Food and the Christian Guy: Part 1, My Idol

Raw-Meat-cat-food-natural-diet-1lI really like food. And I should be very precise by what I mean when I say food. Lest you believe that I am merely pursuing anything that is edible near me. By no means am I panting after all foods nearby.

By food, I mean meat.

You see, if a something at one point walked, swam, dug, or flew, it is probably delicious. God has created a world full of creatures that I am told to eat and will deeply delight in doing so.

But there’s a catch. More precisely, there’s an idol. To see more of how I came to this, read this post on my recent hermitage.

It is not that I love food too much. More likely, I don’t delight in it enough. The nature of an idol is not to say that I like something too much but that I love God too little. Food needs to be pulled into a correct place in my life. That is to say, my food choices should be God honoring ones and food should be delighted in as a gift from a loving Father.

There are a couple of reasons I feel food has become an idol. Some of them are a bit embarrassing for me to bring up, but like all idols, they whither a great deal when exposed to the light. So please pray for me and examine your own heart to see if you may be as foolish as I am.

One of the reasons I think food has an unhealthy hold on my life is that I am quite overweight. I weigh about 290 lbs. This doesn’t bug me too much except that I know I could look better for my wife (that really does sadden me) and that I am not setting a healthy example for my kids. I would not want them to gain weight like I have.

To be clear, we are obsessed with weight in our society. There are high metabolism gluttons and gym membership gluttons out there that are not fat. They go to the gym and work out so that can eat what they want but the sacrifice they make in time is paid for by their families. We worship at the altar of the fit body and not at the feet of a gracious God. Would I like a fit body? Absolutely! But why should I want a fit body.

  1. In our culture, being fit commands some respect and that can be used to spread the gospel.
  2. In the same way, a fat body can be a barrier to telling others about Jesus.
  3. I want my wife to be as delighted by my body as possible.
  4. A fit body has more energy to do good with (like wrestling on the floor with my kids).
  5. A fit body will likely come with a sharper mind that I need for my work and for better understanding God, my family, and my world.

Do I want a fit body for all of the reasons above? Probably not. But it would be tragic to successfully lose weight and feel better and have simply traded an idol of food for an idol of looking good. There is an epidemic of people who are fit because they idolize the praise of others. I don’t want to be that guy.

Back to the reasons I think I have a food idol. There are times that I am heading to bed and I am planning my meals for the next day. If you know me, I don’t plan much of anything. So if I am planning something, it is because I really like it. In my case, I think I am obsessed with it.

Often, I feel a sense of guilt while I eat and after I eat. This is not what God intended. Why is my conscience itching when I am eating? Probably because it knows that food is not holding its proper place in my life.

Finally, a strange thing I do. My wife doesn’t like to get gas in the cars. It’s one of her strange nuances (I think its actually cute). When I would go to the gas station, I would get gas and pay inside. When I paid, I would add two hot dogs and a soft drink. This way, I was getting the chili dogs and secretly using the gas budget to buy the chili dogs.

Now there is nothing wrong with buying hot dogs or even doing it as a treat when I get gas. So why would I secretly do this? Why would I hide that I was doing it? It’s not like I couldn’t use my spending money to buy a hot dog. It’s not a big deal.

But it is a big deal. It points to an evil living in my heart that wants to use the gas money to get more food so I can use my mad money on even more food. As I type this, I feel ashamed. How stupid does this sound?

Pretty stupid. But that’s because idols are stupid.

I have a problem. I want to address it. Thank you for joining me on this journey. Pray for me.

-Chip

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Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 7, The Shame We Feel

Humiliation, disgrace, embarrassment, degradation, darkness…Shame. How have I become someone who would do something like this? I know better. My parent’s taught me better than this. Yet I can’t stop. I know it is hurting those I love. Well, I thought I loved them. Would anyone who really loved them keep doing the things I’m doing?

The tension between the sin in my heart and my very inflamed conscience was overwhelming. It was years later that I finally was able to label that sick feeling in my gut: shame. To know it’s name helped a little and when I was able to name it, I saw how common it was.

The whole issue of pornography causes a great deal of shame. Just about the only place you will hear about it in pop culture is on late night comedy as a punchline. This would lead you to believe that pornography use is not common and only lowlifes look at it. Unfortunately, it is all too common. So why is it so common and yet so rarely discussed.

Shame.

We as a people do look at pornography, but the vestiges of our Victorian heritage remain. We are ashamed as a people of our behavior. One symptom of this is that I can see the volume of people who look at my blog. As of this writing, I have been about 650 views and only about 10 comments comments that weren’t from me. As I discuss these topics, to attach your name to this blog would mean that you were somehow associated with…well…this shameful topic.

Please don’t take this as me begging for more likes and comments. That’s not the point. I’m thrilled that you came to blog whether or not you leave a comment. But look into your heart. Ask yourself why you feel that shame. Is it because you are looking at porn yourself? Maybe you think that only the frightfully evil look at porn and don’t want your name associated with it. Maybe your husband is looking at porn and it is too painful to discuss with anyone. And maybe you just have nothing to say. Again, I want to reiterate that this is not about the likes on my blog. I want you to learn more about yourself. Look at your own heart.

The Shame we Should Feel

Let’s face it. Porn is shameful and we should feel dirty looking at it. We are supporting men and women who are harming themselves by stripping in front of a camera. We are enabling them to hurt themselves while they enable us to hurt ourselves. And it seems that increasingly debased kinds of sexual images follow. It grows on us until we are seeing nudity that it increasingly divorced from any real person. We want things that can’t and shouldn’t exist. Our souls shrink to the point that we think only about sex, yet it is not satisfying to us.

What a waste! What a shame! The human soul was designed for much bigger and much better pleasures than the image of a woman prostituting herself to you! The shame we feel is more than justified. The prophet Daniel said it well.

To us, O Lord, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him. Dan 9:8-9

And how blessed we are that mercy and forgiveness belong to God.

Set Free From Shame

That sick feeling deep in your soul, the one that says that you are sick and twisted; it is right. You are sick and twisted, but not without hope. There is a way to get rid of your shame: give it to someone else!

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” Romans 10:9-11

Jesus chose to stand in the courtroom of Heaven. The Father will read the charge, “You looked at pornography repeatedly. You knew better. You even went to church and pretended things were going well in his spiritual life. You watched as women degraded themselves to please you. You applauded those girls as they destroyed themselves. Are you guilty of this?!?

“I am,” Jesus will reply.

“But he didn’t!” will fill my heart. How can he take the blame for my stupidity!? But Jesus did take that shame from me and chose to be guilty of all my shame. He was beaten for a fool like me. He took my place.

And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. 1 John 2:28

If I abide in him, I do NOT have to shrink in shame when he comes back! In fact, I have no right to be ashamed any more. The shame I felt was mine. The forgiveness I feel is mine. God, for His own mysterious reasons, forgave me. And if God says I am clean, I am clean indeed.

The only real shame would be to turn Him down.

-Chip

Up Next on 10/7: Porn and the Christian Guy: Part 8, Prepared for Battle