A few days ago I accidentally took my evening meds in the morning. I have them nicely categorized in two separate colored med planners. I stumbled out of bed, into the bathroom, grabbed the purple box and downed my meds. Then, my brain kicked in to tell me, “Hey, those vitamins you just chewed are melatonin. They make you go to sleep. It’s morning. It’s wakeup time.”

I’m going to blame it on the crazy times we are living in where one day flows into the next without definition or focus on much of anything. I’ve realized how much I rely on routines to anchor my life like Sunday morning church attendance and my daily weekday exercise time at our indoor community pool. Both of which seem like distant memories. I need a focus point.

So, what can we focus on these days? What will really help us get through these times of social distancing and closures of every event we can imagine? There is only One we can turn to in order to help us travel a journey we’ve never traveled before. His name is Jesus.

Follow Me As I Follow Christ

The other day I was reading reviews of my podcast. When I read this one my tongue about caught in my throat. It’s from Star 1978. She says, “Teresa inspires me to believe that change is possible with God’s grace and help and the support of others. I hope to follow her as she follows Christ.”

My first thought was  what an honor that someone would say that about me. My second thought was what a huge responsibility to live up to. My third realization was this is what we should all be doing as Christians. In reflecting on this it made me understand if I want to do something I’ve never done before, the best way to do that is to follow someone who has already done that.

Jesus overcame all of life’s temptations, even food temptations. (See Matt. 4:2-4 NIV.) He is a the One for us to follow. But it also helps if we can follow an actual person who is following Him. When I began my lifestyle change and weight loss journey I had a mentor I followed who showed me the way. I would have never been as successful without his guidance.

The words, “Follow me as I follow Christ” were written by Paul and appear in 1 Corinthians 11:1 MEV. When I first read them years ago, my immediate reaction was that Paul was being pretty haughty to say that to the Corinthians.

However, Paul wasn’t being prideful when he said those words. For many of the Christians he was writing to he was the only example they had of someone who was walking in the footsteps of Jesus.

Lord’s Supper Issues

If we go back to 1 Corinthians 11 we can see some of the issues in which Paul was asking the Corinthians to follow him. One of them happens to be about food. Imagine that!

One of the things Paul was addressing had to do with the way the church was handling the Lord’s Supper. 1 Cor 11:20-22 MSG Paul said, ”Then, I find that you bring your divisions to worship—you come together, and instead of eating the Lord’s Supper, you bring in a lot of food from the outside and make pigs of yourselves. Some are left out, and go home hungry.

“Others have to be carried out, too drunk to walk. I can’t believe it! Don’t you have your own homes to eat and drink in? Why would you stoop to desecrating God’s church? Why would you actually shame God’s poor? I never would have believed you would stoop to this. And I’m not going to stand by and say nothing.”

Then verses 33-34, he added: “So, my friends, when you come together to the Lord’s Table, be reverent and courteous with one another. If you’re so hungry that you can’t wait to be served, go home and get a sandwich. But by no means risk turning this meal into an eating and drinking binge or a family squabble. It is a spiritual meal—a love feast.”

Food and the Church

What was happening in their day was that the Lord’s supper had ceased to become a way to remember Jesus and had become a free-for-all, food extravaganza.

Today we don’t celebrate the Lord’s supper that way. It’s a sip of juice and a cracker. However, as I read that passage I couldn’t help but think about how I used to be focused only on what I was going to eat that would fill my cravings when going to a church fellowship dinner, potluck supper or carry-in brunch. It was all about the food.

After losing more than 250 pounds and placing good boundaries around what I eat, these dinners don’t make me act like a starving maniac any more. At 430 pounds, it was embarrassing, but it seemed I couldn’t help myself.

Who or What is Your Master?

One big issue is that I had made eating the comfort foods I loved more important than anything else in my life. It’s that old Phil 3:19 issue. I had made my stomach or my appetite my god instead of relying on God almighty. When we get to the point where certain foods have become addictions or strongholds in our lives, we have elevated them to the status of a god.

God tells us in Matthew 6:24 NLT that “ No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other.” He’s talking here about being enslaved to money, but this pertains to anything that we allow to master us, such as food.

Later on in that same chapter, verses 25-34, Jesus tells us not to worry about our lives including what we eat or drink or what clothes we will wear. The birds don’t worry about what they have to eat. The flowers don’t worry about what to wear.

What Is Most Important?

He sums up that passage by saying “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you,” (Mat 6:33 KJV). Or to use the words of The Passion Translation: “All these less important things will be given to you abundantly.” The issue for many of us is that we do not see food and clothing as less important.

Our minds haven’t made the shift to what God wants us to understand. He wants us to see that it’s not our bodies we should be concerned about. It is our souls.

Remember what Paul said in Phil. 3:19 about certain people who are enemies of Christ making their stomaches their god? In Phil 3:20-21 continued to say, “Their mind is set on earthly things, but our citizenship is in Heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body,” (Phil 3:18-21 NIV).

Did you get what He wants us to focus on? Our citizenship is in Heaven. It’s a citizenship that is valid right now. We don’t have to wait to cash in on it when we die.

On Earth As It Is In Heaven

In the Lord’s prayer in Matt. 6:10-13 TPT, Jesus explained that each day we should ask that God’s every purpose be fulfilled here on earth just like it has already been fulfilled in Heaven.

In Heaven there Is no lack, so we acknowledge Him as the Provider of all that we need (not want) each day. We ask Him to forgive us and to help us forgive others because in Heaven we don’t hold grudges. In Heaven there is no tribulation or evil so we ask Him to set us free from that here on earth.

Our hunger is not physical. It is spiritual. Until we understand that, take our failures and fall headlong into the arms of His sweet grace, we will always be struggling. Spiritual nourishment is found only in Jesus Christ.

Lifestyle Change Is Hard

Lifestyle change is a difficult process, but it is 100% possible when we tap into what God wants. It is a whole lot better if we do it with others. Star 1978’s review reminds me anew to be sure I am leading well. I always point people to God and His Word. If we are using that as our guideline, our lives will be in line with what He desires for us.

In the end we just need to know three things.

  1. We can only serve one master. Let’s make sure that is the God of the universe and not the foods we love to eat or the money we think we need.
  2. God will provide everything we need in this life if we put Him first. We have no need to worry.
  3. We are citizens of Heaven right now. We must cooperate with Him for His will to be done here on earth just like it has always been done in Heaven.

I am not as bold as Paul to flat out tell people to follow me in everything as I follow Christ, but I can be a mentor, coach and  guide on the path to weight loss, even extreme weight loss, and healthy living because God has already led me down that path. I do that by offering a low-cost coaching groups and a free KickSugar video course.

Right now the doors are open now to my Overcomers Christian Weight Loss Academy because God asked me to open them and keep them open. I did that for those struggling with food addiction during this unprecedented time we are living in. I will keep them open until He tells me to close them. Those who join now, can take advantage of our current free bonus.

P.S. To listen to more on this topic, check out episode 24 of my podcast HERE.

 

 

 

Teresa Shields Parker
Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss author, coach and speaker, who has lost more than 250 pounds. Her book, "Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor", is the number 1 Christian Weight Loss Memoir on Amazon. Her other books include: "Sweet Journey to Transformation: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Live Healthy", "Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God's Help", "Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation" and "Sweet Hunger: Developing an Appetite for God".

She also offers Overcomers Christian Weight Loss Academy and VIP one-on-one coaching program, both available under the weight loss tab. To book Teresa for your next event, check the Speaking tab on her website. Also check out her blog and Sweet Grace for Your Journey podcast under the tabs by those names.