Are you contemplating dieting? Trying a "healthy" weight loss plan of 1200 calories a day with an hour of exercise, 7 days a week? (That's NOT healthy, by the way, despite what the media and magasine celebrity nutritionists might say.) Thinking that the only way that you can feel in control, feel like you are good at something is by restricting your intake or bingeing and purging? Do you feel like the only way you can fit in with your female friends or co-workers is by dieting and obsessing on what you eat... because that's just what "everyone else" seems to be doing?
Let me tell you what the Bible says about this:
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So do not be attracted by strange, new ideas. Your strength comes from God’s grace, not from rules about food, which don’t help those who follow them." (Hebrews 13:8-9, NLT)
In Hebrews, they are referring to bringing animal blood and meat sacrifices to a holy altar in The Tabernacle, from which no one could eat. They thought that by giving up the tastiest and best meats, their sins would be atoned for.
If you compare this to our society today, sometimes we see certain foods as "good" or "bad," "healthy" or "unhealthy." We might try every new fad diet that comes around or trust unreliable sources if they give us the "perfect" weight loss plan. We institute crazy rules as to what we can eat, because it makes us feel like we have self-control, like we're self-disciplined. We stop trusting our God-given bodies' intuitive eating, so we eat when we are bored, lonely, angry, etc... and then restrict or purge out of guilt for breaking our self-imposed rules. We give up our favourite foods for bland "lite" versions, just so we will feel like we're being "good." We even consider rich, delicious delicacies as "sinful"!
But here's the cool part- we don't have to do these sort of animal sacrifices... or the modern day equivalent of dieting and having black-and-white thinking when it comes to our eating habits. We don't have to give up the foods we enjoy, nor do we have to worry about whether or not what we are eating is "socially correct" or not. That's because Jesus sacrificed himself for us already! He gave up all earthly comforts so that we could enjoy our freedom and relationship with God!
"So also Jesus suffered and died outside the city gates to make his people holy by means of his own blood... Let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God." (Hebrews 13:12, 15)
Diets DO NOT work... but JESUS DOES!