A few days ago I finished a 10-day detox. No I wasn’t in the “drunk tank” at my local jail or hidden away at some Palm Springs drug rehab joint, I was at home trimming most of the stuff I usually consume from my diet. Gone was sugar, meat, any drink but water and other things that make red-blooded Americans proud. Did I mention they also make us fat? Studies show that two-thirds of all Americans are officially overweight and half of those are full blown obese. I should point out that sugar, meat and other parts of the regular American diet (what’s in a McDonald’s meal?) aren’t bad in and of themselves. It’s just that we like way too much of it. Well, at least I do.
I love to eat out. I love chips and salsa. I love fajitas. I love Mountain Dew. I love ice cream so much I thought about naming my dog Blue Bell. I love a nicely cooked steak. Heck, I can get along just fine with a partially cooked steak. I love American portions. You know, the amounts that make everyone in Europe turn green, not with envy, but nausea. When it is all said and done, I love just about everything that typifies the American diet.
I also have genetically high blood pressure and hate taking drugs. So when my physician suggested there was a good possibility I could naturally lower my blood pressure through exercise and diet I was interested. For some time I felt I was losing greater touch with my overall health. I liked eating poorly but didn’t like how I felt or looked afterward. Add these things to my desire to lower my BP naturally and you get a fairly motivated person. The result was embarking on a fourteen-week journey with my physician on being “discipled” in eating better. The first step: 10-day detox.
Over the past ten days I’ve realized how badly I have eaten for most of my adult life. I can feel it in my cravings! Oh, how I so yearn for a big, fat, greasy burger and fries…enchiladas covered with queso…hot wings dipped in ranch…all the time! And that’s was the big problem. I wanted them all the time. No moderation here! I realized that food had an incredibly powerful pull on my life. Too powerful it appears.
The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:12, “‘All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be enslaved by anything.” Nothing should master the Christian but the Lord Christ himself. Not nicotine (for my smoking friends), not caffeine (for my coffee or Diet Coke drinking friends), not TV, not sports and certainly not food. In fact Paul continues, “‘Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food’ and God will destroy both one and the other. (13)” That’s a sobering conclusion to a very real truth. There is only one God and nothing else should have near the influence on our lives than him.
It also helps us see that almost anything will compete for the affections of our heart – even what’s on our plate! Food makes a great meal but a terrible master. Besides, we already have one of those. His name is Jesus. This detox reminded me of that truth. It not only flushed out the junk in my body but helped me look at the junk in my heart. I’ve been made keenly aware of how easily I can allow other things than God rule over my life. Was food doing that? I’m not sure. But what I am sure of is I gave it too much leverage in a life already claimed by somebody else. Now I pray that I can walk better the daily path that lets food be food and God be God.