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Some people struggle with anger, some with pornography, and others with people-pleasing. I struggle with an addiction to food and with gluttony.

I look for food to provide something that it was never intended to provide. My addiction got so bad in the past that I would binge on food inside of a locked bathroom stall. I was so ashamed of my eating habits, that I would eat in isolation, not wanting anyone to know about how much I idolized food.

Food is necessary to provide nutrition and nourishment. Meals provide us with an opportunity to enjoy time with friends and family. Jesus was all about eating together and even became an eternal feast Himself.

Yes, food is a good gift to us from the Great God of love (PTL for steaks, chocolate and key lime pie!)

Yet I struggle with living to eat, rather than eating to live.

Sometimes food became the god I worshiped and the god that sustained me (note the obvious small “g”).

And when I look around church on Sunday morning, I don’t think I’m alone in this battle.

Have you noticed how we don’t like to talk to others about our food consumption? (well, unless we are showing off our latest south beach diet). Much like the ways we view money, sex and parenting, we often think of food and our eating habits as something that is my business, and my business only. Meanwhile, largely due to our isolation, most of us have a messed-up view of food, exercise, wellness and the body.

On May 24th, I had the chance to share in much greater detail at Watermark all about my struggle with food and what the Bible says about gluttony and our bodies. If you eat and if you have a body, I’d suggest you watch the message. 

You can watch the whole sermon on the Watermark media page (~50 minutes). However, if you are limited on time and you want the gist of the message, below is the main text I preached from, the main points of my message and a four-minute clip from the sermon.

Paul writes in Philippians 3:17-21: 

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

From this passage and through my lifelong battle with food and gluttony, I shared the following three lessons {Note: while this post and the sermon are primarily about food, these lessons learned apply to ALL sin struggles}:

  1. I must choose community, or isolation will choose me (v.17-18). If we don’t choose to open up to a group of people who will care for us and encourage us, we will be forced to deal with our struggles in isolation. See eating chocolate bars in a bathroom stall for a prime example.
  2. I must choose to believe the truth over lies (v.19). Let’s face it… there are a lot of lies out there about eating, exercise and the body. Women especially face pressures from society, pornography and others to look and eat a certain way. We all need to believe the truths instead of the lies we consistently hear. 
  3. I must choose the long term solution over the short term, quick fix (v.20-21). The quick fix, the eating plan or the short-term workout program are very appealing to all of us. There is a clear start and end date, and sometimes it’s easier to write a check for a program than to do the hard work of life and heart change. God’s answer to a sin struggle is never a quick fix, but rather a long obedience in the same direction. The prize of long-term faithfulness to The Lord (not to a workout or eating plan) is worth infinitely more than a smaller waist size.

Regardless of your sin struggle, I hope you will watch and be encouraged. I hope you will apply the same three lessons  I have learned along the way.

Enjoy food. Enjoy Christ.

Your Turn:

  • What is your struggle that can lead you to isolate and hide from others?
  • How can you more effectively involve your community group/friends/family in your battle with sin?
  • What are some of the lies you are believing?
  • Why is the short-term solution easier than long-term life change?