Confession time. I have struggled with an issue for years. This issue, I have ignored spiritually for some time, however, lately (and when I say lately I mean the last 10 years or so) the Holy Spirit has been really dealing with me. Apparently, it’s time to surrender this one (yes, at times I am a slow learner).
I have struggled with the issue of food. Before you roll your eyes, please hear me out. My grandfather, who was very instrumental in raising me, was an amazing man who absolutely loved food. He loved to cook and he loved to eat. From him I learned the art of fine dining, a love for cooking shows, and yes, an affair of the heart with delicious food. I learned that food was entertainment and joy instead of a fuel to keep us going. I’m guessing this is probably not an unfamiliar story to many.
I surmise that I also learned a sense of comfort associated with food because of the sense of comfort I found in my grandpa. I associated food with my grandpa. He loved me, he loved food, I loved food, and food loved me. Comfort and security.
But my love for food turned into something very ugly throughout my journey in my teens and twenties. Anorexia and bulimia became a very familiar demon to me. And even now, years after I have overcome those two dreaded diseases, I still struggle with food. A lot.
I can’t describe my struggle in a short blog, but I can tell you, it’s become a struggle of obedience to God. I do well with my eating and then, I talk myself into a delicacy and without even realizing it (or caring – that word might be more accurate) I’m eating like a teenage boy for the next few weeks.
I don’t look like I have a problem with food and I love to exercise (I know. Please don’t hate me for that.) but I do have a problem with food. And at times, because I don't look like I have a problem with food people tell me not to worry about it. Why shouldn't I be able to eat whatever I want? Oh, the justifications. And so, what I’ve learned lately, is that my biggest problem isn’t with food but with surrendering and obedience to God. That’s a hard realization.
Over the last 10 years I have convinced myself that I’ve been obedient because I have been obedient in so many areas of my life. It’s just this one area and it’s just food, right? And when I fail, I feel a tremendous amount of guilt, shame, and insecurity. And then the enemy begins to do a work in my mind, “God is not going to bless you if you continue to disobey Him. He is going to hold back your ministry, hold back your family, and hold back His love.”
But as I was spending some time with the Lord the other day, He showed me something that seemed revelatory to me. He showed me that what I am missing out on is not His love, or His using me in ministry, or even blessings of my family; what I am missing out on is knowing Him on a deeper level. He still loves me, He can still use me to further His Kingdom, He still blesses my family, but when I choose to be disobedient I miss out on more intimacy with Him. I am saying, “God, I love and honor food more than I love and honor You.” That can suck dry the intimacy in a relationship. Ouch. That is a harsh reality.
Now, I’m not talking about willful and premeditated sin. I’m not saying that we can be in willful and premeditated sin and we will be blessed abundantly. No, God is pretty clear that the wages of sin is death. But, let’s be honest, we all go through our moments in which we hear what God is calling us to do and we say, “No, not right now.” That disobedience creates a wall so big that the more we are disobedient the harder it becomes to knock down.
So, this is a journey that I’m on that I can’t do alone. This journey has to be done with the power and the grace of the Holy Spirit. Oh, and a really good friend to hold me accountable.
So, today, and everyday, I will surrender the temple that God chooses to dwell in. Shouldn’t that temple be as beautiful and well cared for as the temple that was built by the Israelites years before? God no longer chooses to dwell in a building built for His presence but He chooses to dwell in us! In me!
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
I am not my own. Praise God for that! I will honor Him and His dwelling place.