It’s hard for me to read a book centered on idolatry without food coming to the forefront. I have kneeled at the throne of food on and off for almost thirty years (I know you are thinking I can’t be that old); so I was beyond thrilled to see Kyle Idleman included an entire chapter on food in his book gods at war.
I wrote a blog entitled Food: Lies We Believe and Truth That Sets Us Free for several years. During that time I explored lies we tell ourselves to justify eating improperly and attempted to dispel the lies with biblical truth. So food idolatry is not a new subject for me. Unfortunately, I recently had to confront this ugly god once again. I had allowed it to slither back into my life and needed to face reality. Therefore Idleman’s thoughts on idolatry were timely and required a response.
What I found interesting was the placement of this particular chapter—first in a list of three (the god of food, the god of sex, and the god of entertainment) under the section entitled the temple of pleasure.
Food can be misused or worshiped for multiple reasons: to pacify a talking stomach, to stuff a feeling of rejection, to quiet loathing self-talk, to induce pleasant memories of the past, because it tastes irresistibly good (emphasis on irresistible). The list is endless. Most of these excuses (read: lies we believe) are born from a desire to be comfortable—physically, emotionally, spiritually, or psychologically. A synonym of comfortable is pleased. I think we seek pleasure in order to feel comfortable or comforted. As Idleman points out, there is a reason we call it “comfort food.”
This isn’t the first time God has talked with me about my obsessive need to be comfortable. In general, I do not like to be cold . . . or hot. I don’t want to be wet (unless I’m swimming) or have wind blowing on me. I don’t like to feel restrained or constrained. I don’t want my children to misbehave in public or for someone to pull a prank on me. I don’t like to be thirsty or hungry. And I really don’t want to be in pain. I will go to great lengths to alleviate physical or emotional pain.
It’s natural for us to seek comfort when faced with disagreeable situations. Sadly, we look for it in the wrong places—food, new gadgets, the opposite sex, etc.
“But think about this:” Idleman states, “Comforter is what God calls himself. He is the God of all comfort and he is ready to talk with you about your day. The Prince of Peace waits to give you his gifts and strengthen you. He wants to be your satisfaction.”
Is food an idol in your life?
Are you inappropriately seeking pleasure from food (or some other idol)?
How will you respond to this message?
Food, like most things in life, requires the proper amount of attention. If you find yourself thinking about it more than necessary, it may be an idol in your life. “Idols are defeated not by being removed but by being replaced.” (Idleman) Replace your idol/god with the one true God, Jesus Christ.
*For more of my thoughts on eating issues and food, wander through the posts at Food: Lies We Believe and Truth That Sets Us Free. I recommend starting here and working your way backwards through the posts.