The Most Important Thing of All

Image Source: iStock Photo

Image Source: iStock Photo

Sometimes, with all the time, effort, and intensity that we put into Thin Within, it is hard to remember that the most important thing of all in our lives isn’t pursuing good health.

The most important thing of all isn’t eating within the parameters of physical hunger and satisfaction—even though, as we do this, we seek to surrender our hearts, lives, thinking, choices to God.

These are noble, important goals, but they are superseded by something that is The Most Important Thing of All.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,

but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

– Philippians 2:3-7 ESV

What was it that motivated Christ to act while on this earth? We see it many places in the Scriptures, but this sums it up:

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world,

so that we might live through him.

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

– 1 John 4:9-11 ESV

This has practical applications to our 0 to 5 eating. I want to share with you how by telling a story first. 🙂

I love getting up each morning and having my quiet time. This isn’t because I am godly (as that is quite debatable!). It is because I am desperate. The days I don’t start the day quiet with Him, I feel deflated and defeated. I am desperate for that time of being still, soaking in God’s presence. Since Monday of this week, I have been in the Chicago area with my 19 year old daughter, returning her to Wheaton College for the beginning of her sophomore year. Between jet lag, a busy schedule  with Michaela, and my inability to sleep away from home, I am tired!

Yesterday evening, I said goodbye to Michaela for the last time (I thought) as she starts class this morning (I am writing this Wednesday morning, but it is posting on Thursday). Last night, I planned today. My plane doesn’t leave until later in the afternoon, so first, I would sleep a bit later (assuming I could sleep). Then, I would relish a nice long leisurely time with the Lord. After making my plans last night, I got a text at 11pm from Michaela asking me to come back to see her at the school. I had a choice…to preserve my plans, including a longer time with the Lord? Or take the hour and a half to drive to the school, help my daughter with one last task before class starts, and then come back to the hotel for a shorter time?

I longed to just be still and know that God is God…to be refreshed in His presence. But I also knew that I couldn’t spend time in His presence without Him asking me “Have you loved well?” If I had chosen not to go back to help my daughter with one last task, I know  having my quiet time, no matter how valuable, would not have honored Him. In this situation, having my quiet time at that moment, would have dishonored Him as He has called me to love well. I knew in my heart of hearts that He wanted me to help her one more time. (Besides, I wanted one more hug or two!)

This serves as a reminder  to me that nothing is more important to God than love. I want to be sure that I  love others well — even above insisting on having a quiet time or eating 0 to 5 if there is a conflict.

Sometimes, I elevate having a quiet time or even eating 0 to 5 above The Most Important Thing of All—loving others. God wants to cure me of this legalism.

I don’t think God will often put us in the position of having to choose between loving others and obeying him with regard to our eating boundaries. It’s important to be aware that the human heart is deceitful and will rationalize and justify breaking our boundaries using “loving others” as an excuse. Please don’t let what I am saying here today be fuel for that lie.

The truth is, God wants us to delight in living within our boundaries. But every “rare once in a while,” a dear friend will work hard in her kitchen to bring warm brownies over when she comes for a scheduled visit. The fact that I just finished my lunch before she came and am not at a 0 yet, might need to be set aside for the greater, the Most Important Thing of All… loveI may need to have a small brownie to love my friend well–-even if I am at a 5 already.

I believe that in instances like these, asking the Lord to give His wisdom, we will experience a confidence as to what will be the right thing to do. We can know that, generally speaking, there is nothing godly or honorable about eating outside physical need, but the Most Important Thing of All is beyond that. When faced with a decision between loving well and adhering to my 0 to 5 eating boundary, I want to do both. If I can’t do both, I want to PRAY first with a surrendered heart. Am I WILLING not to eat at this moment if God were to make it clear that THIS was His will? If I can honestly answer that question “yes,” then I may be in the best position to know that right now, loving well means honoring God in some way outside of 0 and 5.

Again, these instances are extremely rare, thankfully. But we don’t want 0 and 5 to become our functional Messiah. It can’t save us. Only Jesus can. And he loves people. We want to learn greater dependence on the Lord, to ask Him for His leading. To respond to His direction.

The Most Important Thing of All is not 0 and 5.

It isn’t a thin body.

It isn’t mastery over food.

It isn’t consistently eating only when hungry.

The Most Important Thing of All is to love God and love others.

How About You?

Can you think of any situations when you had to choose between maintaining your 0 and 5 boundaries and loving others well? What did you do? Looking back at it now, is there something you could have/should have done differently? What will you do the next time this type of situation presents itself?

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4 Responses to The Most Important Thing of All

  1. Carrie August 29, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    Heidi – this is a wonderful entry. Thank you for reminding us that we are called to –
    “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.

    While we are spending time and effort renewing our minds so that we can live in God’s peace and freedom re: food, body, exercise, etc, our eyes should remain fixed on Jesus, not ourselves. I love when I realize that I haven’t thought about eating in a long time or when I can’t remember what I ate for dinner last night. I look forward to having more and more focus on Him and less and less on me, myself and I. I just spent this morning participating in a new volunteer service and I never once thought about food. And I have lots to add to my gratitude list.

    • Heidi Bylsma September 3, 2013 at 10:49 pm #

      That is wonderful, Carrie! Yes, I am with you…I love it when I haven’t thought about food in a long time! It sure seems to indicate that a wonderful victory is underway or already accomplished!

  2. Mi-ma September 1, 2013 at 9:39 am #

    Thank you Heidi! I know exactly what you mean. Situations when you need to choose between eating between 0-5 and be loving to others. I had my practical as an deacon, and did many homevisits to people who are old, sick, alone or have Other social problems. Sometimes they wanted me to sit down and talk and gave me coffea and cookies they had prepared. To be gentle, loving and share Christ with them, I sometimes felt that I need to taste a little to not be rude. I have thought a lot about this situations, but I actually asked God and felt peace about it.

    • Heidi Bylsma September 3, 2013 at 10:51 pm #

      Oh wow, Mi-Ma. I hadn’t thought of that. Being a deacon would be so challenging with so many people wanting to “love” with food, I am sure! So glad that God directed you, you were sensitive to His leading, and you have had peace about it. 🙂

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