Romans 13:14 – But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
Luke 9:23 – And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Isaiah 58:3 – Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.
Diets are mean!
That is the worldly saying. We say that because they deny the flesh what it wants. Once you hit 30, 40 or 50 dieting becomes necessary as our metabolism slows down. A diet can also have a spiritual aspect if you let it. Much like fasting, a moderate diet denies the flesh. Putting down your flesh in one area like controlling your eating can help in others. Richard Baxter reinforces this concept throughout his book “The Christian Directory”. Here is one example where he talks about eating too much and it causing bad dreams.
“Avoid those bodily distempers as much as you can which cause sinful dreams, especially fulness of diet: a full stomach causeth troublesome dreams, and lustful dreams; and hath its ill effects by night and by day.” – Richard Baxter
Fasting denies the body of all food. Dieting denies the body of food in quantity and quality. First you reduce your intake. Next you usually cut out bad stuff. You are denying your flesh. However just like fasting, it will provide little spiritual benefit if we are doing it just as a vain show of the flesh. You should not diet just to look good but rather because you are taking care of God’s body. The children of Israel were fasting just to look good. They denied their flesh in one area but they still were finding pleasure in other things at the same time. The best bet would be to start to put your flesh down as a you diet. Have a good attitude, a sweet Chrisitian spirit and let the denial of your flesh in one area help in things spiritual. I think that is the point of the passage in Isaiah. As we deny ourselves food it makes it easier to deny the flesh in other areas. We should take advantage of this spiritual multiplying power.
Gluttony is the sin that likely made us gain those extra pounds in the first place. Christians will preach hard against things that hurt the temple of God like drinking and doing drugs but will not deal with controlling their appetite. You don’t have to be fat to be a glutton. Dieting does not have to be mean. It can really be a blessing if you draw closer to God. Why not pray a little more, read a little more and give God more of time as you diet and try and grow with the Lord. Take advantage of the time you are denying your flesh. That would make your diet a lot less mean.