“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Matthew 17:24
The only thing Jesus and dieting have in common is self denial.
After that, they could not be more opposite.
Through dieting we are taught to deny ourselves basic caloric needs.
Deny ourselves self-love.
Deny ourselves patience, acceptance, gratitude, worth, value, dignity, truth,
God’s very blessings on our body.
We are not asked to take our eyes off ourselves but to zoom in with a very shattered lens, one that degrades and humiliates us and propels the lie that we are not good enough unless we are thin enough.
The focus of dieting is totally self-centered.
Jesus has a different approach to self denial.
He does not leave us filled with empty promises, low self-worth and hungry souls.
When we deny ourselves in the name of Christ, we are filled with more of his spirit. We are given more love, increased joy, greater strength, perpetual peace.
We feel more self-worth.
Our faith in who we are in Christ grows deeper.
We are capable of living life in a more meaningful way.
When has a diet EVER led you to lead a more meaningful life?
A diet is not your savior and yet, we treat it as such.
We follow it like it is the everlasting life.
The one true thing that will finally bring us all of the happiness we have been seeking in this world.
We foolishly believe that through a thinner body we can achieve greater health… a longer life, power, control……godliness.
We believe because this is just what Satan wants us to believe….
If we can be tricked into thinking that we need diets more than we need God….
if we can think that a diet can bring us what God seems to be slacking on in our lives…
and worst of, think that it is what God wants for us (if God does want for you to lose weight it is not by starving yourself, it is by listening to your body and eating in a way the is uplifting and nourishing and pleasing to Him, not unrealistic, self-demeaning, a lie under the guise of “life-style” change and harmful to you)…
then he has truly won.
Our cross is not the muffin top or the flabby belly.
Our cross is that we trust in a world that tells us dieting is our savior over a God who tells us that in Jesus we shall have eternal life.
This is the challenge.
Everyday we must be willing to turn away from the faces and forces that promote dissatisfaction with the bodies and life that we have, instead choosing to follow a savior who promotes renewal, forgiveness, redemption and glorious abundance of life.