Victory is here at last!
Today we are studying Day 3 of 60 of The Lord’s Table online course at Setting Captives Free.
In today’s lesson, Mike Cleveland writes,
“If you're like me, you've tried everything to lose weight. Maybe you even did fairly well on some of the programs you tried - for awhile! But somehow you drifted away from the plan, and found yourself back at square one, enslaved to the same old eating habits, with no hope of ever experiencing the freedom you so desperately need. Where is real victory to be found? What can change our eating habits once and for all? Is there a way to be satisfied in Christ and know that we will never return to the old ways of using food in an attempt to satisfy the heart?”
Those are very good questions that we have asked on more than one occasion. The answer to those questions is conditional. Yes, if you do it God’s way. No, if you do it your way or the world’s way.
How to stop overeating God’s way:
Mike also asks, “So, how do we stop using food wrongly without turning to some other addiction, such as drinking, smoking, or something else to try to fill the void? How can we keep from attempting to satisfy our emptiness with food?”
God’s way requires faith and humility. It takes faith to truly believe what He says in His Word. It takes humility to admit your weaknesses and to ask God for His strength and power help you overcome sinful eating habits once and for all.
God tells us exactly what to do in His Word to overcome sin, but we must believe it and apply it to our lives by faith.
Psalm 81:10-12 states,
10 I am the LORD your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. 11 But My people would not heed My voice, And Israel would have none of Me. 12 So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, To walk in their own counsels.
In this passage, the Psalmist is telling of Israel’s disobedience during their regular festivals. Asaph exhorted the people to praise God for His acts of national deliverance. However, they did not obey God and God could not bless them.
In verse ten, God commands them to “open your mouth wide” and the promised gift is that He will fill it. This is symbolic for eagerly receiving what God wants to give—like baby chicks with their mouths wide open waiting eagerly to receive what Momma bird wants to feed them.
Open Your Mouth Wide
Instead of opening our mouths wide to indulge in a gallon of our favorite ice cream, we are to open our mouths wide to what God wants to give us through His Word and a rich relationship with Him.
We are to replace running to food to escape unwanted emotions with running to our Heavenly Father in humble submission. As we do this, He helps to break our stubborn pride so that we can listen to Him.
This is what God desires for you and me. He wants us to obey Him by being totally dependent on Him for all of our needs. It is through that dependence that He will fill our souls to satisfaction—and there will be no need to run to food.
And I Will Fill It
God desires to bless us by filling our souls to satisfaction in Him alone. He fills us through His Word. In His Word, we discover the real purposes for every circumstance we use to run to food.
When your car breaks down once again and you have no money to fix it, there is a good and godly purpose in that. Do you really think eating five pieces of chocolate cake will help you with this situation? Absolutely not! No matter how tasty it is in the moment. After it is gone, you are still faced with a difficult financial and transportation problem.
What are you to do? Get busy opening your mouth wide, not to the chocolate cake, but to God and His Word. Remember what He says in Philippians 4:19? “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Remove the pride, fear and anxiety so that you can listen, hear, and believe what God wants to give you.
As you put your faith and trust in God through Jesus Christ, instead of food, He is able to provide you with a financial gift in the mail or from a friend, or even your church. He can supply you with another car someone is not using. Are you open to Him in that way?
What happens if you do not turn to Him and His Word?
If you are not open to receive from Him based on His Word, then you risk being given over to your own devices—which is over-indulging in food. The consequences are weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes, spiritual growth stagnation, depression, shame, isolation, etc.
If you are waking up every January 1st with the same request to eat better and exercise in order to lose those same pounds you lost and gained all year, then you are not eagerly waiting to receive what God so desperately wants to give you.
God Wants To Give You Victory!
Mike Cleveland says, “This teaching, if employed by the grace of God, is going to free you from your old eating habits for life! As you learn to "feed" on God's Word by listening to Him, your soul will "feel full," your heart will be satisfied, and you will have replaced your bad eating habits with good ones! The Word of God will nourish you.”
You are victorious when you take the focus off yourself and your body image and place it on Jesus Christ. The goal is to replace the old habit of running to food with the good habit of running to God and His Word.
I will leave you with some great passages to pray over and ponder—then apply them to your daily life.
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
“When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty.”
“I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.”
“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”
“Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. 22 Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart. 23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored: If you remove wickedness far from your tent 24 and assign your nuggets to the dust, your gold of Ophir to the rocks in the ravines, 25 then the Almighty will be your gold, the choicest silver for you. 26 Surely then you will find delight in the Almighty and will lift up your face to God.”
“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”