Many people wonder, “Why do I have no self-control with food?” However, for believers in Jesus, this is a flawed question.
Discover these 5 Biblical principles to help with eating self control!
God revealed a key principle in the following scripture that I’ve never seen before.
The scripture is Proverbs 23:1-3:
“When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
Consider carefully what is before you;
And put a knife to your throat
If you are a man given to appetite.
Do not desire his delicacies,
For they are deceptive food.”
It was the phrase “given to appetite” that caught my attention.
The Difference Between Hunger and Appetite
A question popped into my mind: “What is the difference between hunger and appetite?”
You need to understand this so you’ll know why and how the prescription works.
According to the definition, hunger is the stomach’s feeling of discomfort caused by a lack of food intake.
On the other hand, appetite is a strong desire or liking for food or drink whether you are hungry or not.
Appetite is a God-given gift when used the way He intended: to satisfy the body’s need for food.
However, your appetite is out of control if you are eating often when your body is not physically hungry.
You can find yourself eating whenever the opportunity presents itself, such as from emotional hunger, boredom, or simply because the food is there!
What is Lack of Eating Self Control Costing You?
Think again about the phrase “given to appetite.”
When you give something away, you do it voluntarily.
Ask yourself: ”If I am giving myself away to appetite, what is it costing me?
You see, it costs time, attention and money to practice overeating or binge-eating behaviors.
When you give yourself away to your appetite, are you taking away from:
- Your relationship with God
- Your family or friends
- Fulfilling your destiny
- Pursuing a cherished dream
- Receiving joy from using your talents and gifts
What if you instead gave yourself away to God instead of giving yourself away to appetite?
If you want to do this, the eating self control in Proverbs says to put a “knife to your throat.”
Obviously this is not literal, but if someone puts a knife to your throat, they will have your full attention, won’t they?
Not only that, but you’ll do what they say!
Re-focusing Attention in Eating Self Control
The command is to focus your attention so that you can exercise self-control when your appetite throws a tantrum.
The problem is that many of us, from habit, are used to going unconscious when a thought to eat comes to mind.
We’ll give ourselves away to food mindlessly by:
- Running to food for comfort or to numb ourselves when we feel emotionally unsettled
- Choosing to keep eating brain-hijacking foods instead of those that keep us healthy and emotionally stable
- Placing large portions of food before ourselves that our body doesn’t need
- Returning to the kitchen automatically even though our stomach is already full
Refusing to submit to God concerning food and appetite is a subtle manifestation of pride.
It takes humility to obey God’s will because humility recognizes the authority of One greater than yourself.
Obedience also takes His grace:
“But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”James 4:6-7
5 Principles to Regain Eating Self Control
Here are the 5 steps to take back control of your appetite and the habit of eating when you aren’t hungry:
1. Pray at the beginning of your day, asking,
“Lord, I’m giving myself to You today, not to my appetite. You said that if I lack wisdom to ask You and You will give it to me liberally and without reproach.
Open up my Spiritual eyes so that I see any way I’m making provision for my old habits and show me a new way to make it easier to eat in a balanced way today.”
Decide in your heart that you are presenting your body to God for His purposes. After all, your body is His temple! Because the Holy Spirit lives in you, you DO have self-control as a fruit of God’s Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23).
The issue is that you need to grow your self-control through practice, relying upon the Holy Spirit through His wisdom and strength.
Visualize giving yourself away to God as a gift easily and joyfully.
Romans 12:1 encourages you: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”Romans 12:1
2. Since desire drives the appetite, declare to God in prayer that you want your desires to become His desires. Ask Him to change your desires into Godly ones this day, replacing brain-hijacking foods with those that support emotional stability.
3. Declare to God in prayer that you believe His word in 1 Corinthians 10:13:
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”1 Corinthians 10:13
4. When your appetite tempts you to eat when your body is not hungry, re-affirm your decision to give yourself away to God. Pray to Him, saying that you expect to see an escape route according to His word and that you will wait to see the escape route that He provides.
Wait and then take action on what He tells you to do.
If you do this, you’ll learn that purposeful action can captivate you as much as eating used to!
5. Thank God at the end of the day for helping you to control your appetite as His word says.
You will feel great when you see that it is possible to control your appetite with God’s help!
He will give you the grace and strength to do it each day. So praise Him.
Jesus says in Matthew 6:33-34:
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things…”
Take one day at a time, one moment at a time even as needed.
As you give yourself away to God rather than your appetite, you will experience increased peace and joy in your life – the blessing that comes from right thinking and right living.
You are on your way to permanent transformation as you renew your mind day by day, God’s way!
Be Blessed with Health, Healing, and Wholeness,
Author of the Take Back Your Temple program
P.S. Do you struggle with overeating sugar? If so, you are not alone!
Overcoming sugar addiction was a key factor on my weight loss journey; I lost 85 pounds and dropped from a size 22 to an 8.
In our 14-day Sugar Detox Challenge online course (inside the Take Back Your Temple program), you’ll get the same success strategies and support to gain peace in your eating habits and achieve lasting weight loss.
“Prayer for Weight Loss”