Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I don't know what to call this post.

It really isn't something I want to talk about very badly. But I think it's the truth and I think we, as Christians, have become too eager to pretend that it isn't. I accept that my beliefs may be wildly unpopular. And please understand I'm saying this as much to myself as anyone else. I'm very guilty of subscription to this attitude and its resulting behaviors.

So what am I talking about?

Well, I guess it's this whole mentality that we need to "embrace" or "own" our limitations and concentrate on inner beauty ~ that it doesn't matter how overweight we are, because inner beauty is more important.

Now, before you get all huffy, I do believe that inner beauty is more important than outward appearance. My problem isn't with that statement itself, but what bothers me about it is the way we use it as an excuse not to try to do what's right and responsible. It gets used as an excuse for not developing the self-discipline we so sorely need in our affluent society. We justify gluttony using phrases like this.

Contrary to what seems to be popular belief these days, even among Christians, gluttony is not a right! And yet it is being recognized as such even in courts of law. You can literally eat your way into a protected group with all the same legal rights as the blind or deaf.

In his book, The One Year Devotions for People of Purpose, in the devotional called "Is Gluttony a Right?" Chuck Colson states:

"Laws are supposed to remind us what we ought to do. But the pro-gluttony ruling sanctions giving in to what we want to do ~ even if it's unhealthy. Folks who binge on candy and chips can now do so with the confidence that even the courts will defend their right to self-indulge.

Christians ought to view the temptation to overeat as a challenge to build character, not fat reserves. Living in an affluent culture as we do, many of our temptations come not because we have too little but because we have so much. Unlike people in poor cultures, [North] Americans can afford to buy all the food we want ~ including the high-calorie junk food that puts on the pounds.

Proverbs 30 reminds us that both poverty and riches can be a trap. Poverty may tempt us to steal, but riches tempt us to gluttony.

Philippians 3 condemns gluttony as a form of idolatry. People whose 'god is their stomach' are headed for eternal destruction.

The last thing we need is false compassion that turns human weakness into a civil right."

It's good there are people standing up and saying we shouldn't be judging people based on whether they're skinny or fat, that it's their character and personality that matter. Better yet, ones that actually LIVE by that principle and demonstrate that they actually believe what they say. But it's BAD that we are allowing these arguments to lull us into the belief that gluttony is no longer a sin.

We CAN be beautiful regardless of our size. True beauty IS on the inside and that matters MOST to God. We should definitely have this attitude with regards to others, but when examining ourselves, we need to be careful we don't embrace this idea too tightly and allow it to become license for indulgence. If our lives are evidence of what we believe, of what doctrine we subscribe to, a woman of faith should demonstrate her desire for godliness with a heart attitude of modesty and self-control.

We do need a healthy self-image, but we also need to remember to look at ourselves in the context of "what do my physical appearance and my eating habits say about my relationship with Christ? Is it obvious that I'm allowing the power of God to transform me and to help me fight temptation, or obvious I'm not?"

We need a healthy self-esteem. But we need to be careful self-esteem doesn't become self-love, which very often gets used as an excuse to NOT change. God's grace does cover our failures; He does love us unconditionally, but that doesn't necessarily mean He thinks we're perfect just the way we are. God's grace is not a license to sin; it's the power He gives us to fight temptation.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
(1 Cor. 6:19-20)


Brooke said...

its amazing how the 13 pounds i've lost (all deemed not necessary by my doctor) have made me an all around happy person. and isn't happiness/contentment something we should project as followers of Christ.

and the happiness doesn't come from the smaller pant size, or the change in the look of my body - but in not giving up for myself. not settling for "okay".

God wants better than "okay" for us!

TammyIsBlessed said...

You are right on the money with this one.