The Battle of the Bulge
(No, this is not a story about World War II)
By Terry Gardner
I love food! Well not all food. I can do without broccoli and cauliflower. Other than that I enjoy a good meal. I am especially fond of sweets. Jan Brantly’s banana pudding, Sandy Cain’s sweet Christmas candy and my wife’s cakes, cookies and pies all rate very high on my enjoyment meter.
Five weeks ago I got on a scale and it registered 225 pounds. That is overweight for a man who is 6’ tall. To be more blunt, that is fat or as the doctor would say, “obese.” Of course, I do not like any of these terms and in correct society we avoid using most of them in speaking of ourselves or of others. But I have found that while others will lie to me the scale always speaks the truth … and not necessarily in love.
The first sin involved food. God told Adam and Eve they could eat of any tree in the garden except the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. However, the serpent made a powerful argument for Eve to ignore God. The serpent told Eve that if she ate of the tree her eyes would be opened and she would be like God “knowing good from evil.” On her own, Eve seems to have observed that “the tree was good for food” and the fruit “was a delight to the eyes.” We all know the rest of this sad story.
John tells us that we are all led into every kind of sin exactly like Eve was led into her sin. John wrote, “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of flesh (Eve saw it was good for food), and the lust of eyes (the fruit was a delight to Eve’s eyes) and the boastful pride of life (eating the fruit would make Eve like God, able to discern good from evil), is not from the Father, but is from the world.” I John 2:15-16. The devil has not improved upon these three ways of tempting mankind from the days Eve until now.
God made food and drink for man to enjoy, but to consume either to excess destroys us physically and spiritually. Solomon warns us to avoid those who drink too much or those who eat too much because either activity will destroy you. Prov. 23:20-21. Solomon wrote, “He who keeps the law is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father.” Prov. 28:7. The Christian knows that one of the fruits of the Spirit is “self-control” … that is the ability to say “no” to anything in excess.
A few years ago Connie was teaching her class of five year olds. The lesson was about the walls of Jericho and for mortar Connie used homemade cream cheese icing. After Addie Grace had built the walls of Jericho with her icing and graham crackers she ate a little bit of the icing, and then a little bit more, and then a little bit more and then she looked at Connie with wondering eyes and said, “Why can’t I stop eating this!” Most of us know exactly how Addie Grace felt. The fact is there are certain kinds of processed a food that I will never be able to eat “just one” of and that’s not just Lays Potato Chips! So to conquer this sin I have found there are some foods I will simply have to avoid entirely. I do not like this fact, but it is a fact nevertheless.
Jesus tells us that anything that leads us to sin should be “cut off” and eliminated for it is better to give that thing up than “for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” Matt. 5:29. Paul reminds us that we must “discipline” our body and make it our slave. I Cor. 9:27. These are hard lessons.
So how am I doing on this challenge? So far so good but then I’ve only made it for five weeks. Much is yet to be done and this is a daily battle. If you are fighting this same fight remember that God will help us overcome, pray to him and cast your care on him and know what your weaknesses are … there are some foods you may simply be unable to eat … at least that is true for me. I will still love food, but some of it will be loved from a distance. On the other hand, Jan’s banana pudding seems like an appropriate reward once I’ve lost the weight I need to lose … doesn’t it?