Would I have to dodge rotten tomatoes hurled in protest? Would the church family I love so much be hurt by my taking up a near unspoken topic? Folks cautioned me. And I have to admit that I was concerned to preach on the topic of overeating. Just look at me. Skinny-gened runner guy. Overeating was identified in our congregational survey as the second most troublesome sin we struggle with. I had to address it. My goal was the same as any Sunday: To apply God's Word for practical life change. Lovingly & honestly, admitting my own sinfulness, I set out to preach You Too? Sins We All Struggle With - Overeating.
It is not about size, but desire.
That is where the discussion of overeating must start for Christ followers.
Overeating is not about the size of your waist, but the spiritual condition of your heart.
Overeating is not about the food you eat, but the desires of your heart.
Overeating is not about the food at all, but about control - the food's, your's or God's?
Christ followers are called from evil to holiness, from our desires to self control, from judgment to grace. 1 Peter 1:13-17 - a passage that can be used as a template for dealing with any besetting sin - challenges us to seek God's supernatural assistance in overcoming our natural desires.
- Self control. If you know you will be tempted by something, then you must be ready to exercise self control. "Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled," states 1 Peter 1:13. Self control, however, is not completely your control over yourself. Self control is control over one's self by the power of the Holy Spirit. You can not do it alone. God is all powerful & He helps (Titus 2:11-12). Be prepared for temptation by calling on Him ahead of time.
- Grace. Can we all agree to live in the grace we have received? It'd be a much nicer world. Where, unlike the unmerciful servant of Matthew 18:21-35, we would actually seek to grace others as we have been graced & beyond. 1 Peter 1:13 further commands, "set your hope fully on the grace you have received." That is living in grace. Not judgment. All your hope is tuned to all that God has done for you.
- Desire. It is natural to obey our own evil desires, but God calls us to follow Him supernaturally. "As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance," says 1 Peter 1:14. Call on our great God. Allow Him to work in & through you to master the desires that want to master you (Genesis 4:7).
- Holiness. It's an impossibility for us - the natural servants of a self-gratifying sinfulness - to be holy. But God, by Jesus sacrificial death, imparts new life and holiness upon us if we ask. We were bough with a price. Our bodies are His temples. We should honor God with our bodies. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
- Judgment. We really need to get over ourselves & leave the judgments to God. More than that we need to leave our shallow, prideful jugmentalism in the dungheep where it belongs. With overeating in particular, we always want to compare ourselves to the next person. Our judgments are biased. We "call on a Father who judges each man's works impartially," 1 Peter 1:17. He looks on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7) not the waste size.
Eating is not sinful. God designed it. Food is not sinful. God created it. Appetites are not sinful. God gives them. Enjoying the taste of food is not sinful. God created us to enjoy such sensory pleasures. Yet over-indulgence - overeating - is sinful. As Lysa Terkeurst writes in Made to Crave, "It compromises our health, diminishes our energy to pursue our calling, and affects the way we feel about ourselves, just to name a few."
As we ask God for assistance based on His promises & rely on His power, may we overcome every sin we struggle with. May we overcome overeating.