Sunday, October 5, 2014

Like A Fridge: Overeating

There is a propensity for Christian people to be overweight. Look around churches and it seems that both men and women have just given up! Some say to change, "it must be for oneself". I say "true change is for someone you love better". For instance I never quit smoking for "Me" because "I" enjoyed smoking! However, with my young son placing blame on me for his bad habits, I was able to quit immediately by "changing for a person that I love"! That person was my son. I wish that I could say that I did it for God, but I didn't. However, God did something for me! God made change easy!

Why did God help me? The focus came off the "I" and onto another. It's sort of like the Golden Rule. God knows that we all love ourselves, but he's not so impressed with how much we care for others! People don't change because having to change IS a sacrifice. Guess what? We are the ultimate sacrifice:
Romans 12:1 ""I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
No! We're not to change for ourselves. In fact we are to sacrifice ourselves to God. (And part of loving God is loving others!). Not only does God ask us to sacrifice ourselves, he tells us that the request is reasonable. Furthermore, we are never alone in making changes:
 Philippians 4:6 "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Why do people fail? People do it alone! We are to" let our requests be known to God".  It's done by prayer (asking and praising an all-powerful God), by supplication (asking in humility and faith) and with thanksgiving (thanking God because he's about to help). God already knows what you need, but your part is to acknowledge to God that you know too!

Therefore, as Christians, we are to sacrifice ourselves. The Old Testament sacrifices were to be the prime cut:
Leviticus 4:26 "And he shall burn all his fat upon the altar, as the fat of the sacrifice of peace offerings..."
Whereas the priests burned the fat of animals in thanksgiving to the Lord, we're now the "living sacrifice"! The burning of the fat was a free-will offering thanking God for what he has done and will do! It's an offering of faith because God has shown to his people that he is faithful! By making a "peace-offering" to God by burning the fat of the offering, we are showing love for God!

Let's move back to now! We no longer sacrifice animals. Thanks to Jesus making that sacrifice one time for all, animals are spared. No more physical killing is necessary. However, we are to kill the old nature. The nature where we worship "Self". What better way for a Christian to demonstrate peace with God than to be a living sacrifice! For some that means we change what we hold dear. It's not a true sacrifice to sacrifice what's easy. We must sacrifice what's hard for us to give up!

Now let's get back to weight. Most of us overeat. It's a very negative word, probably not in Joel Osteen's lexicon, but many of us are gluttons. (I recognize that others may have the opposite eating disorder, but for now it's "gluttony"). Gluttony does not specifically mean "obese". It mans that people overeat. I'm not overweight, but at times I overeat. I'm a glutton at times. For me when I overeat I burn it off because God keeps me healthy enough to do that. Others may not be able to for various reasons and therefore gain weight.

There are those who can be gluttons and never gain a pound. I remember that time, but age caught up with me. My body no longer has the metabolic activity to burn calories so I have to work harder to even keep from gaining. However, that is my reasonable sacrifice. Now for the part that "hurts", but my intention is to help! We are to reprove those who do wrong. We are to correct those who curse, lust and fail to love others. Likewise, we are to tell others about less offensive sins:
Philippians 3:18 "(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)"
I'm not sure that our God is our belly! That's a colloquial expression. However, it's our taste buds which desire pleasure. People don't eat to stuff themselves. They stuff themselves because they are overindulgent. They are sacrificing themselves to themselves! People who have a lifestyle of wanton overeating are sacrificing themselves, not to God, but to Molech!  If you recall what was loved most (children) were sacrificed to that idol. Overeaters are bringing the fat of their living sacrifice and giving it to the wrong god!

Before one can feel sorrow and repent they must be convinced that what  they do is wrong: Her goes:
Galatians 5:16 "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh."
We think of sexual lust when we read this verse, but it's a general lust. It applies to food if we crave it! It is a sin to crave food if the craving leads to overeating and obesity. The craving is the devil tempting; the overeating is the sin!
1 Corinthians 6:20 "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
When we walk into a room and see obesity, it's unlike sins of the heart, because it cannot be hidden. It's there for all to see. We can eat in secret, but it's no secret that we overeat. It's as Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell-tale Heart; our own sin announces itself to all! People can't hear our "heart" as they did in Poe's tale, but they can "see" what we think is hidden!

When we walk into God's house and see obesity, there is even more trouble there! As Christians we are to present ourselves as a reasonable sacrifice. That's not happening! The temple which should be filled with God's Holy Spirit has a "squatter" crowding out the joy the person should have. Knowing that we overeat does steal our joy and with a "reasonable sacrifice" joy can be had! It's not reasonable to acquire a perfect body, but to present to God a healthy body. That fat on you can be presented to God as a reasonable living sacrifice! Let's look again at what the Old Testament sacrifice was:
Leviticus 3:3 "And he shall offer of the sacrifice of the peace offering an offering made by fire unto the Lord; the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards..."
Yes, the fat inside the belly and the fat upon the belly was sacrificed. That was a "reasonable sacrifice" for the priest to make for the sins of the people with their killed sacrifice, and it's reasonable for you "the living sacrifice"!

Now an apology! It hurts when we are corrected whatever our sin may be! My own friend called me out on a grievous sin and I was angry. However, weighing what he said, I knew that I had just been reproved of my sin. I was guilty as charged! It took someone who really loved me to correct me. I appreciate that. It's called "tough-love" by psychologists and is really taking a chance. Most people reject correction because of pride and emotion. The Christian must weigh the judgment and if it's not condemning, but helpful, then change one must!

Scripture says "therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's". You are not your own! Don't practice self-control in eating to please the "Self". Do it to please God! Few change for the Self, since the Self is selfish, but they will change for someone they love. Show God that you love him. Present to him a "living sacrifice" and let others see the change because temperate eating is a sacrifice for those who overeat!

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