Food is a spiritual matter for Christians. We live in a world…well maybe just a country that is obsessed with food! This has led to an upswing in an obsession about fitness and health. Both have the possibility of becoming idols in our lives if we are not careful. So what do we need to do with this battle as believers to maintain a balance of perspective? I know that we all have varying degrees of where we are at physically and spiritually and where we want to be. It will look different for each person. For some, being healthy simply means cutting out junk food as snacks. For others, it might mean only buying organic. Whatever it is doesn’t really matter as much as the heart behind it. We should never “do” anything as a Christian to earn favor with God (or with man for that reason). We already have all the favor He gives. But we can strive with grace driven effort to be obedient and disciplined for the sake of godliness as a light to this world. With that being said, I wanted to share a few tips that I have acquired over the last few weeks as great motivations for healthy living both physically and spiritually. As a warning, I have not perfected ANY of this. I am only moving forward one step at a time as God reveals the next thing to me. I pray this can be encouraging to you as you seek to follow the Lord deeper and deeper.
- Have biblical reasons for change that isn’t just purely physical. Example- If overeating is your problem, then gluttony is a sin. Choose to tackle that sin issue with Scriptural reasons for change. If lack of exercise is a problem- go to the Proverbs where it talks about laziness and get moving!
- Write a list of why you want to change. Writing it down always helps for me. This is why I also love journaling during quiet times. Have it ready for those days you would rather drink that Grande Mocha in the morning instead of water. Be sure to write it on a “good” day so that on the bad days you can remember how you felt when you wrote it.
- Get informed. I am taking a class on family nutrition. It’s overwhelming at times but it has definitely informed me. Now I can start to make small but knowledgeable decisions as I walk up and down the grocery aisle and read labels. Now I have a better idea of what to look for!
- Manage and Move- manage what you eat. You don’t have to be a food Nazi or anything but it does help to have an idea of what you are taking in each day even if it’s just a mental inventory. You can’t lose weight (if that’s your goal) without managing what you eat AND moving- ie-exercise. The two go hand in hand. Start out slow and progress as you become more active. I am typically an “All or Nothing” type girl but I have had to keep pushing through setbacks. It’s a lifestyle change not a short lived diet or intense 30 day exercise routine. It’s the same for our Spiritual growth. We may feel like we aren’t progressing or that we are sliding backwards, that’s when we keep pushing on by His grace and when we look back we realize how far we’ve come.
- You don’t have to eat the way you feel. You can train your body to eat a certain way just like you train yourself to get up each morning and go to work even though you feel tired and groggy. You can train your body to crave good things. It doesn’t mean we have to starve ourselves. Trust me, I think I’m always hungry. What matters is what we eat. I got this line from a similar line I heard in a parenting class, “You don’t have to act the way you feel”. The Bible teaches that self-control is very important. Yet in our food crazed society, we reward ourselves with food or make tons of excuses for our poor choices when it comes to our eating habits or lack of exercise. The same is true for our lack of discipline when it comes to Spiritual things. Even if we “don’t feel like it” or “we do feel like” it, we should press on with one healthy choice after another in our physical and spiritual lives.
None of this comes easy to me. It is still a battle and struggle every day to eat right, make healthier choices, and trust that it’s “going to work”. But I have noticed that as I begin to be more disciplined in this area of my life, it is trickling into other areas that I have struggled to be disciplined in, namely the Spiritual area. I thank God that He continually pushes me to become more disciplined by His strength. I hope this encourages you in your own endeavors to press on!