Romans: Day 36

The Law of Love

by

Today's Text: Romans 14:13-23, 1 Corinthians 8:8-13, Ephesians 4:25-32, Ephesians 5:1-2

Scripture Reading: Romans 14:13-23, 1 Corinthians 8:8-13, Ephesians 4:25-32, Ephesians 5:1-2

I’ve always heard this passage in Romans 14 interpreted according to clothing, music, alcohol, smoking, and more—all in terms of “not being a stumbling block for others.” I was tender to my power to be a stumbling block of every sort, both to the believing and the unbelieving, checking over my shoulder to see the carnage I’d left in my wake. Truth was, I left hardly any, but it didn’t stop me from metaphorically cutting off arms and legs, gouging out eyes and the like, in pursuit of protecting my brothers and sisters.

The Christian life, I thought, was more about what I couldn’t do than what I could.

How glorious, then, when the true gospel began to take root in my heart. I began to understand that freedom in Christ meant I was truly free to live. As it turns out, Christ had declared me more than clean. He’d declared me redeemed.

For all the ways I’d formerly applied this passage, though, the one I’d not considered was food. I knew all food had been declared clean, that we’re no longer under the law of Moses in our dietary restrictions. But what I didn’t understand was the law of our current world with regard to food: the diet and exercise industry. Everywhere I look, the acceptable Christian message of caring for the temple of the Holy Spirit turns into what I imagine Paul might’ve called the “god of the belly” (Philippians 3:19).

In Philippians 3, Paul warns of the dangers of gluttony. But today, in modern culture, the opposing god—though a no less despicable one—is the one who demands less food, more restrictions, better supplements, flatter stomachs, tighter abs, and the list goes on. In an attempt to care for the temples of the Holy Spirit with eating and exercising, we can destroy our bodies (which are wasting away, whether we like it or not) and cause harm to the impressionable hearts and minds of others who jump on every new regime or diet we offer.

We want to be well, to eat healthy, whole, good food. We love the rhythms of feasting and fasting we see in Scripture. We want to move our bodies, staying limber and active. But we don’t want to destroy our hearts by lusting after what we don’t have: slimmer physiques and sculpted thighs. We don’t want to destroy our bodies by rebounding from one quick-fix supplement to another. We don’t want to destroy our minds by believing our approval comes from certain lifestyles or appearances.

There are countless difficulties in life, opportunities to be divided over race, gender, theology, and history. And food, instead of becoming a means to crush those divides—to draw near to one another, armed with soups, fruits, breads, vegetables, and meats—has become one more line of division.

Christ died for all; this is what the Bible says. I don’t want to be known by what I eat or don’t eat. I want to be known by how I love and Who I’m loved by.

So then, let us pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another. Do not tear down God’s work because of food (Romans 14:19-20).

Whatever struggle you’re caught in the throes of today, know that you are loved by Christ. He spread His own body, bleeding and broken, to fit a cross you could never bear on your own. Don’t destroy your own body by what you do or don’t eat. Christ died for all—every curve, every bulge, and every stretch-mark—all of it.

For “the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). God gives us food as a means of provision, not division. Instead of fostering false divisions today, let’s bake a cake, make a soup or a sandwich, and share it with someone in the pursuit of peace.

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Lore Ferguson Wilbert is a writer, thinker, and learner. She blogs at Sayable, and tweets and instagrams at @lorewilbert. She has a husband named Nate, a puppy named Harper Nelle, and too many books to read in one lifetime.

  • Emily Smith

    “I want to be known by how I love and Who I’m loved by.” I really love what you said there! I want people to look at me and see Jesus’s love displayed!

  • PronetoWander

    Something I thought about this weekend was, is it a stumbling block to them or their legalistic views of Christianity? Should I change the way I live to fit into a mold that someone else approves of? I think the answer is no! Showing Christ’s love in whatever I do is more important than me making sure whatever I do can be seen as acceptable to everyone’s personal opinions. If someone thinks I’m not a Christian because I drink wine, I think them wrestling though that with God could be a good thing. Christianity is not a set of rules. It’s freedom! And if we love God we won’t take that as a free ticket, we want to serve him! I want to serve God with my life not obey commands of people who set rules and standards we can never achieve. I want to show love not laws.

  • When eating almost anything it is a constant reminder to me that we need something outside of ourselves to sustain us… a reminder how much we need Jesus If you eat 3 meals a day, plus communion you get 22 times a week to be reminded of Gods provision and to experience a foretaste of heaven by the food we are blessed with!

  • Juleeta C Harvry

    Thank you for this post. My dear friend forwarded it to me, and your words further encourage me to write about body image as it reflects our pursuing God’s truth. Well done, sister!
    I would appreciate any feedback you have, especially on any of the February posts.
    http://www.juleetacharvey.org

  • SRT, i know you mean well with this one – but can we talk about all the OTHER things besides food that Paul could be addressing here?? For example, in many states marijuana is legal, and since it grows on its own and can be consumed unaltered, some may say God designed it for our consumption! But this can be a huge roadblock for new and seasoned Christians alike. Even if it’s not something I struggle with, my casual acceptance and talk of such can hinder others from drawing near to God. Lord help us not be a stumbling block to our brothers and sisters with ANY of our actions, not only with the foods we eat or don’t eat! And let everything we say and do be a beacon to point other people to you. Use our intentions, God, when our behavior doesn’t line up!! And help us honor YOU in everything we do.

  • I agree that we should not partake in unhealthy diets, and that we should not judge others by what they eat, but gosh, food is a tricky thing…what’s healthy for some is not healthy for others. We’re all different.

    I’m going to be a little transparent here and say that it can be a little frustrating that the church often times feels like a stumbling block in terms of food with their over promotion of sugar.

    I am a licensed health coach and I’ve done a lot of research on the effects of sugar, how addictive it is, and how it is a direct CAUSE of disease…those of us who know that are trying to avoid it…and then we go to church to find cookies and donuts thrown at our children and touted as celebratory foods.

    We were raised to believe that sugar = celebration. Why…you can’t have a birthday without cake right? But what if we changed that story…and made celebrations about being together and eating foods that aren’t classified as addictive.

    Sugar IS addictive and it affects the brain the same way cocaine does. Studies have proven this over and over. I wish churches weren’t tempting their adults and spoon feeding this poison to our kids.

    I know lots of people will think I’m over-reacting, but sugar really is the new “cigarettes”. 30 years from now, people will say, “I should really quit, but I just didn’t know it was bad then..”

    I’m not saying this to spread negativity, because that is SO not me, but if this post causes at least one person to think more about this, I’d really love that. I hope these ideas are accepted with open minds and hearts. I love that this place where women can share authentically is here. Love you ladies!! ❤️

    • Kylee

      Molly I needed to read this! Today is my first day sugar free for ALL of the reasons you mentioned. I was feeling a bit let down by the resolve at the end of this devotional to “bake a cake,” because baking brownies/cookies/cakes is exactly how I got into this mess! I believe sugar is completely addictive and have seen the effects of that addiction run rampant in my family – and am trusting God to rid me of this habit so I can be a help to others struggling with this addiction to sugar. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Shannon

      I don’t know if you’ll see this as I’m SO late with this devotion. But this is EXACTLY what was going through my mind while reading this. Although I do agree we shouldn’t get tooo obsessed with food, I also find the same in church or Christians. That they DONT CARE about what they consume, when we absolutely SHOULD! If we are indeed Gods temple, we ought to be taking care of it. Of course there’s grace for all in all, but I’ve seen the opposite from what the author is trying to get at.

  • Amen!!!!!

  • Jordan M Taylor

    Lore,
    gosh dangit. Your devotions always make me cry. This one in particular as this has been a recent theme of my life.

    I am grossly overweight. (Obese is the technical term). A combination of food addiction, emotional eating, and genetics put me in a precarious position at the ripe ol’ age of 25. I’m working on it, through therapy and a doctor who is supportive and helpful (instead of wagging her finger at me). It’s something I have finally realized I have to deal with before it deals with me.
    I’ve battled this weight thing my whole life. And my family has done nothing but perpetuate it, guilting and shaming me for my weight (and making me fear trying to lose it if i didn’t do it the “right” way). Growing up, it was my grandmother– she put me on diet after diet, complained about my weight, called me fat… you name it, she did it. I was constantly compared to skinnier cousins/family members, and told “if only you’d lose weight, then you could ____.” And yet she didn’t realize this was causing me to eat MORE because I have a tendency to eat my feelings.
    As I’ve gotten older, my grandmother’s voice in my head has died down, but my mother has taken over.
    I recently transitioned out of an internship and am in-between jobs, so I moved back in with my mom. She’s one of my biggest triggers when it comes to anything weight-related. I eat a meal, she comments. I don’t eat a meal, she comments. Then she brings home fast food or something of the sort. Because my life isn’t full of irony as is. ;)
    We’ve had an argument about food almost every.single.day. since I moved home 3 weeks ago. She thinks the solution is for me to just not eat at all basically (which my doctor obviously does NOT advocate, along with most sane people!).

    Food and weight have always been an idol in my life, but I really don’t think it hit me how much so until I read these verses and this devotional. There’s so much guilt and shame everytime I look in the mirror or hear my weight at the doctor’s office, or everytime I eat something unhealthy. It’s so hard to lose weight with those voices following you around. I want to be healthy, of course, but I also want to be free from feeling like I have to be a certain weight or eat a certain way (for my mother’s sake). I want to be free from the guilt and shame attached to my weight, and free from the voices that ring in my ear from being “plus-sized.”
    Reading this devotional today was a sweet relief. As I was reading, I felt the spirit prompt me: “this doesn’t need to have a foothold in your life.” my mom, my grandmother, the shame and guilt… they’ve been such a foothold in this journey of mine, that’s it become near impossible to even try losing weight. I don’t need that to keep me from being the healthiest daughter of God I can be. He’s called me to a full life on earth, and I know I need to get my health in check to do that– but I can do it without the foothold of my mother’s complaining or the shame I’ve felt for so long about the scale.

    Sorry for my rambling wordiness… but I needed to get this out. This devotional opened my eyes and it may have opened a can of worms, but I’m so grateful. <3

    • Carlee

      Jordan, thank you for your honesty. What a battle! I am praying for you today; praying that you would see yourself as the daughter of the most-high God. He loves and adores you. There sounds like there are many layers to healing for you. I pray the Spirit would give you discernment on where to start. I agree that you are called to fullness in Him. I pray for a renewing of your mind, that weight loss will be the by-product of a deep work of healing in your heart. Start by seeing your self rightly before your Creator…He thinks you are beautiful. I will continue to pray for you!

    • Sarahlet

      Thank you for sharing Jordan! Praying that you would be encouraged in your journey!

    • Joyce

      I’m in such a similar boat as you, Jordan. You are so kind and beautiful and brave.

      I pray everyday that the Lord would guide my heart. I pray that I want him more than I want (fill in the blank; e.g., my own house, physical beauty, to be right…). I pray for both of us that the Lord would be more than enough for all our needs and that He would fill every empty or desperate place in our hearts.

      Ann Voskamp’s most recent blog post has been encouraging for me today: http://annvoskamp.com/2017/07/how-these-3-words-can-stop-whats-stealing-your-joy-instead-of-staying-stuck-in-the-competing-and-comparing-rat-race/

    • Jenna

      Thank you for your vulnerability. Praying for your home environment. You are on the right track, these truths you are uncovering, your triggers, how you are leaning into them, you are on the right path. Keep listening, keep taking every step forward, keep fighting to hear God’s voice louder and clearer than all the others. Freedom will be found!

  • Amen! Thank you for this strong encouragement!

  • My heart is bursting! This message is the stuff that gets me up in the morning; the stuff that keeps me pushing on in an industry that tears down. I am in the fitness industry, and God has been leading me to redeem pieces of it for His glory. Specifically, the idea that we are all unique, fearfully and wonderfully made. If we all go about trying to be the same thing; we lie to ourselves, and become complacent in our pursuit for Kingdom come. Today’s message is about celebrating the ways in which YOU find holy-health. Sisters, be encouraged that you are unique, and that your path to wholeness is unique to YOU. This is my passion: to help my family in Christ discover the ways in which their bodies can move for the glory of our King. What works for you might not work for the masses. I sincerely believe, that when you invite the Holy Spirit into this area of your life, He will make a path where there doesn’t seem to be one. Prov 31:17 “She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.” Sisters, being strong physically will help you set about your God-given task. Be encouraged! If you are feeling road-blocked, message me, I will offer my best to your process.

  • Christina

    This is convicting this morning. I really need to evaluate whether my pursuit is healthy or idolatrous. This comes in the midst of a round of Whole30, and the Whole30 came around because I was feeling rotten, bloated, yucky, etc., etc. I don’t want to be known by what I’m not eating right now, although the people I’m around the most know what my husband and I are doing. Thank you for reminding me to be moderate and to promote fellowship, not stand against it in my pursuit of health.

    • Hailey T.

      Good luck on Whole 30, Christina. I’ve done it a couple of times and have found Joy in praising God for how colorful the food I eat is on Whole 30….it’s pretty hard not to have a beautiful plate when you’re doing it! Praying for your discernment of truth during this time of discipline.

  • Thank you SRT for doing this study! I have read Romans so many times but never quite understood it. The Holy Spirit is really speaking through it to me this summer and I’m so incredibly thankful!! Thank you!!

  • Kristel Kazda

    This is amazing and so good for the soul. I truly love this perspective of scripture and I will be sharing this with others because it really helped me. From someone who has been in the diet world since being a little girl this resonates with me. Thank you for sharing and I cannot wait to read more of your posts on your blog. He loves me just as I am.

  • Kasey Summers

    Amen!! 38 weeks pregnant and having lots of stretch marks and even more pains w contractions starting… I needed to be reminded that God died for all of me and loves me just as I am this morning! His love is always enough.

    • Beth S

      I am 35 weeks pregnant with my 2nd and was just looking at all my stretch marks last night, noticing how I have even more new ones, some on top of my old ones, and thinking that I don’t feel very lovely. I appreciate seeing that I’m not the only one going through this right now, and it’s encouraging to be reminded that God loves all of me, too. Thank you for posting this. :)

  • Wow thank you Lore! I’ve always just kinda skipped over this passage of Romans. You brought an entirely new meaningful significance to it that I can’t help but ignore! What a tricky one to interpret, but you made it so simple!

  • Chapter 14 has been my Freedom Chapter. I have loved every word of this chapter. From today’s reading if I had to pick the one that just had me so excited was v19, “So then, let us pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another.” My Rhema for the day! Love, love, love this Chapter!!! I pray that you each found a blessing in this Chapter.

  • Sincere question: Where in the Bible does Jesus declare all foods clean? I know about that phrase in parenthesis found in Scripture, but it was added many years later by an uninspired man, which is why it is in parenthesis. I also know about the dream/vision, but this was not about food, but about accepting the Gentiles.

    • Lizzieb85

      I’m not sure it is expressly written out, but it is implied on the basis that the old covenant & levitical law is rendered obsolete by Jesus’ death & resurrection. He is the new covenant. We are free from the law because belief in Jesus means we are no longer under the law, but under grace.

      • CF

        I do appreciate your reply. My husband and I are on a spiritual journey trying to understand exactly how to love and serve God. We have grown up in the church but are beginning to question things we have been taught. We are constantly seeking answers, so please don’t be offended by my questions; they are sincere, and we just want to grow our faith and relationship with God.

        One of my other questions is this: God established those food laws because He knew those animals were extremely unhealthy and only wants the best for our lives, more so for our temples, which are our bodies. To eat something unclean such as pork would be defiling our temples. So why would Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection remove this law? It would be like saying God no longer cares about our health. Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection didn’t change how unhealthy a pig is, so I’m struggling to understand why God now would allow for us to eat pork. Please shed any light you may have on this.

        Another question is this: If we are no longer supposed to worry about keeping the Old Covenant laws, why then do we continue to keep, for example, 9 of the 10 commandments? Those are part of the old covenant, so why are those still relevant?

        My husband and I have so many questions and are desperately searching for answers, which is why I posted here in this comment section.

        • Lizzieb85

          Interesting. I’ve never looked into it myself, I was just sharing what I’ve been told. I have no answers for you (with regards to unclean vs clean) & may even look further into this myself. I would say, overall, go with what you feel the Holy Spirit is directing you to. (And to be honest, I think a lot of us eat a lot of stuff that is not great for our temples, not just pork.) I think that those types of convictions are what Paul is talking about. Do I think I am sinning when I eat a bowl of icecream? No. But maybe I am because I am not honoring the body God gave me. I think there are people out there who really DO take very good care of their bodies as an act of worship & thankfulness. But there are a lot of people who don’t. We are NOT considered righteous because we are a perfection of health, but we (Christians) are also not condemned because we are not. That is where the freedom comes in. I eat pork. I eat icecream. The Bible is explicit about the pork. It is not about the icecream. How do you draw that line? I dunno. But that’s where there is freedom. I will not judge someone who does not eat pork based on their personal convictions. But then I hope I am not judged (spiritually) for eating icecream.

          With regards to the 10 commandments, Jesus does reiterate that those are to be upheld. He says the greatest commandment is to love the Lord with your whole self. This encompasses commandments 1-4. Then he says the second greatest is to love others more than you would yourself– actually, to love them as HE loved us, completely & self-sacrificially. This encompasses commandments 6-10. But again: we are not considered righteous because we are the best neighbor ever. And we (as Christians) are not condemned because we aren’t.

          Any & all sin condemns us. But ONLY belief in Jesus as Lord & Savior saves/redeems us. When we believe, we are cleansed of ALL sin, past present & future. When we put our faith in Jesus & His work on the cross, nothing else we do can separate us & condemn us eternally. Does our sin still hurt us? Yes. But it does not condemn us. Will eating pork hurt us? Yes. But it will not condemn us. (And then this goes back to the “What then” passages in Romans about continuing in sin because grace is abundant. But there are things that are not explicit in scripture & we are all just doing our best. And that looks different for everyone.)

          I hope that helps a little bit. I feel like I may have rambled.

  • “Don’t destroy your heart by lusting after what you don’t have. […] I don’t want to be known by what I eat or don’t eat. I want to be known by how I love and Who I’m loved by.”
    This REALLY made my day.

  • At the risk of sounding shallow…So much of the beauty images in our society are unique to our culture-living in China as a red headed person with untannable skin I realize how what is beautiful in Caucasian western culture (tan) is considered ugly in another (in ancient times the rich women could sit inside and preserve their fair skin while the manual laboror women had brown weathered skin). For the first time in my life I have zero pressure to get a tan and it is revolutionary!!! when that issue is completely off the table it is just a small taste of that freedom that we will wholly experience when we are in eternity with Christ.

    • Becky

      What an interesting observation! I love those glimpses of the heavenly home we are looking forward to.

  • I’ll gladly delete if this isn’t allowed, but would you guys pretty please like and share my mom’s Facebook page? She’s trying her hardest to start up her own business after all her years as a homeschool mom. She is a photographer who does FANTASIC work, but she’s having some trouble with getting bookings. So, likes, shares, and prayers? Thanks!

    https://www.facebook.com/debbielphotography/

  • I honestly love today’s reading and the comments. It touched me on a personal level and I had to stop every 5 words to write it down in my notebook because of how much I loved it. Thank you so much.

  • I am in tears. I don’t know what else to say except that this spoke so deeply into my heart .

  • This spoke to my heart. I struggled severely (and still do to some extent) from an eating disorder for 10+ years. My faith and Christs sweet love has given me the knowledge that WHO I am in Christ is more important and more precious than who I am in the WORLD. This passage is life-giving. It’s so important to be reminded that Christ doesn’t love us because we are skinny or we work out, He loves us because of who we’ve become in HIM and how we shine his light in this dark world. You are ENOUGH for Christ and you always will be no matter what you look like. Praise GOD!!!

  • Alessandra Hurt

    Amazing! My favorite reading so far in Romans! I’ve struggled with an eating disorder since I was about 10 years old. I’m 29 now and rely every day on God to keep me on the path of faithfulness and trust. I love whoever the author was today!!! Thank you for shinning light on this and bringing so much love and encouragement to your fellow sisters!

  • Wow!! This is SO good. I’m reading on my lunch break and was just challenged to the point of tears in this area. This hit me today on so many levels!! Thanks for sharing.

  • Romans 14: consider others first. Do not put your desires before another’s fear or weakness, that is sinful, selfish, unloving and not of God. No need to pontificate on ones own personal freedoms in Christ that may be a struggle for another.
    1 Cor 8:8-13
    Praise God for this freedom but only if considering the weaker brother at all times, which may in itself be cause to never exercise these freedoms.
    Eph 4:25-5:…
    The very scripture that caused me to feel unsaved bc I could not seem to shed the rage. Oh I felt like such a failure. I can see I wasn’t aware of my usefulness yet. Even today, I lose that awareness and find I go to the other extreme.
    If it isn’t one thing it is another. If it has been a problem in my past, it will seek me, if it’s something new, I will find it! I have struggled with people, places and things, coveting, self righteousness, anything and everything within my reach, is not out of boundaries, in my pursuit of escaping. EVERY SINGLE DAY, I am making decisions to either obey or disobey. I am deciding to love or not love. I am deciding SEVERAL TIMES per day to put another before me and show the love of Christ or I am not. (Showing love includes having boundaries and trusting God when the Holy Spirit is whispering it’s ok to say no). I am grieving the Holy Spirit or I am not. As it says further in Ephesians 5:8 “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light”
    ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:8‬ -10 NIV‬‬
    I love the following, “(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.”
    In other words, use that time you once spent pursuing things of the flesh, discovering what God wants from me.
    So sensitive and susceptible to sin are we, “It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.”
    ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬
    Incredible the power words, knowledge, gossip, (sin) has to corrupt. (Takes us right back to Genesis, the forbidden tree of knowledge.)
    This weekend, I practiced intentional obedience 5 times. That is a big deal. I have been living in myself (disobedience) for some time. I have not been intentional about some things in my life for a long time. I am praying I am able to live so intentionally, counting the number of times,no longer matters.

  • “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” » ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:13-14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    In our heads we know the truth- God created us perfectly, intentionally. We are his masterpiece, his craft, his love. Of course, it is good to take care of our body (his dwelling place) with margin and grace- but so many of us struggle with our outward appearance and set standards that are too high. We consider ourselves failures when we don’t meet society’s standard of womanhood.

    All we see are stretch marks and wrinkled skin; extra fat or saggy parts. Big feet, tiny ears; curly hair or thin. ‘How can I hide/change/fix these ugly parts of me?’

    Precious child of God, don’t you know that you are already beautiful?

    Society’s standard of beauty is very hollow, very exclusive. It has its own version of a ‘ideal woman’ and leaves out the most important ones. The mothers, who have carried and birthed children- incredible woman who’s bodies have done more then any man can do. The elderly, with wrinkled skin and frail bones- the wisest and most caring of friend. The women who have been plagued with illness way too young, an example of bravery and strong will. The student with a little ‘extra skin’, over stressed and overworked.

    Wherever you are, whoever you are, and whatever your struggle is- this body is temporary. But it wasn’t just an afterthought- oh no, you were knitted together in your mothers womb. Your personality, your mind, your body. You may not fit society’s ‘perfect’ mold of womanhood, but you weren’t created to. You were created be loved – and sister, you are.

    You are beautiful.

  • Diane Huntsman

    “Christ died for all; this is what the Bible says. I don’t want to be known by what I eat or don’t eat. I want to be known by how I love and Who I’m loved by.”
    And that’s a wrap ladies!!
    That last sentence says it all and that just needs to be the Christians mantra!
    Whatever we are obsessed with that doesn’t fit into this sentence just needs to go.. and I mean chuck it far from me.. the things we obsess over and the things we allow to consume us.. it’s just unfortunate and it doesn’t have to be that way!
    Thank you once again SRT! You girls kill it with the truth every.single.day. xoxo

  • So true, what you assume to be a healthy lifestyle can totally consume you as you chase after the “perfect body” being told by the world that you are only acceptable if you are slim and beautiful…this let to full blown anorexia for me….and when I read this passage I feel so ashamed that I allow food and my physical appearance to become my god….I hope and pray that I can one day truely be freed from this disease…

    • Diane Huntsman

      Oh my friend.. I pray with you and for you that you can be freed as well.. you are a living breathing waking miracle made in His image.. may He grant you new eyes to see yourself the way He sees you.. He loves you so deeply and wants to grant you life and life more abundantly.. please seek out proper help, this is a hard one to do alone.. Jesus is your present help in time of need, and He desires us to reach out and be walked with though our difficulties.. hugs and prayers for you this day!!

  • Yes! I’ve been doing a lot of nutrition research for a class I’m about to teach, and over the week my own personal relationship with food has changed. This message just rounds it out. Thank you.

  • I accidentally posted before I was done – anyways – in certain seasons I have found some freedom in this as it helps to treat my anxiety and stress level however and other seasons I have felt such guilt, shame and lack of freedom. For example if I can’t make it to the gym for a few days due to other activities I start to feel guilty and shameful. My mind begins to be consumed with myself and my body rather than loving others. I often think about if I focused on my effort with my relationship with the Lord and others who need to see His love as much as my exercise regimen and the attainment of my fitness goals how different life would look. Recently my husband and I traveled outside of the country – as I put on my bathing suit in the hotel room and felt so self-conscious and such negative talk towards myself I could hardly focus on the beautiful beach in front of us due to feeling so self-conscious. But what I saw around me were women from other cultures Who exhibited such confidence and grace in their God-given bodies – all shapes, sizes, stretch marks, scars – as they’re playing with their children and families on the beach. I realized how much pressure specifically American women have placed upon themselvesof the Ideal body image and how it is related to how successful we feel as moms, wives, and women. Our bodies are Holy temples for the Lord to find rest in us and to work through us – this should be our focus. I pray Satan will not be able to use our body image to keep us from loving others- To keep us from God’s kingdom work!

  • I love today’s reading – such a great reminder of what our focus should be on each day – ever since my 2nd child I have been exercising regularly and trying to eat fairly balanced.

  • Wow! It’s so incredible the freedom Paul says that we have and what the writer gleaned from the passage. Jesus let us be known by our love for You!

  • “Christ died for all; this is what the Bible says. I don’t want to be known by what I eat or don’t eat. I want to be known by how I love and Who I’m loved by.”

    This!!!!

    I sure hope when people think Of me they think of my faith + love

    http://Www.in-due-time.com

  • Carrie Rogers

    For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. This message today spoke straight to my heart. God help me live a life of goodness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

  • “Christ died for all; this is what the Bible says. I don’t want to be known by what I eat or don’t eat. I want to be known by how I love and Who I’m loved by.”

    AMEN, AMEN and AMEN….let us all remember this today. This doesn’t mean we can’t be “healthy” for God. He wants us to stay healthy. It just means we don’t have to be what society thinks we should be. I want to be remembered by who I Love and who Loves me.

  • This message speaks to my heart. I recently was diagnosed with IBS and eating has been a constant struggle. I went from loving all foods to despising them because of the pain and discomfort I was constantly feeling. I’ve now learned to love and enjoy the natural foods God has grown on this beautiful earth for us. I used to be hard on myself for missing days at the gym, or clothes fitting a bit tighter. But at the end of the day, the Lord has brought me this amazing body that allows me to complete my daily activities and live a long prosperous life! I’m learning to take my health as a wonderful blessing and not be too hard on myself. Thank You for Your amazing love, acceptance and support.

  • Thank you for this devotional. It really opened my eyes today. Yes a t one time I was a size 5 back in my teens and twenties. Well I’m now 59 and no where near that size. I’m slowly learning to love me for who I am in Christ. Today’s reading really helped me see that. Why do we spend to much money on diets and fads when we all really know what we need to do. Society has made us the way we are and we fall for it every time. Instead of focusing our eyes on Christ and pleasing Him we focus of the things of the world.

  • I needed this this morning. My son often will run to me and hug me and then burrow is head in my belly and it makes the air stop. He loves the squish that I hate and I turn I I try to change the way he hugs me…awful because one day he will be grown and won’t do those things anymore. My battle with my weight or “grown up body” as my friend so lovingly calls it not only steals my joy but it leeches out on to my children. I have daughters too and I never want them to see / feel/ think about their bodies the way I do mine. I was just always in shape and praised for that growing up and I am a single mama back in school working in my masters and this 12 pounds I’ve put on is stealing my joy, it’s in the forefront, no more Satan. No more. Thank you for this today, I took screen shots of this as reminder and something to meditate on. My thinking and my heart have got to change for myself, but especially for my little family and my future. Have a great day ladies.

  • Natalie Eddy

    Dear Ladies: Welcome to the culture of women socialization. We are socialized to focus on our appearance and our bodies. Everything in our culture diverts away from who we are as a person and our significance based on who we are and what we are doing in our lives to our waist size and how we look in comparison to whomever we are holding up as our role model of beauty and excellence. In my generation, it was Twiggy. Big eyes and cachexic waif body, we starved ourselves to this new model of beauty. This was after the curves of the forties and fifties. So starvation and excessive drugs was the cure. Now it is diet and vigorous exercise. It is all to keep you and I from seeing who we really are. LOVED, created by the Lord God of heaven, redeemed, forgiven, adopted, chosen! Daughters of the most High God. Accept who you are, how he has made you, the cycle of life you are in. Spend time growing in Christ, and as a woman. Stop focusing on the mirror and wanting the body to be perfection. Instead let’s strive to love one another and enjoy this beautiful life He has allowed us to know in Him!

  • Karen From Virginia

    Praying for peace and rest in hearts today. Jesus is our only hope.
    I’m looking to him for strength. I was awake throughout the night in pain (neck). It’s still there this morning but not as bad. I’m tired but work is there. Praying God will be my strength in my weakness.

  • I do have a food issue. I am once again, with God’s help working on maintaining my temple.
    The thing that convicted me this morning is Romans 14:21, 23Last night I told the Lord that I was done drinking alcohol. I love a good craft beer, but have been feeling guilty about drinking. I don’t want what I do to cause another to stumble. And I certainly have been feeling guilty about drinking. To read this today just affirmed that I am being led to quit any alcohol.
    Please pray with me sisters.

    • Diana

      Praying for you as you follow God’s heart & the Holy Spirits conviction. God can give you the strength to do this. I had the same conviction in my early thirties & God gave me strength

  • Praying with all of you.

  • Leenda324

    Ahhhh. Me too. I was a fat little girl up through high school when I intentionally slimmed down by unhealthy ways. By my mid-20s, I was anorexic. God convicted me a few years later and healed me. I watched what I ate, but I ate and worked out. Then I got pregnant. Three pregnancies in four years in my 30s left me with about 12-15 lbs more than I’d wanted. In my 40s, I had a myriad of gyn issues which resulted in having a hysterectomy at age 50. The lack of going to the gym piled on more pounds. Finally, i “had it” and dropped about 30 lbs. felt good, looked good, etc. kept it off, too. Two years ago I sprained my ankle severely. After recovering, I then experienced a bulging disc. I got out of the habit of exercise. I’m now up that 30 lbs again and loathing myself. Please pray for me: this weight thing has dogged me my entire life and I value myself accordingly. I want to be free.

    • Elizabeth

      BLESS YOU! For The Lord shares your heartache and does not condemn you! I share this LIFE LONG struggle and found victory through Weight Watchers. It is a community of fellow sojourners!! ‘Weight/eating’ was a true stronghold in my life – as you know, it “messes with your mind” on so many levels. WW is about you, not the scale. . . just like God! He ADORES us whatever we weigh but longs for us to experience JOY. The Christian walk is a daily endeavor . . . so is victory over the very complicated stronghold of food. We can never ‘give up’ food – but we can ‘give it’s power over over us’ to The One Who created us! Give WW a try – it will bless YOU!!

  • Food and weight has always been my struggle. But, never read something like todays devotion. Had open my mind and see and feel free about what is freedom. Thank you!

  • Thank you for speaking this truth into my life! I’m currently in an ulcerative colitis flare, which makes me need to restrict my food to help heal, and I also drop weight very quickly. it can make for some interesting food/body image things, especially when ( kind and well-meaning) people say things like, “you look great! how did you lose weight?”

    But ultimately, I need to remember WHOSE I am, not how my body fluctuates or looks. ❤

    • Loretta

      Dana, I have been going through some issues with my Crohns Disease. I get what you mean. My symptoms come out with having lots of pain when I eat. I feel bad sometimes because the “healthy”foods cause me more pain then the “unhealthy” ones. My body can’t digest a lot of fruit and raw veggies, even though I love them. I get a lot of people telling me to cut this or take this supplement, which just leaves me feeling like I don’t care about my health, which isn’t true at all. I feel like I’m doing things wrong because I’m using modern medications to get things better. I keep asking the Lord to lead and guide me, but my pain also reminds me that this is not my home, and that one day I will be healed completely from this disease.

    • MG

      Dana- will be praying for you. I was diagnosed with UC in 1999 at age 29. In 2008 I had my entire colon removed at the Mayo Clinic. Yes, I had to have an iliostomy for a while which I had always feared. But it was temporary and has been reversed. I can now eat and have been healthy for the last few years. There were some complications but God was with me every step of the way and it was during those times that I became closer to Him. Praying for relief for you my sister. I have walked many miles in your shoes.

  • Posting this again, because I know there is power in prayer…love you all.
    Can you please pray for my brother in laws family? Chris’ brother, Billy, just passed away from a heart attack. Just really heartbroken for him and the family, Chris was always very close with his brother. Praying that they will feel God’s comfort around them, hoping that they would find Him and feel His love in this incredibly hard time. Thank you all. <3

    • Sarah D.

      Billy was only 40 years old.

      • candacejo

        Praying for that perfect peace that passes our understanding for the entire family. Praying for you, Sarah, that you can be a blessing and a comfort to them all by just being there for them. ♥

    • churchmouse

      Praying for comfort and trust in the Lord – He sees and He knows and He cares. Praying that in the midst of the grief, you all feel His presence and His peace. It defies understanding in such a sudden and tragic loss.

    • Alyssa

      Prayers Sarah.

  • I can appreciate what Churchmouse is saying. I will pray with you.

  • Weight has been my stronghold for most of my life,

    • Vanessa

      …and for me too. Many times I have let my weight take control pf my mind and thoughts.

  • churchmouse

    My sweet Julia, age 3, held on to my arm and said “Mimi, you’re squishy.” She said it with a smile, bless her little heart. But what woman wants to be described as “squishy”, even by a 3 year old? The honest truth is.. I have grandma arm wriggle and yes it’s squishy. And I’ve never heard a sermon on the sin of gluttony, though it is a sin. Not once. I know I’m free in Christ. I get all that. But in my head, the extra pounds (the squishiness) are public evidence of a privately undisciplined life. A life lacking in self control. And a Christian is to be disciplined. To exhibit self control. And so I see a failure in the mirror. The evidence is right before my eyes. Just being honest. And in my mind, it’s a poor witness. If I was truly surrendered in all things to Christ, my eating habits and my exercise would reflect that and I would be healthy and reasonably fit for my age. Instead… I’m squishy. Feeling convicted this morning. And while Julia squeals when she sees me and runs to me with open arms and I know I’m a good Mimi loving on her and teaching her about Jesus… I’m convicted just the same. I don’t want to gloss over it because I want to hear what He’s saying to me. Pray for me please as I struggle.

    • Lauren

      Praying for you. I have been doing srt studies for almost 2 years now and this is the first time I have commented. Not only do I enjoy the devotionals and gain wisdom from them but I enjoy reading the comments and gaining wisdom from others here as well. I must admit, I always search for your comments because you are so insightful and mature in your faith walk. I pray I continue to mature in my faith walk and someday be like you. I wish I could adopt you as my Mimi! Praying for you today churchmouse, to see your beauty as God’s daughter and to have the self discipline to surrender the areas of your health that you are wanting to change.

    • Michelle Baier

      Thank you Churchmouse! You put a name to what I have been feeling lately. Please pray for me that I will regain some discipline in my eating habit and stop being so gluttonous.

    • Sarah

      As I read your thoughts I couldn’t help but think that what you consider an outward sign of a fault only shows Julia that even with faults our faith in God and His love for us is ALWAYS strong. One fault does not warrant “giving up” on trying to please Him.

    • Carol

      Praying

    • Trisha C

      Churchmouse, while I hear you in your desire to care for your body and be disciplined in this care, the line of thinking that our weight gain/loss is our individual responsibility can lead to harmful obsessive eating/exercise behaviors and unnecessary guilt and shame. I am a registered dietitian so I am speaking from a place of experience with many patients who feel similarly as you, who have lived extremely disciplined lives with regards to diet and exercise and have not seen the change in their bodies that they expected. The fact is that often weight changes are outside of our control and happen regardless of diet and exercise. Environmental factors, hormone shifts (especially during menopause!), stress, genetics, and medications all can influence weight. We also know that trying to over restrict with strict diets tends to only lead to periods of overindulging. This yo-yo dieting phenomenon can cause even more weight gain. My point here is that while I don’t know the particulars of your situation, I am concerned that you feel your body composition is entirely due to a lack of discipline and this often is not the case. And while I absolutely encourage regular physical activity and eating to nourish your body, using weight as the sole indicator of success in this area often leads to disappointment. I don’t want that for you! I pray that God continues to lead and direct you in this area. I also recommend a book called Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. This book is so helpful to navigate what is over eating vs what is simply being human and enjoying the food God has given us.

  • ValriAnne

    I’ve been arguing a bit with God lately about my health, about nudging/prompting towards a certain directions. I’m embarrassed to admit that I don’t always say “Yes, Lord.” The scriptures laid it out so clear for me today. I am free in Christ. I don’t need to give Satan any room in my life. So here I am Lord. I’m yours. I submit to you.

  • Amen – this is a God thing, I started a new workout/resolve to eat better and healthier this morning. I am finally back in it because I ditched the scale, etc and I’m working on the comparisons to others, but I truly just want to be healthy and I needed to read this interpretation today. I have heard the story so many times and I’m always like “yeah the people who were pagans were more reserved about eating meat because that’s what they used to do” and that was that. Thank you God for breathing new life into this passage for me this morning

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