Are you suffering from an out-of-control appetite? You’re about to get a prescription for a biblical appetite suppressant!
God revealed it to me in Bible study this week. While I was familiar with the scripture, God revealed something in it that I’ve never seen before. The scripture Proverbs 23:1-3 says:
“When you sit down to eat with a ruler, Consider carefully what is before you; And put a knife to your throat. If you are a man given to appetite, Do not desire his delicacies, For they are deceptive food.”
It was the phrase “given to appetite” that caught my attention. A question popped into my mind: “What is the difference between hunger and appetite?” You need to understand this so you’ll know why and how the prescription works.
According to the definition, hunger is the stomach’s feeling of discomfort caused by a lack of food intake. However, appetite is a strong desire or liking for something, usually food or drink. Appetite is a God-given gift when used the way He intended: to satisfy the body’s need for food.
However, your appetite is out of control if you are eating often when your body is not physically hungry. You can find yourself eating whenever the opportunity presents itself, such as from emotional hunger, boredom, or simply because the food is there!
Your appetite becomes the equivalent of an undisciplined, spoiled child who throws a tantrum when it doesn’t get its way.
If you are suffering from an out-of-control appetite, what can you do about it? Think about the phrase “man given to appetite,.” When you give something away, you do it voluntarily. You make a choice.
Ask yourself: If you are giving yourself away to appetite, then what are you losing? You see, it takes time to practice overeating or binge-eating behaviors. When you give yourself away to your appetite, are you taking away from:
- Your relationship with God?
- Your family or friends?
- Fulfilling your destiny?
- Pursuing a cherished dream?
- Receiving joy from using your talents and gifts?
You cannot serve two masters (see Matthew 6:24). What if you instead gave yourself away to God instead of giving yourself away to appetite?
If you want to do this, the appetite suppressant in Proverbs says to put a “knife to your throat.” That is a strong image! Obviously this is not literal, but here's what it means.
If someone puts a knife to your throat, they will have your full attention, won't they? Not only that, but you’ll do what they say! The command is to focus your attention so that you can exercise self-control when your appetite throws a tantrum.
The problem is that many of us, from habit, are used to going unconscious when a thought to eat comes to mind. We'll give ourselves away to the food by placing large portions before ourselves that our body doesn't need, by returning to the kitchen automatically even though our stomach is already full, or if we are feeling emotional unsettled, we'll give ourselves away to food instead of giving ourselves away to God at that moment.
James 4:6-7 says that it takes humility to obey God's will and His grace: “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
Here are the 5 steps to take back control of your appetite:
1. Make a declaration at the beginning of your day, saying “God, I’m giving myself to you today, not to my appetite.” Decide in your heart that you are presenting your body to God (which belongs to Him anyway) for His purpose. Visualize giving yourself away to God as a gift easily and joyfully.
2. Since desire drives the appetite, declare to God in prayer that you want your desires to become His desires. Ask Him to change your desires into Godly ones this day.
3. Declare to God in prayer that you believe His word in 1 Corinthians 10:13: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
4. When your appetite tempts you to eat when your body is not hungry, re-affirm your decision to give yourself away to God. Pray to Him, saying that you expect to see an escape route according to His word and that you will wait to see the escape route that He provides. Then, you will take action on that.
In the meantime, start doing something that captures your attention. The mind cannot hold two thoughts at exactly the same time. So I recommend creating a list of 100 things that you want or need to do. A good place to start is those things you’ve been procrastinating on. Look at the list, pick out a task, and start working on it. Give your full attention to it and strive to do your best.
If you do this, then you'll learn that purposeful action can captivate you as much as eating used to!
5. Thank God at the end of the day for helping you to control your appetite as His word says. You will feel great when you see that it is possible to control your appetite! God will give you the grace and strength to do it each day. So praise Him.
Jesus says in Matthew 6:33-34, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things … ”
Take one day at a time, one moment at a time even as needed. As you give yourself away to God rather than your appetite, you will experience increased peace and joy in your life—the blessing that comes from right thinking and right living!
Kimberly Taylor is the author of “The Weight Loss Scriptures” and many other books. Once 240 pounds and a size 22, she can testify of God’s goodness and healing power. Visit takebackyourtemple.com and receive more free health and weight loss tips.