“You must not have any other god but me.” – Exodus 20:3, NLT
Mariah had always been athletic, playing various sports throughout high school and college. However, after 10 years of marriage, Mariah found herself in a place she never imagined she’d be: morbidly obese and extremely dissatisfied with her life. Her husband and three children weren’t the issue, though. She adored them. The problem was the ongoing battle inside herself.
She couldn’t tell you exactly when the struggle began, but it was soon after the death of her mother. Unable to cope with the sudden loss of her best friend, Mariah sunk into a pit of despair and turned to food to numb her pain. When Mariah ate, she felt better. Soon those moments of temporary pleasure became a continual feast. Food was on her mind when she woke up, throughout the day, and when her head hit the pillow at night. She ate when she was lonely, bored, sad, or stressed. She even resorted to hiding food and bingeing when no one else was home. Mariah lived to eat. Loved to eat. Food was her comforter. Her friend. Her god.
As a Christian, Mariah knew this was not the way God wanted her to live. Her eating was out of control, yet, she felt powerless to change. Shame prevented her from reaching out to family or friends, so she chose to suffer silently, tormented by the desires that raged within her.
Food is a blessing, a unique creation that God provides to nourish our bodies so that we’re physically equipped to serve Him and advance His kingdom. However, when we elevate food to a place of importance and it becomes more than just fuel for our bodies, it becomes an idol.
Idol worship is more than bowing down to a statue, carving, or painting. Idolatry occurs when we begin to value anything more than we value God, when we look to something or someone other than the Lord to meet our needs. Although there’s nothing wrong with enjoying what we eat, it should not be the focus of our lives.
Only God can satisfy completely. The Hebrew word for satisfied is saba, which means “to fill to satisfaction, drink your fill, have in plenty, have abundance.” The Bible provides many verses that help us understand what it means to be content in Jesus. One of my favorite passages is Psalm 90:14: “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”
If you are like Mariah and struggle with food issues, you are not alone. You don’t have to suffer silently. You can find hope and healing in the Lord. Get alone somewhere, and talk to your Savior. Tell Him what’s in your heart. Confess your sin, and acknowledge that you have chased after a false god. Thank the Lord for his forgiveness, and trust Him to help you change your unhealthy eating habits.
The next step is to begin the process of renewing your mind by spending time meditating on God’s Word. This week I’ll share four practical steps on how you can have victory in this area of your life by replacing the lies you’ve believed with truth. No longer will the enemy keep you in bondage to food and destructive thought patterns. Remember, if the Son has set you free, you are free indeed (John 8:36). Now, it’s time for you to walk in that freedom!