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Always and forever, the Bible is practical. It's not just "pie in the sky," or fantasy, or something that collects dust on your coffee table. The Bible is a book you can live by! It deals with where you live and is concerned with what concerns you! Therefore, the Bible is concerned with your eating habits. It has much to say that will help you in the area of your eating.

The Trouble With Food
You are not the first person to have had trouble with food! What was the first thing Adam and Eve got into trouble over? Food! What did they eat? Forbidden fruit.

What did Esau get into trouble for? Eating beans. He loved lentils! It's not wrong to eat beans, but he sold his birthright for a bowl of beans. Food became his downfall!

There is another man in the Bible who literally fell because of overeating. He even passed on his bad eating habits to his sons. His name is Eli, and he was fatter than a 40-pound robin! He loved that fat meat! The Bible tells us this in 1 Samuel 1-4.

Eli's sons began to love fat too, and they would steal it from the sacrifices! God told Eli, "You get those sons under control or I'm going to take away your ministry." God warned Eli twice, but he liked to eat rather than obey!

Eli's situation is sad because he really did love God. But he could not give up his eating habits or discipline his sons. He was so overweight that when he heard that the Ark of the Covenant had been stolen, he lost his balance and fell backwards off a stool, breaking his neck!

Wrong eating habits produce all kinds of bad things, but be encouraged, God has the way out of these bad habits!

The Lusting For Food
All of us have a desire for food - that is only natural. Our bodies require food to sustain them. But when we get into the area of "lusting" after food, we're in trouble! When we talk about lusting, we usually think of it in the sexual realm. There is, however, an area of food lusts. If we can discover the cause for these, I think it will help you.

Once in a while I get a craving for a chocolate bar with almonds. It's not very often (thank goodness!), but when I do, I'm constantly thinking, "chocolate with almonds." One chocolate bar won't do much damage, but if I continue to eat chocolate bars with almonds, it could prove disastrous!

One time I tried to analyze when I especially found myself craving chocolate bars. I believe I found the answer to it in Proverbs, that good practical book on wisdom: "Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger" (Prov. 19:15).

Idle people are hungry people! Have you ever noticed that when you don't have much to do and you don't have your mind on anything, that is the easiest time to run past the refrigerator and help yourself? Have you ever noticed that when you're not really busy, you tend to think more about food? When we are not engaged in some meaningful activity, we can easily get hung up on food. It's good to keep busy. It will help you to become thin and stay thin.

It's good to keep your body busy, and it's good to keep your mind busy. Proverbs 27:7 says, "The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet."
The soul is composed of the mind and the emotions. Notice that this verse speaks of a full soul: a mind that is full, complete; a mind that is constantly thinking about worthwhile things, worthwhile plans. People with full souls are not thinking about sweets all the time - they are too busy filling their minds with thoughts of achievement.

On the other hand, the hungry soul, or the person whose mind is idle and undisciplined, thinks that everything tastes good. Even bitter things taste good to this person! Keep your body busy, and keep your mind busy and full of the Word - that will cause your eating habits to be pleasing to the Lord.

Another key to eating properly is found in Proverbs 13:25: "The righteous eats to the satisfying of his soul: but the belly of the wicked shall want."

The important word to see here is satisfying. You can eat to the satisfying of your soul or you can go beyond that amount and stuff yourself! Most of the time we go beyond being satisfied because the food tastes so good. The righteous don't go beyond being satisfied; they stay within that limit.

We all like pastries, don't we? They are marvelous! One time my husband and I were in Finland to minister. I have never seen so many pastries in my life! Practically every other shop on every street had pastries in the windows. We thought we had to sample one of everything that was different. It got to be dangerous to go out of our hotel!

Scripture has some interesting things to say about pastries - it calls them "deceitful dainties." Proverbs 23:3 says, "Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat. Overindulgence in sweets can hurt you. They look good, but looks can be deceiving!

Here is a verse that might surprise you: Proverbs 25:27, "It is not good to eat much honey." That has to do with sweets. It is better to eat natural sweets like fruit. Honey is good, but too much of any good thing is dangerous!

We've covered the dangers in eating sweets; now let's look at the dangers in eating too much meat. I can remember several years ago when eating meat was supposed to pick you up if you were tired. There were bumper stickers which said, "Eat beef," then the lamb people came out with something about eating lamb. Soon scientists began to say that Americans had too much protein in their diets. We are a nation of meat eaters. Too much meat is not good, just like too many sweets is not good!

The Eating of Food
Eating sweets is not good, and eating too much meat is not good. None of us wants to overindulge and get into trouble with our eating. We want to be healthy people. The next question would naturally be, "What can I do to change my eating habits?"

The Bible tells us how to handle our craving for too much food. First, of course, it is good to confess the Word about your health. The Bible gives us certain guidelines, and as much as we can, we need to obey those suggestions.

The first scripture we need to consider in changing our eating habits is 1 Corinthians 10:31: "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." Ask yourself if your eating habits glorify God. And remember, you can be skinny and still not glorify God in your eating! If, on the other hand, you look like a blimp, will people see God in you?

Proverbs 23:2 says, "And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite." That is pretty serious! Get strong with yourself and say, "I have taken this lust for food to the cross, and I reckon myself dead to this sin and alive unto God."

Saying this is a little better than actually putting a knife to your throat, but the idea of putting a knife to our throats shows how serious we need to be when it comes to wrong eating habits. Proverbs 10:3 says, "The Lord will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casts away the substance of the wicked." God will not allow you to starve; don't let the devil feed you a lie.

One of the best ways to handle a bad eating habit is to pray in the Spirit. Romans 8:26 says: "Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." What is an infirmity? It is a weakness. The Spirit helps you when you are not firm, when you are not strong or disciplined.

Are you firm in the area of proper eating? If not, pray in the Spirit before you sit down to eat. The Spirit will help you when you are weak. Pray for 10 minutes before you begin to eat. Pray in the Spirit before you pass the refrigerator. Praying in the Spirit will help you in your area of weakness and turn it into one of your areas of strength.

Now, let's be positive and examine how to eat. Proverbs 18:20 says, "A man's belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. Speak right things about your food before you eat it. Speak a positive word over your meals. It may not look like something from the Hilton, but it will taste a lot better if you speak well of it, rather than complaining about it.

Many people are in trouble over food because they eat when they are depressed. Proverbs has something to say about this too: "All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast" (Prov. 15:15).

Eat when you are happy, and it will be a feast to you. It could be crackers and milk, but you'll be happy. Whatever you eat when you are happy will be a continual feast. You will receive more strength from your food if you eat it with joy.

If you are depressed, stay away from food! If your emotions are bad, your food will knot up in your stomach. Don't eat when you are uptight. Eating at times like these can cause physical illness. How do you think people get ulcers? Correct your attitude first, then eat with joy and you will have a continual feast.

Do you like chocolate chip cookies? My, couldn't you just eat a dozen of them before you know it? That's oversufficiency! Your body knows what is sufficient. Ask the Lord to help you in this area of temperance. Before you sit down to eat, tell yourself that you will eat only that which is sufficient for you.

We need to get our eyes off physical food and be fed with what is really necessary for our growth. We need to feed ourselves a balanced diet of physical and spiritual food.

Ask the Lord to give you what is convenient for you at this time. It may be that you need to be encouraged from the Word in a particular situation so that your eating habits get in line.

Source: Winning Over Weight by Marilyn Hickey
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Marilyn Hickey
Web site: Marilyn and Sarah
 
"Encouraging, optimistic, always upbeat and energetic" at the young age of 84, Marilyn Hickey actively ministers internationally, most recently in Sudan, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, India, China and Pakistan, as well as domestically in the United States through Bible Encounters and speaking engagements.
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