We’ve been told to drink responsibly. Why? Because something like alcohol in excess can be dangerous. The same can be true with food but we aren’t as quick to realize it. The problem is that many of us have not mastered the art of saying no when more is available. Is it really all about will-power though?
For me, there is much more to the story than just mustering up enough will-power when it comes to saying no to Reese’s Pieces. Is it morally wrong to have some candy? No. However, it becomes a deeper issue when I am unable to stop myself from eating an absurd amount of something that will harm my body. In the past, I had some pretty unhealthy eating habits and I lived in a world of extremes. I would go from eating only salads and fruits for a while to eating chips, ice cream, and candy uncontrollably. The problem was this: self-control.
It took a few years for me to realize that this issue of living in extremes wasn’t really an issue anymore. There were many factors involved in this healthy transformation, but the one underlying thing that has enabled me to overcome unhealthy eating behaviors is God. There was a heart issue going on that needed to be addressed, one that elevated food and weight to a position that controlled me and my decisions. Many people today would not consider idolatry as something that still takes pace, however according to the Bible, finding your ultimate worth, acceptance, and joy in something besides God is exactly that (Romans 1). I am guilty of having been an idolater, and I am still tempted at times to fall into unhealthy habits. However, food and weight awareness no longer control me and it is only by God’s grace that I have made progress in this area. I recently read this and I realized how much God has been working to clean-up this messy part of my heart:
But <span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”>the fruit of the Spirit is <span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”>love, joy, peace, patience, <span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”>kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, <span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”>self-control…(Galatians 5:22-23).
Developing self-control is not simply a matter of will; self-control comes as a result of God working miraculously in our hearts. Tim Keller states,
If you uproot an idol in your life and fail to plant the love of Christ in its place, the idol will grow back.
Health is important, but it is not everything. I wrote about how I am desiring to “clean-up” my life in 2014, but what good is a clean house, a clean diet, a clean beauty routine, etc. if I do not first have a clean heart? Making sure health is not my top and sole priority in life is part of making sure I am truly healthy.