Spiritual Battleground

Spiritual Battleground

I’ve been reluctant to post this blog for several reasons. First, it will not be complete. No matter how long it is or how much I say, it will not be the end of the journey where the proof is in the pudding. Second, there are so many opinions about weight loss and healthy living I’m afraid this will just get lost in the cacophony of ideas. I’m also reluctant because I have not arrived. I am in no way setting myself up as an example to follow because I am still learning to practice what I know is truth when it comes to health and diet.

In the previous blog post, we talked about our bodies being a gift from God, which He formed and knitted together while we were still in the womb. Our response to God’s gift should be one of gratitude and awe. Unfortunately, our response is usually one of criticism and disdain for our bodies. If I can learn to see my body in light of the gift and purpose God has given me, I can change my attitude toward the “imperfections” I see when I look in the mirror.

Although my body is a gift from God, once I become His child, my body no longer belongs to me. Romans 12:1 tells me that I am to present my body as a living sacrifice. First Corinthians 6:19-20 tells me that my body is not mine because it is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and, as a result, I am to glorify God with my body.

When I think about the sacrifices offered to God in the Old Testament, I am reminded that the Israelites were commanded to offer their best. They were to choose a lamb without spot or blemish. It couldn’t be lame. It had to be perfect. The final sacrifice was Jesus Christ. A perfect, spotless, sinless lamb Who took on the sin of the world so I might become a child of God. If these are my examples of sacrifices that are acceptable to God, then I must conclude that offering my body as a living sacrifice cannot be an afterthought. I can’t offer God the leftovers of my body. I must take care of my body in order to make it an acceptable sacrifice.

But if my body isn’t perfect, can I still offer it as a living sacrifice to God? The fact is that God is more concerned about the condition of my heart than the condition of my body. In 1 Samuel 16:7, God tells Samuel to not look on the outward appearance when choosing the next king of Israel because “the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” When I read these words, a breathe a sigh of relief. My body doesn’t have to be perfect.

What I have come to understand is that taking care of my body is actually a heart issue. Food is an addiction like no other. We can be addicted to eating it, and we can be addicted to avoiding it. Either way, unlike an addiction to drugs, alcohol, caffeine, etc., we can’t live without it. We must eat. Food can become a stronghold in my life if I don’t surrender it to God. When Satan tempted Eve, he did it with food, and she gave in to the temptation. When Satan tempted Christ in the wilderness, he also used food as his first temptation and moved on to other things when Christ didn’t surrender to the food. I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve been tempted with food and gave in so Satan didn’t have to move on to the next temptation. I have made it so easy for him!

Galatians 5:16 says, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Eating chocolate is definitely a desire of the flesh for me. The same book, same chapter, goes on to list the fruit of the Spirit in verses 22-23. One of those fruits is self-control. This fruit carries the idea of discipline and perseverance. We are disciplined about things we view as important, but being disciplined about something doesn’t mean it takes over your life or becomes an idol in your life. I am disciplined about brushing my teeth every morning and every night, but it doesn’t control my life. Although diet and exercise can easily become idols in my life, if I’m continually surrendering them to God and presenting my body as a living sacrifice, I believe my efforts will be rewarded with a closer walk with Him.

In Lysa TerKuerst’s book Made to Crave, she talks about tying your happy to Jesus. Your happy can’t be tied to the number on the scale or the size of your jeans. If your happy is tied to Jesus, then it won’t be moved by your circumstances because Jesus never changes.

For a more thorough discussion on this topic, I recommend you read Made to Crave.

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