"Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food." Romans 14:19-20a (NIV)
I always considered my food struggle as a small thing in light of the bigger challenges of life.
I can remember saying, "God, you can mess with my pride, you can mess with my anger, you can mess with my money, you can mess with my selfishness, you can mess with my frustration with my children, you can mess with the times I disrespect my husband ... you can mess with all that, but don't mess with my overeating." However, small things can easily become big things. Consider this example.
On January 15, 2009, Flight 1549 took off from New York's LaGuardia Airport with 155 occupants on board. The takeoff went fine, but three minutes later, at only three thousand feet, the plane encountered a flock of geese. Both engines shut down. Captain "Sully" Sullenberger had to make an immediate decision with life or death consequences. He made a miraculously successful emergency landing on the Hudson River.
Those geese were small, but they brought down an entire plane. Small things can easily become big things. We would do well to remember this principle.
Let's begin to acknowledge the "big" emotions that often accompany our "little" food struggles. I realized that I constantly bounced between feeling deprived and guilty; deprived, then guilty. My disgust and frustration with myself stripped me of the peace and joy that I wanted to be the hallmark of my life.
Having peace is a big deal. Scripture tells us to let the peace of God rule in our hearts (Colossians 3:15). Isn't peace what we want in every area of our lives — even our health? Is your heart dominated by feelings of inadequacy, self-loathing, or defeat about your food struggles? Those are big emotions.
Whenever we feel defeated by an issue, it can prevent us from following God completely. That's why my weight loss goal isn't a number on the scale. My real weight loss goal is peace. I knew I would be successful one day when I stood on the scale and I felt peace, no matter what the number said.
As we move through our healthy eating journey, the goal shouldn't just be a smaller waistline measurement, but a larger measure of peace. The apostle Paul puts it this way: "Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food" (Romans 14:19-20a). In other words, don't let a small thing become a big thing.
I often ask myself this pivotal question before making a food choice: Will this choice add to my peace or steal from it? Remember, nothing tastes as good as peace feels.
Dear Lord, Your peace is what I plead for today. I don't want my focus to be on food, a number on the scale, insecurity, or inadequacy. I want my focus to be on You. That is where I will find true peace. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Did this devotion resonate with you? If so, check out Lysa TerKeurst's New York Times best selling book Made to Crave. You'll gain practical and biblical insight on satisfying your deepest desire with God, not food. Click here to purchase your copy!
Learn how to stop agonizing over the numbers on the scale and make peace with your body in an encouraging community of women who share your struggle. Proverbs 31 Ministries will begin its next online Bible study of Made to Crave on January 19th. We'd love to have you with us! Click here to find out more information and to sign up.
Reflect and Respond:
What "big" emotions are accompanying your "little" struggle?
Whether it's a struggle with food or something else, write down the emotions you feel when you think about it.
Then, write down action steps you can take to move away from those feelings and toward peace. Start with talking to the Lord and offering up this struggle to Him.
This Christian widget features a daily devotional from Oswald Chambers' book, "My Utmost For His Highest" hosted by Radio Bible Class.
Colossians 3:15, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." (NIV)
Thank goodness for Plan "B." There is a way to get right with God. There is a way to be declared righteous and be received into heaven. Plan "A" is useless because the law tells us we are all sinners. No flesh will be justified; no man can be "good enough." That's why Plan "B" is strictly a gift. It is God's gracious answer to man's failure. And it is free.
In Plan "B", God Himself declares our worth, on no basis of our own. How does this work? Paul explains it this way: "But now, apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been manifested being witnessed by the law and the prophets." In other words, the righteousness of God has been manifested by the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. If you want to see righteousness, look at Jesus. He is righteousness that has put on flesh and blood. Through Him, God has said to each one of us, "___________, you are worthy." Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, His righteousness can become our righteousness. When we place our faith in His sacrifice, a divine exchange takes place. How do we get right with God? By Plan "B"—by placing our faith in Jesus Christ, forever abandoning any misguided attempts at Plan "A."
Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our lord Jesus Christ.
READ THROUGH THE BIBLE
Leviticus 5; Hebrews 2
An Apple a Day
“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”
Carole, as class monitor, was forced to report that one of her seventh-grade classmates had been acting up during their teacher’s absence. Joyce, an explosive brunet, threatened to clobber Carole at afternoon recess. Scared and miserable, Carole fled home for lunch and poured out her tale of woe to her mother. “Carole, take her an apple,” said her mother calmly. “Take her an apple!” wailed Carole. “What good will that do? She’s ready to pull out my hair!” “I know,” said her mother. “But the Bible says to do good to those who are spiteful to you. It also says that a soft answer turns away wrath. Try it!”
After lunch, Carole reluctantly placed a shiny red apple on Joyce’s desk and mumbled, “I’m sorry you are so angry.” Joyce was speechless. Finally she stammered, “Well…well…I guess I deserved it.” The situation was defused, and Carole and Joyce eventually became friends.
It can be difficult for children (as well as their parents!) to wholeheartedly embrace Jesus’ instruction to “do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27–28). They feel that their adversaries deserve a different response. But Christ is unequivocal in His direction. We are to follow the Lord’s example, who offers us love thatwe don’t deserve: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36).
Before you say good night…
- Do you pray for your “enemies” in the presence of your children?
- What would happen if your family tried a “soft answer” in the face of wrath?
Almighty God, Your ways are the best ways for the living of our days. Help us to teach our children about Your mercy and to model it ourselves. May we respond to others with love and compassion, just as You do toward us. Amen.