Last Sunday the pastor was teaching out of Matthew 4:1-11. This sermon was part of series of sermons he has been preaching on overcoming temptation. In last Sunday's sermon he took a closer look at each of the areas in which Jesus was tempted. The pastor categorized these temptations as food, presumption, & pride.
When he spoke about food the pastor talked about the number 1 health problem in the U.S. being obesity. He talked about how we look to food for comfort and all struggle with this temptation. He showed how Jesus spoke of His relationship to God and His Word being more important than food. He showed his struggle by these 2 examples: 1-He adores McDonald's french fries and thinks no one makes fries as good as them. He said he'd love to go buy french fries and have them with a vanilla shake; nothing could be better. But he doesn't because that's not good for him. 2-He may go to a buffet and he likes all the food there and wants to eat all the food, but he can only eat a little, because it's not good for him to eat everything.
I felt very guilty during the sermon since I'm significantly overweight.
Since that sermon I've been thinking on what the pastor said and I have mixed feelings. I have a bunch of thoughts and feelings regarding this topic. I want to unpack these thoughts and feelings so I can really see them, and hopefully achieve some clarity on this issue:
* The Pastor's right and any time I eat more than my body actually needs it is a sin. I must be fat because I sin.
* I feel less-than, not good enough, because I have this struggle.
* All sin is forgivable. But what about if we keep sinning? How hard do I try to overcome this specific temptation? I have an incredibly demanding and emotionally exhausting job and am so tired at the end of the day. I know I need exercise but typically don't. Sometimes I just eat food that is easy and not necessarily the most healthy. I eat more than I absolutely need due to taste gratification, comfort, and habit.
* We all sin. Although in the Matthew 4 account Jesus had been fasting and Satan tempted him with food, many Bible teachers generalize it to any gratification of the flesh. Gratifications of the flesh include food, sex, pain relief with excessive medication, excessive spending on beautiful things - things that involve the senses.
* We all sin. We all have specific sins that are more tempting for us; sins with which we struggle to refrain from regularly. Our common culture as well as our church culture focuses on some and not other sins.
* One type of sin would be the excess issue. There are things that are good and right in and of themselves, in the right context and quantity; but are unhealthy and sinful if engaged in to excess or in the wrong context. Things in this category would be: food, sex, shopping, alcohol consumption, etc.
* Some of us struggle with some things that can be done in excess and don't have too much trouble with others. If you don't struggle in a particular area, for example shopping/spending, it's easy to be critical of others who struggle in that area.
* I feel like food and weight are not really issues for our pastor so it's easy to focus on those sins. I see him struggle with judgmental-ism, temper, and impatience. If I'm 100% honest, a part of me feels like - so he's focusing on food but not those things. Yet, the Word is the Word and Truth is Truth - it is there in God's Word and He's teaching it. The fact that I know he struggles with those things is partly because he's open about who he is (and partly because I'm observant about people).
* I feel frustrated, and maybe if I'm entirely honest with myself,
angry. Angry that the sin I struggle with is impossible to hide. My
body shows my sin for all to see. Whereas some sins not everybody has to
know the moment they meet you.
* I'm thinking how Psalm 139:13-16
depicts that God knew who he was creating when I was in my mother's
womb. That he had a specific design when He was forming me. Because
Scripture also teaches that God knows everything (Isaiah 46:9-10, Psalm 139:1-3, 1 John 3:20, Romans 11:33, Hebrews 4:13), I take it to then mean that God knew that I'd be predisposed to weight gain as well as unhealthy food use.
* The reason something is a sin is because it's not what God wants for us. He loves us and only wants our best. Hebrews 12:1-3 talks about getting rid of sin in our lives so we can run the race God has for us. I believe that each of us has a specific, unique, race or path that God has for us. The Bible is saying to get rid of the sin so we can experience more success on our journey.
* The pastor's motives, thoughts, or possible inadequacy are not relevant. My attitude toward God, my submission to Him above EVERYTHING else is.