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Eating is something we have to do every day in order to provide fuel for our very human bodies. Because it's so mundane, it gets to be something we do without thinking. We don't eat by conscious rational choices; we eat with our own selfish interests as the motive. We deny ourselves nothing (see Luke 9:23).

Growing up in a Christian home, I knew the "rules" very well: Don't smoke or drink, don't do drugs, don't go to parties, don't hang around with people who do those things. My dad added: Don't go to movie theaters, don't wear shorts or pants and don't wear makeup or jewelry.

With all those don'ts, there seemed to be only two things we could do—go to church and eat, whatever, whenever and however much we wanted. I figured even God must not count calories or care how much we eat. Every Christian I knew enjoyed the benefits of the desserts, casseroles, sugar-filled salads, fried chicken, mashed potatoes and hot rolls at a church dinner

Food Became a Gray Area

It became a nebulous, gray area to me, one without specifics and with what felt like great rewards. That is, until I gained up to 430 pounds and a doctor told me I had five years to live. That was almost 20 years ago.

That's when I began to understand God's freedom means I am free to follow Him. He gave me a multiple-choice question with only two possible answers. Then, He went a step further and gave me the answer.

"Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!" (Deut. 30:19).

Choosing Life

When I chose life, I knew that meant I had to listen to what He'd told me years ago. I had to stop eating things made with sugar and flour and start eating more lean meats, fruits and vegetables.

The next verse told me how to follow the choice I made. "You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying Him, and committing yourself firmly to Him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give you" (Deut. 30:20).

There is no gray area with God. There is either follow what He says or don't. He always gives us the choice, though, and then rewards that choice with the closeness of His presence.

"When God fulfills your longings, sweetness fills your soul. But the wicked refuse to turn from darkness to see their desires come to pass" (Prov. 13:19, TPT).

Remember, there are no gray areas with God. Our choices will reap consequences, either positive or negative.

I chose to follow Him, and I'm so glad I did. Today, I've lost over 250 pounds simply by eating what I know He wants me to eat and abstaining from or fasting the foods that I had allowed to become addictive in my life.

It's easy and hard at the same time, but oh, so worth it.

Teresa Shields Parker is the author of seven books, all available on Amazon. Her latest book, Sweet Hunger: Developing an Appetite for God, is available now, and Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds is the No. 1 Christian weight-loss memoir. She is also a writing and weight-loss coach, blogger, speaker, wife and mother. Visit her online at TeresaShieldsParker.com to find her books, coaching programs and free gifts.

This article originally appeared at teresashieldsparker.com.

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