Monday, January 2, 2012

The Annual Resolution Cycle

For the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty... Proverbs 23:21 (NASB)

Here it is, another new year and if you are like so many millions of people you have made a resolution to stop or start something.  We tend to like to initiate new behavior patterns at the beginning of the year because it is such a definite point in time.

One of the things people resolve for the new year is with respect to health and fitness. So many people are determined to lose weight, exercise, and be healthier starting on January 1. They buy fitness plans, diet pills, gym memberships, and weight loss shakes all with the intention of making it stick "this time."  It is sad to see that for the majority of those who begin with such strong resolve, relatively few make it past the end of the month before returning to their old habits.

Food is not like alcohol or recreational drugs, we cannot live without it! Food is a part of our culture and is used for more than just nutrition in our lives. The eating of food is involved in celebrating and mourning, to alleviate boredom, to avoid doing something we don't want to do, and for medicating emotions. It is often used as one would use a drug, in hopes that it will make problems go away. In the case of the habitual over-eater or binge eater, food has lost its original purpose which is to nourish the body, and it has become an object of worship.  This is evident by the lengths they go to to obtain it, and the habits that have developed around eating it.

I have counseled women who are frighteningly overweight, yet their thoughts are consumed by food.  They go through several drive-thru's a day seeking to fulfill their heart's desires. Some eat in the car between stops, and others hide out to eat it all in privacy fearing the judgment of their family or co-workers.

Many people have described their relationship with food as a form of bondage. What they began controlling is now controlling them. Food has become their master, and they are its slave. These women describe it as a love-hate relationship; their food intake is causing all manner of havoc on their body and they hate that. Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and all the other aches and pains that come with being overweight are a part of their lives but that does not deter their eating habits because they love the pleasure and comfort they get from food.

Everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. John 8:34

I am familiar with the worldly belief of addiction to food. Psychology labels people who overeat or binge-eat as food addicts. However, overeating is called gluttony in the Bible. Gluttony is such an ugly word and conjures up all sorts of unpleasant pictures in the mind, doesn't it? Nevertheless, it is the word God uses to describe what we do when we make food the object of worship in our lives.  Gluttony or overeating is not a diet problem, it is a sin problem. It is a life-dominating sin and it primarily a matter of the heart.

The heart issues that are dominant are those of rebellion and pride. It is rebellion because a person who habitually overeats knows what they are doing, and they are aware they are taking in much more food than their body needs. They understand they are harming their body but because it is so accepted in our culture it is not treated seriously as sin should be.  It is so easy to justify because so many people are now overweight and if there is one thing we do it is to rationalize and justify our sins.

Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. 1 Sam. 15:23 (NASB)

Rebellion is serious business. Rebellion by a Christian is so dangerous it is rebellion against the Word of God...rebellion against the truth. The only biblical response to rebellion is repentance.  However, it is pride that usually prevents people from admitting what they know is true before God so there are no steps taken toward change.

I hate to leave you here today, because this point in the post is so...hopeless! I want to encourage you to return to read the next posting on this topic, it gets better (promise)!

Before I leave you today I want you to know that this topic is one I am familiar with personally. I am not casting stones at anyone, for I live in the same glass house you do. My sin issues might not involve overeating right now, but I am certainly not without sin.

I look forward to sharing the hope with you next time we get together here.

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