23 May Is Overeating a Sin?
Do you struggle with overeating? Is your relationship with food affecting your relationship with the Lord? We may be quick to answer no, but answer the questions below to see if your walk with God is being stalled by food:
- Have you repeatedly tried to stop overeating?
- Do you jump at the chance to try any new diet that promises results?
- Are you consistently blaming others or your surroundings for your failure?
- Have you tried to convince yourself that you could lose weight if you really wanted to?
- Is any pleasure you get from eating is short lived?
- Do you feel guilty or feel like you have no willpower after a binge?
- Are you prone to overeat when no one is watching?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then food is affecting your relationship with the Lord. So is overeating a sin? Let’s go to God’s word and find out.
What does God’s Word say?
Philippians 3:19, “Their end is their destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.”Isaiah 29:15, “Woe to those who deeply hide their plans from the LORD, And whose deeds are done in a dark place, And they say, “Who sees us?” or “Who knows us?”
So when we consistently eat for the wrong reasons, in excessive amounts, and hide our eating, then yes, I believe it is. Anything that keeps us from living in freedom is sin.
Now, this post isn’t about making you feel bad, but if you struggle with overeating, then my guess is you already feel bad, I know because I’ve been there. You likely feel bad because you know it’s keeping you from God’s best. This isn’t about judging, it’s about admitting that we have a spiritual problem so we can begin to deal with it in a spiritual way, and get relief and peace God’s way.
The Root of Overeating
At the root of overeating is the sin of idolatry. We have allowed food, feelings, and cravings to determine what we do, how much we eat, and the way we feel about ourselves. Essentially, we’re taking orders from food instead of being ruled by the Holy Spirit. We’re putting our faith in diets to make us happy, give us peace and help us feel better. Aren’t those all things we’re supposed to go to the Lord for?
John 14:27 “I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”Romans 8:4 “Now we do not live following our sinful selves, but we live following the Spirit.”
The truth is, that when we chase after food to give us comfort or we overeat instead of having self-control, we’re creating an idol out of something that God originally created to be good, useful, and tasty. All idols are sad, inadequate replacements for the true love, comfort, and peace that God brings.
How You can Break Free
So you don’t want to live this way. But how do you break free? We begin by taking food off it’s pedestal and put it in it’s proper place in our lives. Here are a few steps:
1. Admit that overeating is a spiritual problem and it needs a spiritual solution.
Diets can’t deal with the spiritual side overeating, they can only deal with the symptoms. But what if you were suffering from an allergic reaction to cotton. You went to the doctor and he puts bandages all over your arms and torso, the rashes go away but as soon as you get dressed the next morning, they come back. So everyday you go back to the doctor to put bandages on. If you were allergic to cotton, wouldn’t you just stop wearing clothes made out of cotton?
Diets are the same way. They only deal with the symptoms, not the problem of overeating. That’s why every time you get off a diet, the weight comes back on. Because you’re not dealing with the spiritual problem.
2. Begin to see yourself the way God sees you.
Begin to think about what you’re thinking about. Are your thoughts lining up with God’s word? Are you believing what magazine covers and instagram feeds say about your body? Or are you believing what God says about you? As you begin to appreciate the body God has given you, it will develop a sense of responsibility in you to take care of it.
3. Let obedience define your success, not the scale.
At the beginning of this year, I put away my scale. I had grown tired of the scale defining my success and my day. Everyday, I would step on the scale and look to it to decide if I was good or bad, if I was acceptable or rejected, if I was good enough or not enough. So, I let it go in an effort to find a different way to define my success.
Next, I began to define my success in terms of obedience instead of the three numbers on the scale. Did that mean that I ate whatever I wanted? Of course not! My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and I didn’t want to treat it like trash. But it did mean that I started paying more attention to my body and let it determine how I felt and what I ate, instead of looking to the scale to do that for me.
A Better Way to Determine Success
Instead of looking to the scale, ask yourself these four simple questions each day:
Did I eat in secret today?Have I gone to food for comfort?Were there any times that I ate when I wasn’t hungry?Was I faithful to stop eating when I felt full?
When you answer those questions, and base your success on your obedience to God, that pleases Him. So instead of food keeping you from the Lord, it draws you to Him!
I know that can be easier said than done, so I want to give you a free resource to help jump start you to freedom from overeating. Freedom will always begin with internalizing God’s truth, so I want to give you a free PDF print out of over 30 verses. I guarantee that if you will read these verses daily, commit some to memory, and begin to live them out, you will see a difference in your life! Plus as a bonus in this workbook, I’m going to give you a practical exercise I use to avoid emotional eating myself.
Do you want to dig deeper into your emotional eating and be free from diets? Check out Ashley’s 90 Day Program FAITH FOOD FREEDOM.