17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
This is an uncomfortable subject for many of us, but if you listen and take heed, this particular series can not only change your life spiritually, but it can save your life physically.
According to the Journal of American Medicine, “Non-Hispanic blacks have the highest rates of obesity at 48%, followed by Hispanics at 43%, then whites at 35%, and Asians at 12%.”
Our relationship with food can negatively impact our relationship with God. It can turn us into gluttons, and even worse, “enemies of the cross of Christ.” This occurs when, as Paul writes, our bellies become our god. The Greek words used here make it plain that he is not speaking in metaphor. There were literally some believers who had made idols out of their stomachs. All they cared about was physical satisfaction and pleasure.
Clement of Alexandria, a church father from the second and third centuries, wrote: “Some men, in truth, live that they may eat, just like the irrational animals do whose life is their belly, and nothing else. But the Instructor enjoins us to eat that we may live. [Food] is to be simple, truly plain, suiting precisely simple and innocent children—as ministering to life, not to luxury. Our eating should lead us to two things—health and strength.”
He goes on to describe the kinds of exotic foods that people in his day sought after. Then he adds, “In their greed, the gluttons seem absolutely to sweep the world with a dragnet to gratify their luxurious tastes. These gluttons, surrounded with the sound of hissing frying-pans, and wearing their whole life away at the pestle and mortar, cling to [material things]. Gluttony has driven them to sweetmeats, and honey-cakes, and sugarplums; inventing a multitude of desserts, hunting after all manner of dishes.”
Clement concludes, “But we who seek the heavenly bread must rule the belly, which is beneath heaven, and much more the things which the belly craves, which God shall destroy.” Dear Christian friend, don’t be a slave to that which is of no effect in the end. In the grand scheme of things, food is neither here nor there. Let’s eat primarily for strength and health.
PRACTICAL STEP: Get a family member or friend involved in your quest to lose weight. Don’t try to do this thing alone. You can keep each other accountable and encourage each other. As the Bible says, “Two are better than one.”
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.