“Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Cor. 15:57, ESV
If you have a habit of turning to food when you’re sad, lonely, or depressed, you’re guilty of idolatry. However, food addiction is not the unpardonable sin. The Lord offers forgiveness and hope to those who long to be free from this particular stronghold.
Yesterday we looked at the first component that’s involved in overcoming an obsession with food – the inward focus. This step requires that you acknowledge your sin (confession) and repent (genuine remorse that results in changed behavior). Today we’ll look at the second component, the upward focus.
People who struggle with compulsive eating battle distorted thoughts about themselves and are confused about the proper role of food in their lives. Let me assure you that such negative thoughts do not come from God. Instead, they are whispered into your ears by the enemy of your soul. Some of Satan’s culinary classics are:
“This cake will make me feel better.”
“If I keep eating, I can stop the pain.”
“I don’t want to feel empty inside. Eating makes me feel full and less lonely.”
“Food makes me happy.”
“I need something sweet.”
In every one of the above statements, the underlying message is that consuming food will solve all your problems, which is a LIE! Satan wants you to believe that food is your comforter, your helper, your friend. The truth is that those roles are reserved for the Lord. He is the answer when you feel sad. He’s the One you need to lean on when you feel weak. He is the only God you should serve.
Satan’s goal is to steal, kill, and destroy anything good in your life (John 10:10). Even though the enemy is strong, God is more powerful! You don’t have to fall prey to the enemy’s tactics. You can resist his attacks. Jesus said in John 8:31-32: “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Freedom from food addiction is possible when we look to the Lord and his power instead of relying on our own wisdom and strength.
Following are four steps you can take to take Satan’s lies captive and make them obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5):
1. Read the Word.
I can’t stress this one enough. Just as your body requires nourishment to give you energy, your spirit also needs to be fed on a daily basis. If you have gone weeks or months without opening God’s Word, you’re in a state of spiritual starvation.
2. Recognize the lies of the enemy.
When you read the Bible on a regular basis, you will be equipped to recognize when Satan is trying to pull a fast one on you. Jesus warned us about his devious ways in John 8:44: “There is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” The more time you spend reading God’s Word, the more quickly and easily you will recognize Satan’s deception because you will know the truth.
3. Replace lies with truth.
Find verses in the Bible that speak specifically to areas in which you struggle. For example, if you feel weak and hopeless, say Philippians 4:13, which is “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” If you struggle with fear, meditate on Psalm 56:3, which says, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” Such verses will give you strength as you focus on what is right and true. When possible, say the Scriptures aloud, which will build your confidence in the Lord and His ability to supply all your needs.
4. Renew your mind.
When you read the Word, recognize lies, and replace the lies with truth, over time your thought patterns will change. Your mind will be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, and you’ll no longer be enslaved by your fleshly desires. You’ll see yourself as the Lord sees you and enjoy the blessing of food without guilt or condemnation.
This healing process takes time. You can’t retrain your mind overnight. However, keep on fighting, and don’t get discouraged. Persevere. The Lord will reward you for earnestly seeking Him (Hebrews 11:6).
As you put your trust in the Lord, you’ll find rest in his promises. Your mind and body, once tormented by lies will flourish in freedom, allowing you to be all that God created you to be.
The last component I’ll share this week is the outward focus and how surrender flings the door wide open for ministry and service to others.
Tomorrow: The Outward Focus