From Deprivation to Empowerment
The whole idea behind me doing these Bible studies on the blog is to introduce you to some great Bible studies that I've done and learned from. Copyright infringement laws prohibit me from rewriting the book here. So, what you'll see in my posts are my reactions, thoughts, and what I learned from that week's study.
If you're doing this study with us, I trust that you have the book and the participant guide. You do not need to have the DVDs, but if you wish to purchase them or download them from Lifeway.com, you will get a little more out of the study. The participant's guide will lead you through questions and tell you when to read which chapters from the book.
Let me start this one by saying that you do not need to be overweight to get a lot out of this study. If you have ever used food as comfort in anyway, or as a tool, or really as any kind of a substitute, this study is for you. We will not be following a diet...if you decide to develop a healthy eating plan for yourself, that's up to you. We will simply be studying what the Bible has to say about food and how we should turn to God, not food.
The very first page burst my bubble...but in a good way. 1 Peter 2:11 says "Dear friends, I urge you to abstain from sinful desires which wage war against your souls." You see we were made to enjoy food, but not indulge in it....there's the key. There are all kinds of Bible passages about overindulgence and gluttony. Just like with wine....it is not forbidden, but we are told over and over not to be drunk. Same with food, we may enjoy it, but we are not supposed to pig out. That's right; put down the second brownie and well, seconds on anything really. A small part of me wanted to give up right here, but most of me knew I was made for more so I kept going.
On page 2 of the participant's guide, Lysa make some really great points that hit home with me.
- "Food isn't bad, but it's a problem when it sabotages you mentally, physically or spiritually."
- "I had to be really honest. The thing I thought about, ran to, took comfort in, found refuge in, turned to, and depended on, was food way more than it was Jesus."
- "If we can look at healthy options and make the healthy choices - and not feel deprived but instead feel empowered - everything will change. It will change us mentally, physically and spiritually."
The only thing I have to add here is to tread lightly. If we become completely obsessed with healthy eating, lifestyle, choices, etc - and the key word is obsessed - then we are still turning to something other than Jesus, it is just slightly better for our bodies.
Matthew 19:16-26 tells the story of the rich young man who was unwilling to deny himself. Read that sentence again....unwilling to deny himself. Isn't that what I do when I'm at a potluck and see all the brownies and other yummy baked goods? I don't have just one thing, I feel I need to try everything that looks good, because I am unwilling to deny myself. Yikes! I have to remember that unrestrained pleasure in food is sin. I have to realize that I allow my cravings to be powerful. Remember we consume what we think about....I need to think about Jesus more.
Which leads to a great tip from the book: use your craving as a prompt for prayer. Maybe it sounds silly to you, but just try it, especially if your cravings are constantly taking you down. It does help!
Now the suggestion is to develop a healthy eating plan for yourself. I'm not saying diet and I'm not saying go overboard and set yourself up for failure. Maybe you need to think in terms of baby steps. Maybe right now your healthy eating plan is simply portion control. Only 1 small brownie, only 2 pieces of bacon, only 1-2 small snacks a day. Maybe you never eat vegetables and your plan right now is to simply add one serving a day...same for fruit. But YOU decide what is for you, then use your cravings to seek God daily for helping in sticking to whatever plan you come up with.