God’s first rule.
It was God who set up the first rule. “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17 (KJV)
It was almost like a diet. You can eat of every tree in the garden, except one. The first rule was about food. Of course we know disobedience to this rule is a more important concept than just not eating fruit from one tree. It was not like the fruit was poisonous even though God’s command made it sound poisonous. Eat it and die. Like Snow White who took a bite of the poisonous apple. Her excuse was she didn’t know it was poisonous. The tree of knowledge of good and evil was, however, edible. Edible doesn’t always mean good for you. This food had a two-edged sword. They thought it would make them as smart as God, knowing all good and evil. But God said it wasn’t good so leave it alone.
The penalty was death for eating this fruit. Death is a pretty good deterrent to rule breaking. Though we know the death penalty today doesn’t deter. Perhaps, you might say, that Adam and Eve did not know what death was. They didn’t know it meant separation from God and even physical death. Though the Word doesn’t say, I believe God had fully explained what these consequences were.
We know that Satan had a hand in the matter of persuading Eve to take a bite and give it to Adam who also took a bite. It’s amazing how close this parallels our eating habits and why we do what we know we shouldn’t do.
“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” Genesis 3:6 (KJV)
With the help of Satan, Eve rationalized her decision to go ahead in spite of the deadly consequences. Even in spite of the fact that God, their creator who they knew in a personal way, had told them not to eat.
It was good for food. No one knows what kind of fruit it was. It’s usually depicted as an apple but it could have been any fruit and probably one we no longer have available. I suspect it was one of a kind. It’s like walking down the aisle of a grocery store and seeing the delicious cookies filled with fat, sugar, and trans fat and saying they look good for food. The box says it’s a snack you must have. It’s pleasant to the eyes. In other words, it was appealing just from its looks. Wow, two delightful cookies with delicious white cream in the middle—sweet and tasty—yummy.
This is man’s propensity to control of his life: I don’t believe in no stinking rules. It just is a way for me to lose my freedom of choice. I won’t be told what to do. I know better. I can make my mind up. I don’t need a rule to take away my free choice.
Hate for Rules
So it started with Adam and Eve, and their first choice was to disobey God’s only rule for them. This nature—this Adamic natural—has filtered down to every man, woman, and child. It is the desire to break rules. It is the desire to direct our own destinies. We want to control as much of our life as possible.
Even the Apostle Paul struggled with this. Listen to what he says. “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.” Romans 7:14-21 (KJV)
It’s the part of us uncontrolled by the Spirit of God through our spirits. It’s that rebellious part of us that refuses to listen to God and follow his way. It’s the carnality in our souls that drives us to do it our way. Paul struggles with this as seen in Romans 7. That which he even hates he does. The sin nature is strong and holds a grip on our lives.
Being born again does not fully break that hold. The soul of man must be renewed daily. There is a progression of learning and training that the believer must embrace if he is to overcome that hold on his life. We need to learn that God’s way for us is the very best way. He isn’t controlling us; He is leading us into the blessing by teaching us the way to abundantly life.
So no wonder we struggle with dieting. It goes against our nature. We don’t like rules. We want to be in control. Dieting adds rules and takes away control. We have to find a way to accept the rules as not losing control but gaining freedom from unhealthy lifestyles that try to kill, steal, and destroy. We have to see that we are in control of what we decide to eat. We have more control then just letting food control us. We need to take the control and eat what we know is more healthy for us and to help us lose the weight we so desperately need to lose.
Embrace the Rules and Take Control
Rules are usually for our good. God’s rules are for getting the best in life. Pick the right diet and the rules are for getting the best out of life. It’s not that you can’t eat a brownie and occasionally you might, but it’s under your control. You can choose life or death, blessing or cursing. My suggestion is to choose life. A good diet can make a big difference in your quality of life.
So let’s take control and embrace the rules as the way to reaching our goals.
I saw this in a SparkPeople blog. If you believe the song lyrics, soap operas and romantic movies, loving another person more than you love yourself––or life itself––is enviable, even desirable. But what that sentiment actually refers to is codependency, defined as a relationship in which one person (or sometimes, both) loves the other to such a degree that they exclude their own needs, wants and desires. http://www.dailyspark.com/blog.asp?post=are_you_in_a_codependent_relationship
The article went on to show that it is unhealthy to depend on another person to your detriment. This is true in diet and exercise as well as other areas of life. I’ve read a lot of diet message boards where it is obvious that the person put themselves last rather than taking care of themselves. I think this pertains more to woman who have taken care of kids more than it pertains to men. Although come to think of it, I know a lot of men who don’t get the proper nutrition and exercise. They get involved in their work and don’t take time for themselves.
We need one another. We don’t do well when isolated from other people. Remember Tom Hanks in Castaways? He so badly needed companionship that he began to think of a volleyball he found as a companion calling him Wilson. Well, it was a Wilson volleyball. He was so sorry when he lost Wilson at sea.
The other end of the spectrum is that we depend on other people too much. My mother and my mother-in –law both never learned to drive. Actually my mother did but didn’t drive. They were dependent on their husbands to drive them. My mother walked a lot also. That wasn’t the kind of dependency that kept them from taking care of themselves. That was just the way it was with a one-car family.
Have you had a hero that let you down? Have you depended on someone and they let you down? People are often undependable. Being codependent on someone is a good way to fail in life because that person will let you down in some way, sometime, even if it’s just in your mind because your personal life goes unfulfilled.
When it comes to diet and fitness everyone must take care of themselves. No one can eat right for you or do your exercises. You have to do it. You have to take care of yourself. Hopefully you have a spouse who helps you and encourages you but isn’t codependent on you.
The only person we can totally depend on is God. Trust in the Lord, Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us in the Bible. There is a big difference in being selfless and selfish. The Bible teaches we are to put others first. But it also says to love your neighbor as yourself. Loving yourself means taking care of yourself. Walk in love with others and give selflessly to others but don’t let it keep you from taking care of yourself. After all, someone wants you around for a long time.
On researching the subject of gluttony as I think it certainly applies to diet, I came across this verse in the Bible. It’s a solemn finger pointed by God to the people of Samaria.
“Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. “ Ezekiel 16:49 (KJV)
Here the prophet Ezekiel compares Samaria with Sodom. He really makes it a serious statement as he calls Samaria a sister of Sodom. He said Samaria was in the same family as Sodom. We know God destroyed Sodom and here are many of the reasons He did so. Sodom had a lot more sins than homosexual sin. They had sins like pride, idleness, and fullness of bread. They were just sitting around eating—overeating. He said they were full of it. It’s interesting that God pointed out this serious problem.
Of course, Ezekiel isn’t just saying bread alone but all kinds of food—overeating. I know people who have cut out all bread. Bread is a problem for those on diets. But bread is also all other processed foods, junk foods, and foods that carry no nutrient value.
This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have enough to eat. It’s overeating that is the problem. I’ve stated this before in my blogs that dieting and food aren’t the whole of life. There are more unselfish considerations to make. Sodom didn’t help the poor and needy. They were overeating while the poor went hungry. This is what God hated. He supplies extra so we can help others in need.
Being on a diet is one thing, but are you looking past yourself to the needs of others. Maybe you don’t have extra. Then you do what you can. Maybe you help at a soup kitchen or a thrift store or help in a food pantry. These don’t require your money but only your time. God doesn’t want us overeating at the expense of the poor and needy.
This is a serious accusation. If you need to lose weight because you are overweight, then you must eat less than your body needs. Fill up on fruits and vegetables. That means no more fullness of bread—that is no more stuffing your face with junk.
This involves the sin of gluttony. The early church called it one of the seven deadly sins. That’s another subject we will have to investigate. The point we are making here is that gaining weight means you are eating more than your body needs. For whatever the reason or excuse, extra food is for giving and not for eating.
Let’s face the fact and be real: food restrictions are not fun especially when you desire to get off excess weight which you need for health. Redirecting your food intake to better choices is a better way to work through the maze of getting healthy. When you participate in various diet types you’ll find some that are very successful for you; others not so much because the restrictions leave you in a dilemma and your body craves the “forbidden” foods. There is a healthy balance in eating healthy. I know from experience that when you cut out so many “calories” and healthy foods and supplement your ‘diet’ with lots of exercise, in order to keep your weight where you want it, you’ll have to continue doing the same thing. Don’t get me wrong. Exercise is good and a continual routine of it is fine….just don’t let it become an obsession. When it becomes an obsession, then you’ve gone over into a legalistic approach to eating healthy and solely following that law will at some point leave you frustrated, fed up, and discouraged.
Let me show you the connection that is often times missed—a spiritual component. The fourteenth chapter of Romans talks about eating and drinking and what constitutes “religious” requirements to gain a deeper spiritual experience. In chapter 14, verse 17 Paul says that the Kingdom of God is NOT meat and drink. If you’re so ‘religious’ about your eating, you are putting the cart before the horse. If you’ve become overly concerned about your eating that you miss the joy of living God intended for you, you may have stepped over into legalistic dieting. Legalistic dieting is just as dangerous as legalistic religion because it demands you follow the list of do’s and don’ts to the letter or you’ll be left out. With the legalistic approach, you are the one who is doing everything; therefore, if you don’t do the required eating regiment, the correct amount of calorie burn through exercise, you come up short and in the long-term can feel frustrated and defeated. As you age, you it will be more difficult to keep up with a 10-mile walk a day or lifting weights that the younger set can do easily. There’s a balance here, and the balance is understanding that you don’t need tied to the legalistic dieting. Learn good eating habits. Follow good exercises that you enjoy, and learn to appreciate the life God has given you. The Kingdom of God, that is, God’s rule and reign in your life is not restricted by what you eat or what you drink OR by what you don’t eat or drink. God’s Kingdom and His reign in your everyday affairs is based on what He’s already provided for you and your accepting His provisions. When you find your balance and deliverance from the legalistic dieting, you’ll be able to embrace the results of God’s provisions—peace, joy, and being in a right relationship with Him—as His loved child. This is the basis and framework for a healthy lifestyle. Learn or relearn to eat healthy, say no to poor food choices and yes to good, healthy foods. Embrace a balance of exercise so you can continue to strong and able to do things. As you do, you’ll truly enjoy more of the good life God intended for you to have.