Address the Disease, Not the Symptom

Addressing your overeating directly by clamping down on how much and what you eat is much like addressing a runny nose by putting stoppers into your nostrils. The runny nose is not the real problem. If you cure the disease, then the symptom ceases. Unlike the common cold, however, there actually is a “cure” for the disease that results in the symptom of overeating, and that cure is the grace of God—and appropriating that grace in several ways.

It is by God’s grace that we realize we need not conform to worldly standards of beauty that drive us to concentrate way too much on appearances and not on inner qualities. (See 1 Sam. 16:7b, Rom. 12:2, and 1 Pet. 3:3-4.)

By God’s grace we who trust in Christ have become “new creations,” with the Holy Spirit living within us to empower us to naturally have self-control. (See 2 Cor. 5:17 and Gal. 5:22-23.)

Because God’s grace is at work in us to teach us how to live godly lives, we do not have to put our trust in legalistic systems (such as diets) to keep ourselves in line. Instead, we can rely on the way we were created to naturally relate to food based on physical hunger. (See Titus 2:11-12, Col. 2:20-23, and Eph. 5:29.)

By God’s grace, we can turn to Him with our painful emotions. The food can at best distract us from our anger, hurt, grief, anxiety, loneliness, or depression, but God can provide comfort and perspective that leads to changed emotions. (See Ps. 73, Phil. 4:5b-8, Heb. 4:16, and 1 Pet. 5:7.)

By God’s grace, we can stop trying to meet our own needs (for protection, comfort, affection, etc.) our own way (through overeating and staying unnaturally large), because God is meeting our needs in ways that are ultimately more effective and satisfying.

Ask God how He is addressing the diseases of your soul through His grace, and he will show you the ways in which you are already cured in Christ.

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