I have spent many of my years fighting the battle of the bulge and trying every "new" quick-fix diet that came along! I was in total bondage to food and thinking about food all the time, going up and down the scale.
My finances also felt the effect as I bought a new size trying to cover the sin. I went from a rebellious attitude to pity parties, feeling sorry for myself as I ate my way out of another depression.
I was born again, a pastor's wife and a Bible teacher traveling through the world bringing encouragement. Sounds like a double life.
God was so faithful, and I never doubted that God loved me. I always had the desire in my heart to overcome this battle God's way.
One day God got my attention. I saw a sign that said, "The devil wants you fat!" That hit home. I hate the devil and certainly did not want to please him. I decided that day I would never again try a "new" quick fix from the world.
I cried out to the Lord, "Lord, I need a word from You." I knew God's voice. The first time I ever read John 10:4 (NKJV), "... and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice," I longed to hear His voice.
For whatever reason, I had really never turned to God about the weight issue. The church I was raised in was centered on the "potluck," and all our fellowship was around food. Then I joined another denomination and felt guilty because I was not a size 10 in designer clothes.
One day while having my devotions, the Lord whispered to me quietly, "Break the habit." I knew exactly what the Lord was talking about! Break the habit! Is that all there is to it? Well, I soon found out a habit that is embedded in your soul with strongholds is not easy to break, and the devil is certainly not giving up without a battle.
From the day I saw the sign, "The devil wants you fat," and the Holy Spirit brought to my remembrance the Scripture, John 10:10 (NKJV), "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly," I knew my deliverance had come.
From that moment I made a commitment to reclaim and maintain my state of health for the purpose of pursuing the Great Commission.
After surrendering my food addiction to the Lord, He gave me a battle plan that took 80 pounds from my body.
We say, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil. 4:13, NKJV). Now I am living proof that this is true. God has given me a renewed vision of helping people find freedom from the food trap that Satan has used since the Garden to cause people to stumble.
The church recognizes the health risks of smoking, alcohol abuse, pornography and other addictive habits but doesn't dare talk about food. We need to look at the statistics. The Christian church is one of the largest obese groups in America.
Why are we killing ourselves? It is time for the church to wake up to this need in society. Dr. Scott Stoll said, "Churches across America stand at a critical crossroad urgently in need of a decision to be a cause or a cure to the growing epidemic of disease and obesity. But in the midst of every crisis is an opportunity."
The world recognizes the crisis we are in due to obesity. With the rise in health-related diseases, health costs have taken a toll on everyone. The church holds the solution for all the challenges we face on the runway of life and could reverse the obesity trend and be a positive influence and resource to the community.
The Word of God addresses the issues of eating, indulgence, self-control, self-discipline and gluttony, but I rarely hear a sermon on being a good steward of our physical bodies. The answer to the obesity crisis in the church is the church itself. The church could provide community and fellowship including faith-based teachings on health, focusing on the body, the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
Many people, like me, have just not connected obesity through the lens of the Word of God. I thank God every day for His deliverance and for my health. I have been set free from the bondage of diets.
Join the walk to honor God with your body.
Joyce Tilney is founder of Women of God Ministries, teaching women today from women of yesterday. She is also author of the book, Why Diets Don't Work—Food Is Not the Problem. For more information of her walk in overcoming her bondage to diets, visit her website: www.whydiets. For information about her ministry to women, visit www.wogministries.com.
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