"I know a single man who came to Christ in his twenties, read the Scriptures, and got so excited that he decided to sell his house and give the money to God. But when he shared this plan with older believers in his Bible-study group, something tragic happened: They talked him out of it."Have you ever had a fellow brother or sister in Christ talk you out of something that God put on your heart to do? Or at least try to talk you out of it? Or maybe you've been the one to talk someone out of doing something radical for God. Did you "talk some sense into them?!"
I've been on both sides of this one. In America, we preach the theology of "balance." Well-meaning friends tell other friends who are on fire for the Lord to "find balance" or warn them not to get too heavenly-minded to be any earthly good. (FYI for those who have said that to me: I take that one as a compliment!)
Somewhere along the way, we forgot about abandoning our crosses and took up the practice of comfort. We don't want to be unpopular. We don't want to look extreme. We find ourselves living off the praises of others. And it's so deep in our society that it's really hard to get away from! It really is!
But we are called for so much more! Jesus Christ gave it ALL for us--let's do the same for Him!
"Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me." (Luke 9:23)I know some of you beautiful women and wonderful men in Christ reading this have sought to wholeheartedly seek after the Lord. And it doesn't just include your health and dietary lifestyle. It includes your family, your money, and more. I'm writing this post for you, because it takes a lot of encouragement to do this in America today!
As you may be finding out, when you submit your dietary lifestyle to the Lord, you lose a lot of popularity. You get a lot of slack. You may even get nasty emails like I do.
When Lysa TerKeurst, author of Made to Crave and President of Proverbs 31 Ministries, announced to a crowd during a Q & A session that she was growing closer to God by cutting out sugar, this is what happened:
"The women in the audience gasped when I said I'm in a season of sacrificing sugar. It wasn't two seconds later that a conference attendee grabbed the audience microphone and blurted out,
'Well, if Jesus called Himself the bread of life, I can't see how sugar and processed carbs are bad at all!'
The audience erupted with laughter.
I forced a smile but felt smaller than an ant. No, I take that back. Smaller than a wart on the end of an ant's nose. And that's pretty small.
They didn't get it."
TerKeurst adds later:
"While making the intentional choice to deny myself unhealthy food options probably isn't the most popular route to growing closer to God, it is a route nonetheless. A thrilling, hard, practical, courageous spiritual journey with great physical benefits."
Maybe I should put a disclaimer on my Facebook health page:
Warning: Choosing to submit your dietary habits to the Lord will make you the product of ridicule, insults, and possibly hatred. Proceed only if you are serving an audience of One.
People do not want to hear that their food choices are the reason for their failing health. It's hard to hear that we are addicted to certain foods. It's hard to face the fact that our cravings are for food more than God. It's a hard message to deliver, and it's a hard one to receive!
If God has put this message on your heart and you have found yourself with a passion for helping others in this area, I'm going to share a few things with you that I've learned along the way:
1. We can't change someone's heart. We know this, but it can be hard to accept, especially when we see someone's health failing and they don't want to make changes! If you offer information out to someone, don't do it unless you can handle getting the door slammed in your face. Be prudent in the way you offer out information. Seek the Lord's direction constantly on this one! And pray for others often, including those who respond with bitterness.
2. Remember: You don't always have to answer someone's question. Sometimes, questions are posed the way the Pharisees asked Jesus about paying taxes. They're what my husband calls "loaded" questions--they're not asked in an effort to seek out an earnest answer. They're asked in an effort to catch you like a trap. Be on your guard for these. . .
3. Constantly seek God. What people who don't become radically different for God don't realize is that being like this causes a person to have to be constantly dependent on God's guidance. When we go completely against the grain, thoughts that make us question our position cause us to seek after the Lord all the time. Because let's face it--when we're doing the same thing as everyone else and we don't get any criticism, we aren't likely to question our position.
4. Be encouraging. Some people get defensive because they feel it is such an enormous battle to take on. Some people have unsuccessfully tried and their failure is still too raw. Be a messenger of hope. Preach the power of Christ to help us in our battles! Strive to keep a good balance of encouragement and facts. (Yeah--I'm working on this too!)
5. Finally--remember who your audience is. Don't look for praises from others. Don't focus on the numbers on the scale. Just be obedient to God. And remember that Jesus promised a hundredfold in blessings for those who give things up for Him. Think of it as a really awesome investment package!
I hope I've offered you encouragement and courage to share this message of freedom---freedom from the bonds of food addictions and cravings. We were ALL made for more!