Week 1 Day 1
Ecclesiastes 1: 9-10 That which has been is what will be,
THE COMMANDMENTS OF MEN
Day ___________________________ Date ___________________________
That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there anything of which it may be said, “ See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us.
God used regular men in regular circumstances to write His Word. He used their personalities, writing styles and their particular situations and surroundings to write His Word without error (II Peter 1:21
). Even though we live thousands of years later we find ourselves in similar circumstances. The reason the Bible is still so relevant for today is that society has always had the same basic motivators. People have always had to live together and there have always been social statuses. For instance, in Jesus’ time, Jewish society considered the Pharisees to be the top of the social class ladder. People looked upon them as the ultimate authority, on all things proper. They were the last word on dietary laws, social graces, and manners. People relied on the Pharisees and other religious leaders to tell them what to wear, what was beautiful, what to think, what they should eat... They followed numerous religious and dietary “traditions” that had nothing to do with the Law’s of God. The Pharisees and religious leaders were for them as our celebrities and media personalities are for us today. We rely on them to tell us what to wear, what is beautiful, what we should think, what we should eat, and because they are on TV or in print, we think they are an authority.
I read a story recently, where one celebrity chef made a statement about another celebrity chef. He said, “The worst most dangerous person in America is clearly Paula Deen.” WOW really? “The most dangerous person in America”? What has Paula Deen done that makes her so evil? She uses butter in her recipes! GASP! I guess if this celebrity chef is correct, all those other southern grandmas are a danger to society as well! Yes, Paula Deen has developed type 2 diabetes, but they are finding that type 2 diabetes has more to do with heredity than it does with weight.
It is just this mindset that has caused the over the top health hysteria we now face. Paul Compos writes in his book the Obesity Myth, "The weight loss industry exploits cultural anxieties about fat to sell its customers products that don't work, over and over again, by convincing those customers that it is they who are defective. The failure of these products is ascribed to the moral weakness of those who purchase them, thus allowing the cycle to go on indefinitely”
. Campos also wrote, "Not only do obesity researchers depend on the diet industry to fund the bulk of their expenses: Many of these same researchers have direct financial relationships with the companies whose products they are evaluating." "The things many Americans worship today—'health,' 'fitness,' a perpetually youthful body—have become so closely associated with staying or becoming thin that, for all practical purposes, what such people worship is a god of perpetual slenderness."
Even this secular lawyer and writer recognizes that we have made being slim a god.
People, from the beginning of time, have judged and classed each other by how rich, smart, religious, and yes, how beautiful they are. When society sees a person who is morbidly obese they automatically assume they are weak in the character department. Their judgment of a persons character climbs in relation to how thin they are. I used to feel sympathetic and my heart hurt for those who were morbidly obese, but I must admit, I was right there with the masses and subconsciously judged them along with myself.
The Bible says in Romans 12:16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
Write the preceding Scripture in your own words. __________________
I hate to admit it, but losing my status as a thin person is one of the predominate reasons I wanted to lose weight so badly. I felt being overweight placed me beneath my thinner peers. Sure, I wanted to be healthy, but the overriding desire was to be elevated to what I consider a higher social position.
Be honest and really think about this question, is the desire to be thin important to you because you think it will place you in a different social class. _________________________
Explain your answer____________________________________________ ________
Class distinction, is the social boundaries in which the population divides itself. I found that I was actually guilty of dividing people into different classes when I caught myself vaguely categorizing people in the grocery store. If I saw a man with a thin woman I thought, “I bet he’s glad he chose wisely because his wife didn’t get fat”. I had no clue who these people were, or whether she was a horrible person and made her husband’s life miserable. I dressed it up and told myself that my desire to be thin was for righteous reasons. I wanted to be healthy so I could serve God better. However, subconsciously the primary reason was to elevate my social status. I wanted to be the person that society told me I should be, forgetting what the Bible says about being humble. The World has always changed the vices God condemns, into virtues. We have dressed up vanity, and changed its name to physical fitness. I was one that totally bought into the lie, but deep down when I finally got real with myself, the desire to be thin was all about what I looked like.
I thought my being overweight not only made me inferior but also lowered the social class of my family. I had to force myself to go to school functions with my kids. Even though my husband always seemed proud of me, I agonized over going anywhere with him were we would be seen by his coworkers and peers. My husband has always been handsome according to the world’s standards, and that automatically steps you up a notch in class. I thought they would judge him and demote him to a lower class because of my weight.
I know it’s wrong, and God has been working on my heart for years, but I still fight the feelings of inferiority. If you and I are honest, we have to admit, if we classify ourselves, we subconsciously classify others.
James 4:2-6 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?
6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
“ God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”
I used to dream about being thin. I thought if I was thin, I would be happy. Thoughts of being thin consumed me. I was so disgusted with the way my body looked. Dieting and food filled almost every thought.
Do you think if you suddenly woke up skinny, you would be happy and fulfilled, and finally at peace with yourself? ________
Explain your answer __________________________________________________ _______
Being thin will not make you happy. You will still have the anxiety you have always had about your weight. However, instead of worrying about being overweight you will be anxious about gaining it back. We have relied on the so-called dieting experts, who are no different from the Pharisees in Jesus’ day. They convinced God’s people to spend vast amounts of money on keeping up appearances and were obsessed about dietary laws. Diets do nothing to change the heart and that’s where the real problem lies. It’s not about changing your food. It’s about understanding and fixing the reasons you overeat and changing your wrong thinking into right thinking.
Some of the Pharisees came to Jesus, and were annoyed that Jesus and His disciples were not practicing the traditions that so consumed their religion.
- Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together to Him, having come from Jerusalem. 2 Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault. 3 For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders. 4 When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches.
5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?”
6 He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:
‘ This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
7 And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men—the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”
9 He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition...
Mark 7:14 When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand: 15 There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. 16 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!”
17 When He had entered a house away from the crowd, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable. 18 So He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?” 20 And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”
If idolizing thinness and dieting are sins and gluttony is a sin... Which is it? Do I diet because overeating is a sin, or do I eat whatever I want, whenever I want, because obsessing about being thin is a sin”? I asked God the same question, and I didn’t get my answer for over a year. I kept praying and asking. I asked my Christian friends. I asked my Bible study group. I just could not get my answer. When God did answer, it was so simple that I wondered why it was so hard for me to get.
One night, after dinner, I was upset about one thing or the other and I reached into the refrigerator to grab a piece of pie. I thought ‘I’m not hungry, I shouldn’t eat this’. Then I immediately told myself, ‘I am not supposed to diet, or worry about what I eat’! Then I thought ‘But I am running to food for comfort, and making it my god!’... I prayed ‘God which is it? Please tell me’. Then unexpectedly, after asking for so long, a still small voice said, “IT’S NOT EITHER / OR... It’s AND”. Now that may be hard for you to understand. You might not get it because the answer is so simple, and you might just say, “Well DUH, I knew that”. But, I had a serious struggle trying to figure this out. When God said “IT’S NOT EITHER / OR... It’s AND”, I knew exactly what He was saying. Running to food for emotional support is idol worship AND Habitual Yoyo dieting, and obsessing about being thin is Idol worship.
Do you think you run to food for emotional support? ____________________
Do you think you are a habitual Yoyo dieter? ___________________
(The Message) Don't you remember how it was? I do, perfectly well. The law code started out as an excellent piece of work. What happened, though, was that sin found a way to pervert the command into a temptation, making a piece of "forbidden fruit" out of it. The law code, instead of being used to guide me, was used to seduce me. WITHOUT ALL THE PARAPHERNALIA OF THE LAW CODE, SIN LOOKED PRETTY DULL AND LIFELESS, and I went along without paying much attention to it. But once sin got its hands on the law code and decked itself out in all that finery, I was fooled, and fell for it. The very command that was supposed to guide me into life was cleverly used to trip me up, throwing me headlong. So sin was plenty alive, and I was stone dead. But the law code itself is God's good and common sense, each command sane and holy counsel.
Food is such a tough thing to be in bondage to because we have to eat, or we will die, but when we restrict certain foods because we want to be thin and are idolizing thinness, it causes the compulsion to overeat. Have you ever had a procedure done, and the doctor said you had to restrict water for a certain period? Suddenly your mouth dries up and all you can think about is getting a nice cold glass of water. The same thing happens when you tell yourself you can never have another hamburger, or candy bar. Suddenly that’s all you can think about and nothing else will satisfy you.
Instead of trusting that God will show us how to deal with our problems, and tell us how to act, we have been running to the worlds experts. God wants us to go to Him first.
READ: II Chronicles 16:7-14
and Mark 5:24-29
In light of today’s study, what was the Scripture or statement in today’s lesson that most spoke to your heart? __________________________________________________ ________
What steps of faith does God want you to take towards Him today? ____________________
Rephrase the Scripture or statement into an expression of faith ________________________
Memorize the following Scriptures this week:
II Corinthians 10:3-4 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,