Pushing Away Idols to Re-Focus on God’s Glory
“What?” you ask, “do idols have to do with food and nutrition?” A lot actually. I recognize this is a challenging subject, and as I write this today, I am convicted myself in more than one way. I hope that as you read this today, you will pause and consider your own heart.
Psalm 139:23 “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
What are idols?
We often think of idols as golden statues that were worshipped in the Old Testament, and we are well aware that this practice displeases our God very much. But the truth is that idols show up much more often in our lives than we might think. An idol is anything that you hold in your heart and mind as more important than God. Many times our idols begin as wonderful gifts. Next, the gift starts to become our main focus instead of the God who gave it to us. Eventually, we hold the gift higher and higher against our love of our God, and now it has become an idol.
When looking at idolatry and how it relates to food, there are a few common ways it can manifest.
- Loving food more than God. Examples: constantly thinking about food, what you will eat next, or where to get your next sweet fix.
- Loving the idea of looking a certain way or attracting certain attention from others. Examples: always following a diet, worrying about particular parts of your body, or obsessing about weight loss.
- Loving our health as more important than God. Examples: Spending an unreasonable amount of time, effort, or energy “researching” certain conditions and remedies for them.
Which one do you identify with?
Some of us may identify with all of these idols (as I have). It can be easy to start with good intentions and right motivations to improve our health, but when it consumes much of our time, energy and thoughts, we need to check ourselves. When we schedule our time to go running over time in God’s word, then we need to examine our hearts. When we spend more time worrying about our health than we do praising God. We need to stop. Confess. Pray.
How do idols relate to self-control?
Idols relate to self-control in many ways. When we let idols creep into our lives, we lose focus. We forget what matters. Eternal matters are left behind and the worries of the world take over. The idols themselves begin to control us. They tell us how to think, what to do, and how to behave. When they control us, we do not have self-control anymore. This is often the point where we feel like we are “addicted” or like we cannot control our behavior. This is when we say, “but I have no willpower.”
What if this is me?
This is not the end, friend. I have been there and so have many others. This is the point where we make a decision to repent and acknowledge that we have not loved God with our whole hearts (Psalm 86:12, Psalm 111:1, Psalm 119:10, Psalm 119:69, Psalm 138:1). Our hearts have been divided. This is when we return to God. True repentance starts when we see our sin as God see it. We begin to hate it, and we desire to turn from it!
How can we re-focus on God?
- Re-focus on God and who He is. Pray. Confess. Thank God for His sufficiency (2 Cor 3:5). Ask for His help (Psalm 33:20, Psalm 40:17, Psalm 46:1, Psalm 63:7, Psalm 94:17).
- Give up the gift for a time. This might mean you choose to stop eating sugar for a while so you can re-focus. This might mean you stop exercising for a time, again, to re-focus on God. Whatever you need to give up, God is worth it!
- Look up the verses from the Psalms (above) and write them down. Maybe memorize them. When you find yourself distracted, think of these wonderful words to help your heart re-dedicate to our Lord.
- Remember that the gifts are for God’s glory, not for ourselves. The gifts are wonderful things, but we should not lose sight of the Giver Himself. Pray with a thankful heart (1 Thess 5:15-17).
- Re-evaluate your motivations for changing habits. Are you doing all things for the glory of God? Are you serving and pleasing Him in all you do?
Read more about what the Bible has to say about Nutrition.
To read more about common idols we face, see this article.