Part 2 of Barb Winters' "Lies We Believe and Truth That Sets Us Free"
Is it Sin?
For years I knew I could eat better, but had not contemplated the possibility that my actions were wrong. Two separate events helped me connect the dots. First, a friend casually mentioned that sugar could be addictive. I made a mental note, but chose not to ponder too long on the statement.
Then, several years later, I was reading Dr. Neil T. Anderson’s Discipleship Counseling when it all came together. “All people with addictive behaviors lie to both themselves and others. . . .The dysfunctional use of substances such as alcohol, drugs (either street or prescriptive), nicotine, caffeine and food becomes a means of coping and escape for them and usually controls their time, money and relationships.” The word food sort of jumped off the page at me. Dr. Anderson included food in a list of addictive substances. I asked myself, Can some eating habits be labeled as substance abuse?
Remember our definition of food: “Substances that people, animals, and plants eat to stay alive and grow.” If food is a substance, is eating improperly substance abuse? Back to my dictionary. Abuse is “wrong or harmful use of something . . . .” So, if we use food for any other motive than what God intended, we are abusing it. And, ultimately, we are abusing God’s temple.
We are able to move forward once the realization of this truth sinks in.
We find victory over sinful behaviors through God’s word and his power. “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).
It is not just a matter of recognizing lies exist. We must identify them, confess, and replace them with truth. Replacing the lies with truth benefits us most in the long run.
Let me give you an example. Some days my thoughts look like this: Good morning, Lord. . . . I need to brush my teeth. Can I have ice cream for breakfast? No, that’s ridiculous. Oatmeal is a healthy start to the day. . . . What kind of ice cream do we have? Oh, yeah. Bunny Tracks. . . . Father, help me teach my children well, today. . . . Lunch was good. Is it too early for ice cream? I better wait ‘til the children go to bed. Otherwise, they will want some. I’ll eat an apple. . . . Is it 8:00 yet? That ice cream was so good last night. I can’t wait. . . . I need to finish the laundry. Oh, I can taste the creaminess of the vanilla ice cream with the crunch of chocolate chunks. . . . I made it. It’s eight and the children are upstairs. I can sit down and enjoy my much deserved bowl of ice cream while relaxing.
Identify the Lies
In this example, my thoughts are not being controlled by the Spirit. One of the fruits of the spirit is self-control or a controlled self—controlled by the Holy Spirit. To escape from this bondage, I take the time to identify the lies I believe. Here are two: Ice cream is good, and I deserve it.
I don’t want to debate the nutritional value of ice cream with you. That’s not the point. The point is I am allowing what I perceive to be “good” to control my thoughts. That is the sin. I must repent. “. . . God’s kindness leads you toward repentance” (Rom. 2:4). Repentance includes agreeing with God I am wrong and turning from that sin.
Replace Lies with Truth
But, I can’t stop there. If I do not replace the lies with truth, I leave myself open for Satan to get a foothold. In this instance, what is truth? “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good” (Psalm 107:1). God is good! And, if God is good, he will not steer me in the wrong direction. He will steer me toward what is good.
“The Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11). “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits . . . who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:2, 5).
Now that I have located verses to dispel the lie, every time this thought pops into my mind, “Oh, I really want that because it is soooo good,” I stop and evaluate whether God has established that item as good for me. Then, if he has not, I replace the thought with a previously mentioned verse.
Let’s move on to the second lie – I deserve it. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life” (Rom. 6:23). Truthfully, I deserve hell. Anything above that is a free gift of God. Remembering that helps me keep the proper perspective.
One last thought. Anything that takes the place of God is an idol. If your thoughts are wandering toward an idol in your life, here are a few verses to help reel them back in. “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). “Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life” (Jude 21). God’s love through Jesus Christ compels us to listen and obey Him. We are freed from sins and rest in His goodness only through His grace.
Do you think improper eating can be labeled as substance abuse?
Has food been an idol in your life?
Have you experienced victory in this area? If not, do you believe you can experience victory?
Barbara Winters and her husband, Don, have four children, Kevin, JT, Kenneth, and Melinda. Barbara home schools her children and encourages her husband in his pastorate position. Barbara writes a column on the characteristics of God for Lucid Magazine at www.lucidmagazine.com, has several articles available for purchase at Churchmouse Publications, and writes a blog exploring lies and truth related to food issues at http://foodliesandtruth.blogspot.com/. Stop by her blog and say hello.