this is like swimming against the current!
So, let me be direct with you (and as I am, I am asking myself the same questions…):
- Do you have one particular struggle that you face as a matter of routine?
The Lord LONGS to show compassion on us!
he rises to show you compassion.
For the LORD is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!
– Isaiah 30:18
- Is there a food, restaurant, behavior relative to food and eating that you know the Lord is calling you to lay down, but you consistently turn away from the Lord to say yes to what you want to do?
Again, I don’t ask this of us to bring condemnation, but to urge each of us to admit that we need the Lord. We need him now. His saving power can be experienced by each of us in the daily-ness of everything that seems so mundane, including our eating! But we must turn to him and in humility let him know we need him.
- Maybe he is just calling for even a baby step of faith, but even that, you refuse him in one particular area…what is it?
I know that my sweet tooth really seems to be an idol in my life. I seem to bow before it constantly. The Lord longs to be my master. His heart aches. He is not burning with anger toward me over this. His wrath about sin was satisfied in Jesus! I stand before him as approved of and loved in the beloved, but that doesn’t mean his heart doesn’t ache for me to love only him!
Again, I ask not so that we might condemn ourselves. The Lord doesn’t condemn us either (see Romans 8:1).
But he does call us to rise above the attitude of “I want what I want when I want it.” He calls us to die to self. Jesus laid down his life and he calls us to lay down the practice of…always having ____________ on the way to work (insert StarBucks or Peets Coffee beverage of choice or anything else for that matter!)…or always having the buttered popcorn at the movies…or consistently throwing up after eating…or having to end a meal with something sweet…or…anything that we think we *can’t* say “no” to…is it possible we are not at a “can’t” place, but more at a “won’t” place?
I realize again that this leg of my journey is definitely about changing my “won’ts” to “wills.” With an act of MY will, I can *will* to do that to which he calls. I can say NO to self if saying yes to self is outside of godly parameters. I can *obey* him.
For me, God has done so much healing in my life that what might have formerly been “I can’ts” have definitely shifted…now I know that, in Him and because he has healed me, I can. I must rise up and walk.
Lord, you know my heart. Please help me to have a heart turned Godward…to say no to self when saying yes is outside of your will. In fact, Lord, I desire to want what YOU want, so I can have the joy of “indulging myself” and simultaneously pleasing YOU…because I want what you want! What a joy that would be to be able to say yes to self because self wants what Lord Almighty wants! But, Lord, I really want to choose YOU during those moments when I have other ideas…I want to do this joyfully.