We all have to eat, but are we living to eat or do we eat to live – and live life well? Meaning, is food Lord over our life or is it just part of life. Sometimes I think we give food way too much power.
This morning I was reading the passage “…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…” Joshua 24:15 and thinking about how we all serve something or someone. When you think of “serving someone or something” most people think of money, people, God or fame, but there are so many people who serve a master unlike any other. Food.
Since I am in the fitness business, I am face to face with people who let food boss them every day. It’s not that food is so powerful, but our bodies are so weak. We live in a generation where we are so spoiled to have anything we want. If we want a cheese burger, most of us can jump in a car and get it under $5.00 in less than 5 minutes. It’s just that easy. We live in a “get it now, pay later” society and it shows in our bank account – and our waistline.
It’s Your Choice
When you refer back to the verse “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve”, we need to look a the action word “choose“. Most of us don’t purposefully choose to serve food or money, but we are enslaved to it because of our lack of making better purposeful decisions. As a result, our small seemingly meaningless decisions add up to one big bad decision that ends up meaning a whole heck of a lot.
For instance, our lack of discipline with money forces us to work more, stress more, pay more bills, be in debt up to our eyeballs and eventually be completely enslaved to money or our career. It’s not that we made a decision to make our career more important than our loved ones, it’s just that all our small poor decisions led us to that place where we now feel like we have no other choice.
The same goes with food. Every time we give in to letting our flesh (stomach, mind, taste buds) have what it wants, we are choosing to serve food. This verse reminds us we have a choice to choose who and what we serve. In the case of health and fitness, I can choose to serve my flesh (laziness, pleasure, taste, etc) or I can choose to serve life (putting God first, investing in things that matter most, making healthy food choices, eating in moderation, staying active, taking care of my body).
If I want to live long and well, I have to be very purposeful about my decisions. Good health will never happen by accident. You can catch a cold but you can’t catch good health – that requires work and setting your priorities straight.
This goes way beyond food. I have to make a lot choices today that affect me later. America is a very short-sited country, but scripture constantly reminds us to look ahead. Every decision we make today has an impact on tomorrow – and even eternity. From who we speak to, what we say, how we treat others and how we treat ourself. We must realize how our decisions or lack of decisions really does affect our future.
Making No Decision Is Making a Decision
If you do NOT decide, you are deciding to let your flesh take control and serve your flesh, which always leads to destruction. Your flesh doesn’t care about your bank account, it doesn’t care about your relationships, it doesn’t care about your waistline and it even doesn’t have enough sense to care about its own longterm existence (health, life, etc). All our flesh cares about is instant gratification and pleasure.
Romans 8:13 warns us about living for the flesh saying, “for if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Paul (the author of Romans) doesn’t necessarily mean you will die and be buried, but he means you will not have the life on earth (or eternity) that God intended. You won’t have the health, the energy, the blessings and the freedom you could have if you live to please your body.
Learning to discipline our body gives us life. It frees us from bondages, it makes us feel better and is what is best for us. Is it easy? NO! Is it the right thing to do? YES! Even if you don’t believe in God, I think we’d all agree that living a disciplined life is good for us.
Philippians 3:19 actually addresses the power of food and warning us about how it can destroy us saying, “Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.”
5 Steps To Fix a Food Focused Life
1. We must recognize our own power to say “no” and make better choices. We have to ditch the “I can’t” mentality. You can. You just have to decide “you will”.
2. We practice discipline daily. We won’t automatically wake up disciplined. Leading a more disciplined life is a result of many small decisions. It will take practice and time to build a habit of living a more disciplined life. Practice makes perfect.
3. We improve our far-sightedness. Put on your big picture glasses. We have to purposefully think about how our decisions today affect our future. We should have both short and long-term goals. If you are faced with a decision, you need to ask yourself “how is this going to affect me later?” Constantly thinking about your goals and the future is imperative to overcoming today’s temptations.
4. You don’t just focus on making decisions to stop something (like a habit of overeating) but you start making healthy decisions that replace unhealthy ones. It’s replacing a bad habit with a good habit. Whether it’s eating off small plates instead of large dinner plates or going for a walk instead of going for seconds. You must make new healthy habits to replace your old bad ones or you will just revert back to your old ways.
5. We change our mindset. Instead of constantly focusing on what you can or cannot have, focus on what you are getting from making better choices. For every decision you make, you are choosing between “this” and “that”. In most cases you can’t have both. You can have donuts or a 6-pack, not both. You can have a new car or no car payment, but not both.
The problem with food is the repercussions sneak up on us. It’s not like McDonald’s sends us a monthly invoice for weight gain and diabetes. However, we WILL pay – eventually.
If we focus our thoughts on how we will benefit from all these great decisions, making a decision to live healthier is so much easier. Suddenly, unhealthy foods pale in comparison to our new healthy lifestyle. Over time, exercise is something we are willing to do for the benefit of having more energy and feeling so good afterwards. It’s an investment worth making.
As Joyce Meyer says, “Where our mind goes, our body follows” and it’s so true. If we can get our mind to shape up, we can get our body to shape up!
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
Decide today that you will start making healthier decisions because you love life more than food or anything else that has bondage over you.