I want to share with you something I learned recently about food. God sent me to Asia in April on a mission trip but before going, He told me to fast. It was a liquid fast and low-sugar. When God asked me to do this kind of fast in spiritual preparation for my trip, I was actually quite stoked. Just me and God! Together, battling the forces of nature, bringing my flesh low so my spirit could soar. Yes. I could not wait!
Ha. That was before it started.
First few days were fine, but as it continued, it wasn’t so much the hunger that I had trouble controlling but my mind. I wasn’t even hungry for things but my mind said, “I want that. I want this. I MUST HAVE IT.” It was a beast of its own.
I started begging God, “Please, Lord. Let me have it. Can I have this? Oh Jesus, I need something.” My energy wasn’t low, I wasn’t dizzy, I felt very strong actually and yet my mind would not stop yelling at me. It was angry I wasn’t giving it what it wanted.
It got to the point I would look in the pantry and say, “My body is not my god. My body is not my god. My body is NOT MY GOD!” Because that is what it had become, while I was unaware.
“Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”
Fasting had a way of opening my eyes to the fact my flesh had been dictating my day more than the Lord, and that was sin. My flesh had become my idol. If it wanted something, I gave in, and believed God would bless whatever it was I put into my mouth.
This kind of asking God to bless what I want to do is something called a “permissive will”. Though it was not His best for me, He permitted me to act of my own free will. When I changed the question to, “Lord, can I?” to “Lord, what do you desire?” I began to step-out of a permissive will into a perfect will and my body felt better because of it.
What I could not understand is the fact that asking for God’s perfect will is such a strong value in my life, how could it not be when it came to my food? I want God’s perfect will for my relationships, for the places He wants to send me, for the job I work at, and all areas… except his perfect will for how I treat my body. My temple, the flesh He gifted to me, I wanted to do whatever to it… even if my choices could cause harm later on.
“Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.”
Honestly, the reason I didn’t ask sometimes is because I didn’t want to hear Him tell me no. The fast is far from over now and yet I still find myself struggling to say, “God, is this something you desire for me to eat/drink? Is this something you want me to put into this body?” You may think it sounds crazy, maybe that God doesn’t care about those things, and that’s okay, I believe otherwise. I believe God cares so much for us He wants to have a say in what we do in even the little choices in our life. I believe God is good, always and forever, and out of His goodness as a Father, He wants to guide us into being more like Him in every area of our life. I believe He is love and that love is not passive. That is the hope I cling to.
This is where I am in this moment and I am so grateful to God. He showed me this area of my life where I need to surrender and He is faithful to help me through it.
For some, it may be video games, shopping, coffee, social media or music but whatever it is, God wants nothing to come between Him and us. Even though those things aren’t made of stone, anything that causes us to stumble, or fulfill its desire above the Lord’s will can become a god we worship.
Nothing should ever come before the Lord, not a cookie or otherwise. If He says, “Daughter, I don’t want this for you.” I want to be in such a place with Him that my first response is, “Yes, Lord. Your will be done.” and not, “Oh please Jesus, just one bite…” Actually, sometimes I don’t ask Him at all, I just eat. But I don’t want to live like that anymore. If I am singing to the heavens, I surrender all, I want it to be true. Even when it comes to food, whether it be a yes from Him or a no, I want my yes and no to match His.
What is crazy is this isn’t a new trick for the devil. He has often used food to tempt people. Eve with the fruit (Genesis 3:4-5), Esau with a bowl of stew (Genesis 25:33-34), Jesus with bread (Matthew 4:3)… and the list goes on.
I’ve learned just because something feels or tastes good doesn’t mean it is from God. Something tasty doesn’t equal holiness. But God’s way is always holy. He desires the very best for us, and because He is a good Father, He’ll discipline us so we wouldn’t gratify our flesh but rather would truly surrender to Him, the One True God, whose way is always better than ours.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.”
I’m a work in progress. So are you. It’s okay. The beautiful thing is, He is with us and as long as we continue to repent, humble ourselves, and say, “Abba Father, I need you!” He is quick to respond and will give us what we ask… as long as it is His will. He will help us to put Him first, and worship Him only.
Thank you Jesus for what you did on the cross so we could know you and know your love. We repent God, of our sins, of anything we have put before you in time, energy, or devotion. We commit our lives to you once more and ask for your help in the areas we struggle to surrender to you. You are such a good Father and faithful teacher. We trust you and will accept the ways in which you want to teach us. Help us not to complain but to rejoice, not to rebel but to surrender, not to shrink back but to boldly live as daughters of the King, in every area. We love you Papa. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
With love in my heart and my tummy,