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About the Author
Joyce has written nearly 100 inspirational books. Her bestsellers include Power Thoughts; The Confident Woman; Look Great, Feel Great; Starting Your Day Right; Ending Your Day Right; Approval Addiction; How to Hear from God; Beauty for Ashes; and Battlefield of the Mind.
Joyce travels extensively, holding conferences throughout the year, speaking to thousands around the world. Joyce resides in St. Louis, MO.
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Eat and Stay Thin
By Joyce Meyer
Warner FaithCopyright © 1999 Joyce Meyer
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe Flesh Wants To Do Crazy Things!
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, You may freely eat of every tree of the garden. GENESIS 2:16
Genesis 2:16 was one of the first Scriptures God used to bring about a major change in my life when I first began to read and study His Word. Applying that Scripture brought victory in an area I had struggled with since childhood - controlling my weight.
When the Lord told the man, ... You may freely eat of every tree of the garden, He was saying, "You may freely eat of everything I have put here for you to eat." In other words, we are free to eat!
Once when I was teaching this subject, I asked the congregation to repeat after me, "I am free to eat!" It was amazing but not surprising to see the fear that crossed many of their faces. So many people who struggle with their weight have a fear of food because in the past it has mastered them instead of them mastering it.
They think, "Free to eat? What if I get fat?"
One thing that keeps people from reaching or maintaining a weight that is right for them is fear. They are in bondage to fear without realizing it - fear of "being fat" and fear of food! When they are afraid that anything they put in their mouths carries the potential for "making them fat," they would much rather follow the list of rules and regulations in a diet than have liberty. In following the strict rules of a diet, they feel secure they will be able to control their weight. But usually the opposite happens. Their diet plans often end in disappointment, failure and another weight gain because they are trying to be their own "keeper." They are trying to take care of themselves in their own strength rather than drawing on the Lord's strength.
Psalm 121:5 says, The Lord is your keeper.... His plans for us work! The way to become free from living in bondage to food and being enslaved to diets is to start learning how to genuinely follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. He will always lead you into victory and freedom, not into gaining weight. On God's "Diet Plan" you eat what you want without gaining weight!
One of Satan's main tools is deceit. People who clearly hear and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in other areas don't realize they are in bondage to fear in the area of controlling their weight. Fear keeps them from stepping out in faith in the power of the Holy Spirit to experience victory in this area. Without realizing it, they actually believe that controlling their weight is one area in which following the leading of the Holy Spirit and drawing on His power don't work!
When you are overweight, you almost constantly think about your weight. Little thoughts about it almost seem to hang onto your head, following you around everywhere you go, constantly on your mind. Hearing what God is trying to guide you to do when you are constantly thinking about your weight is very difficult!
Being overweight, depending on the severity of it, dictates to you in many instances what you can wear, where you can go, what kind of chair you can sit in, car you can drive, sports you can play or other activities in which you can participate. When your activities are restricted because of your weight, you can develop all kinds of problems in your personality. You can miss developing deep relationships with people, and you can block what God is trying to communicate with you by putting up all kinds of defense mechanisms. God does not want His children to live below the level He has planned. He wants to lift you to heights you never thought possible!
As we have seen, Genesis 2:16 tells us, ... You may freely eat of every tree of the garden. Genesis 2:17 reveals what freely eat means.
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and blessing and calamity you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.
To be free does not mean to live without restraint or in excess.
In God's terms, freedom does not mean the liberty to give in to the desires of the flesh. It means the liberty to be led by the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:12-14.)
From what we are told in the Bible, the Garden of Eden was a very beautiful, bountiful place. It was filled with trees that produced all kinds of fruits. I am quite sure that since they were natural, they were much more tasty than anything we have today. Because there was no corruption in the earth, everything that came from it was full of wonderful vitamins and nutrients. So everything was much more satisfying than it is now.
Genesis 1:31 tells us, And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good (suitable, pleasant) and He approved it completely.... I believe the fruits from the trees in the garden were extremely good-looking. Their very appearance made them appealing to the eye.
Into this garden, God placed the man and woman He had created, telling them, "You may freely eat of the fruit of any of these trees." So when Adam and Eve got hungry, they just reached up and picked something and ate it. But I don't believe for a moment that they ever overate, because they were led by the Spirit of God.
They ate when they got hungry. They quit eating when they were comfortable. Between times they probably never thought of food; it was never on their minds.
That is the way God has always intended. Food was there for the taking when it was needed, but it was not the constant focus or ultimate goal of life as it so often is today.
EAT RIGHT, FEEL RIGHT
God told Adam and Eve, "You can eat all the other fruits you want, but leave this one alone." That is the same message He is giving us today: "You can eat all of the good things I have provided for you, but it is going to be better for you if you leave certain things alone."
All of us know the things in our life God has told us to leave alone because they are not good for us or don't agree with us. For me, caffeine is one of those things.
For years I drank regular coffee with no problem. There was probably nothing I enjoyed more, especially in the morning. I looked forward to getting up early and spending time with the Lord over a cup of fresh, hot coffee. I loved my coffee.
Then all of a sudden some time ago I noticed that the caffeine was not agreeing with my system anymore. So I tried drinking half regular coffee and half decaffeinated. When that didn't ease the problem, I tried decreasing the regular coffee and increasing the decaf. I did everything I could think of to hold onto just a little bit of caffeine. I finally had to give it up altogether. Coffee has never tasted the same to me since.
I am always trying out different brands and types of coffee without caffeine, but most of them never taste good to me. So God has shown me that while I am free to consume many things, coffee with caffeine is not one of them.
I have learned that good health is more important to me than good coffee. I would rather feel great than feel miserable.
There is nothing worse than going through life feeling bad all the time. If we are honest, we know whether we are eating the right things or not. We also know whether we are carrying too much weight or not. We know because when we eat the wrong things or put on extra pounds we just don't feel right.
God has placed an anointing upon each of us, and He wants us to operate in that anointing. There is something He wants us to do. To do it, we must take care of our bodies, the house we live in. We have to eat and drink properly, get enough rest and exercise, and keep our weight down to what is right for our frame.
To be all that God intends for us, we must be delivered and set free from our preoccupation with food.
FOOD IS NOT THE PROBLEM
I know that there is nothing better for them than to be glad and to get and do good as long as they live;
And also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor - it is the gift of God.
I am not saying that we should not enjoy food. God wants us to enjoy what we eat. Food prepared properly and eaten in the right amounts can be one of the most enjoyable things God has given us.
I love to eat out frequently. After I have finished working hard in a conference, one of the things I look forward to is going out to dinner. I love to just sit in a nice restaurant and relax and have a good time with other people. But I cannot stand to leave that restaurant so full I can hardly move or even breathe.
There are many things that are a blessing if done in moderation, but if done in excess they can become a curse. Eating is one of those things.
Food is not the problem. It's what we do with food that becomes the problem. That's why we need to learn to keep everything in our lives - especially our eating - in proper balance.
DEAL SERIOUSLY WITH A SERIOUS PROBLEM
When you sit down to eat with a ruler, consider who and what are before you;
For you will put a knife to your throat if you are a man given to desire.
In this passage the Holy Spirit is obviously not saying that if we overeat we are to cut our throat! What He is saying is that if eating is a problem in our lives, we are to take that problem seriously and deal with it wisely.
I believe that food is more of a problem than many of us want to admit. This Scripture on the seriousness of eating is like the passage in Matthew 18:8,9 where Jesus said. And if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble and sin, cut it off and throw it away from you.... And if your eye causes you to stumble and sin, pluck it out and throw it away from you....
Recently someone told me about a woman in a church who felt that she had lusted with her eye, so she actually plucked it out of the socket. That kind of thing aggravates me. It is just the kind of deception that Satan leads people into.
Please do not misunderstand this Scripture. In it Jesus was not saying that we are to literally cut off our hand or pluck out our eyes. He was using a figure of speech to say that we are to take sin seriously and deal with it seriously. If we don't, we will never be truly free.
When you go out to dinner with an influential person, mind your manners; don't gobble your food, don't talk with your mouth full.
And don't stuff yourself; bridle your appetite.
PROVERBS 23:1,2 MESSAGE
In this version of Proverbs 23:1,2 there is a heading which reads, "RESTRAIN YOURSELF."
According to verse 2, we are to bridle our appetite. A bridle is a restraint. We are to bridle or restrain ourselves, not wait for somebody else to do it for us. We can do it with the help of the Holy Spirit.
DON'T DIE - LIVE!
For if you live according to [the dictates of] the flesh, you will surely die. But if through the power of the [Holy] Spirit you are [habitually] putting to death (making extinct, deadening) the [evil] deeds prompted by the body, you shall [really and genuinely] live forever.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
I am so glad we don't have to do all the things the Bible tells us to do all by ourselves. There is such a wonderful life available to us if we will learn to live in the Spirit and not in the flesh.
The Bible tells us plainly that if we walk in the flesh we are going to experience all kinds of death. But if we walk in the Spirit, we are going to experience joy, peace, victory, and life in all its abundance as we see God's plan for us develop and unfold in our daily lives. It is well worth it to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.
The Bible tells us if we habitually say, "No," to the demands that our bodies make upon us and, "Yes," to the Spirit of God, we will be truly and genuinely alive.
Did you know there is a voice of the flesh and a voice of the Spirit? Many of the things the voice of the flesh tells us to do are just crazy. It tells us to eat when we are not hungry, to keep eating when we are full, to it things we know are going to make us sick.
Have you ever eaten something you knew you were allergic to, something you knew was going to make yo break out in a rash or have stomach problems or a headache? Why did you go ahead and eat it anyway? Why did you listen to your body rather than to the Spirit?
It's like having a crazy man living inside of us!
We know that is true. We know our body talks to us and tells us to do all kinds of stupid, idiotic things:
"Please don't make me get out of bed." "Please don't make me clean the house." "Please don't make me exercise." "Please stop at that donut shop and get me some jelly donuts." "Please give me coffee with caffeine in it, even though it's going to make me a nervous wreck."
We must not listen to our natural mind. We must listen to what the Spirit of God says. Through the power of the Holy Spirit within us, we must learn to say no to ourselves and yes to God so the fullness of God's plan for us can be manifested in our lives.
Excerpted from Eat and Stay Thin by Joyce Meyer Copyright © 1999 by Joyce Meyer . Excerpted by permission.
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