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The Eating thing

Let me share with you a fairly personal issue that I’m working through that has caused me to ask this question about loving God.

Last year – in fact for a number of years now I have been aware that I have been struggling with an addiction. As soon as I say the word it arouses concern in us – and rightly so because addictive behaviour is unhealthy and destructive. And if you’re like me you probably wonder what is it – drugs, pornography, alcohol, gambling – what’s he into?

If I told you that the addiction I struggle with is eating you probably breathe a sigh of relief – you might even say look at me and say ‘hey its no big deal’ because it doesn’t show in any visible way – I’m not fat and I’m reasonably fit. But in that there is a deception.

And maybe its not an all consuming desire at the moment – but I’m aware and I have been aware for some time that my relationship with food (if you can call it that!) is unhealthy. I have felt for some time that I am not in control of my eating – egs – can’t walk past a bakery, dreaming about food – and yet it seems normal – food is something I love – something that makes me feel good – when I’m down I eat – in fact when I’m ‘up’ I eat. I eat most of the time – when I’m not eating I’m thinking about when I will be eating – my favourite words are ‘all you can eat’ – I tend to take them quite literally. I just love to eat – I don’t eat because I’m hungry – I eat because I enjoy the sensual pleasure of taste. Eating makes me feel good and some foods make me feel better than others. I rarely get stuck on cabbage or weet bix, but I can put away some cheesecake and some pizza.

Eating is something I love to do. And I want to say in ‘parenthesis’ that God is good because he has allowed us to enjoy taste. We could so easily have been created with fuel tanks rather than taste buds – God has given us the gift of pleasure thru taste. He’s made so many things enjoyable rather than just functional. Sex could have been a handshake – but he made it something a bit better than that. God has given us pleasures to enjoy – even at the risk of us enjoying them more than him. Which is were I felt I was getting to.

Late last year I started to realise this was a problem – and it was highlighted when I felt God challenging me this year to practice the spiritual discipline of fasting. I had only ever fasted once before – I told people the only thing I gained from it was a greater appreciation of food. I was fairly resistant to the idea – which actually started alarm bells ringing again. I realised that I loved food too much to go a day or two without it.

I felt though that God was saying this so I decided to bite the bullet and do it. But I wanted to understand a bit more about fasting so on the way to Port Lincoln last week I was read John Piper’s book ‘Hungry For God’ and in the preface I had a ‘lights on’ moment. I saw what was happening in my life – not just with food.

As I read the intro I knew I was onto something – the first sentence says ‘Beware of books on fasting’ I like this guy already! So many fasting books seem to promise that God will change the world if I go without food and pray. Maybe he will, but it seemed that in some of these fasting became a bit of divine arm twisting –...

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