As a health coach, I often hear questions like, “Can I still have chocolate and lose weight? What about biscuits and gravy? Do I have to give that up?” Most people want to know how much high-calorie, low-nutrition food they can eat and still lose weight. I’ve tried to use my fitness experience and Exercise Science degree to answer those questions for years, but honestly, I don’t feel I’ve ever given a good answer. However, God answered this question very clearly tonight. Do you mind if I share? I’ll make it quick.
Way back in Genesis 1, after creating Adam, God gave mankind “dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (v. 28) In addition, God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.” (v. 29) Wow, that’s a whole lot of free reign, isn’t it? Yet God gave one limitation – just one – as He said, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (v. 16-17) I realize this passage is familiar to you, but look at this: beginning in chapter 3, what did Satan say in response to the amazing freedom God gave man? He shifted Adam and Eve’s focus to what they could not have, which incited riot in the hearts of humanity’s first couple.
Though we’re still feeling the negative effects, Satan’s scheme in the garden also showed us his cards; he tipped his hand by revealing one of his chief means of deception. The devil loves to shift our focus away from God’s abundant provision and onto the few things God denies us or limits; the enemy wants us to see God as restrictive and withholding good. For instance, as read in 1 Corinthians 7:2 and Hebrews 13:4, God graciously allows and is glorified when sex is enjoyed between a man and woman in marriage, but we so often challenge that perfect parameter, questioning why God doesn’t condone any and every sexual escapade. If Satan can shift our focus from God’s plentiful nature and onto the one tree we can’t have, he can change the game.
It’s true, you must limit high-calorie foods like chocolate ice cream, biscuits and gravy, and sweet tea, but why do we focus on those limitations when we diet? Why don’t we focus our energy on all those healthy, high-nutrient, low-calorie foods God has so abundantly and freely given us? When trying to lose weight, and we fuss and whine that we can’t have as much of those decadent, processed foods – while ignoring apples, peaches, and the entire produce section – we’re buying into Satan’s scheme that God has somehow withheld something we need to survive. It’s a lie from the father of lies. (John 8:44)
I propose we focus on how much of God’s good food we can eat instead of how much of the unhealthy stuff we can get away with – the opposite mindset of most diets. As we shift our sights away from God’s restriction and onto His provision, we’ll begin to enjoy the original freedom Adam and Eve enjoyed in the garden. Remember, God’s children aren’t limited, as we’re the only ones who are free for “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36) Referring to God’s children, Psalm 36:8 says, “They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.” Let’s get our hearts away from God’s restrictions and onto His above and beyond abundance.