Many years ago I made a deal with my Maker. I offered Him all I had in return for all He had. To this day it remains the best deal I ever made. He gave me an amazingly fulfilling life and an eternity in Heaven. I gave Him a bucket load full of vice, a heap of broken dreams, a spirit filled with uncertainty bordering on despair, a compromised integrity, and a predilection for self-abuse. It seemed no great hardship to make Him Lord of my life, and I have never had occasion to regret it.

So ‘Lord of my life’, what does that entail? Well quite simply it means that He gets final say on the things that I do, the people I hang around with, the wife I marry, the kids I raise, the money that I spend, and how I spend it, the thoughts that I think, my habits, interests and vocation(s), and pretty much everything else as well. This includes my body: what I put in it, how I treat or mistreat it, whether or not I have the right to endanger it, or join it to a prostitute. The answer to the last two is ‘no’, in case you were wondering.

Other questions are more nuanced; especially what I put in it. Some things are pretty clear. Drugs are a definite ‘no’, but wine is a ‘yes’ in moderation. After all, the Lord, during His brief sojourn on Earth, blessed the marriage feast at Cana, and although there is no record that He Himself drank, His miracle attests to His benevolence regarding human celebration. Tobacco would be a ‘no’, a revelation that allowed me to quit effortlessly in a moment after a dozen unsuccessful years of trying. But the principle issue for most of us is none of these things; it is food.

An unconscionable number of people, mostly children, die each day from hunger. An equally large number cross the line from overweight to obese each day. Obesity and its attendant diseases is set to become the world’s number one health problem. These facts trouble me and this for two reasons. The first, as I have intimated, is spiritual. I cannot bring myself to believe that a God who wept for the dead and dying, who came to Earth among the despised and rejected, looks with favour on those who indulge their appetites to excess while people starve to death. That doesn’t sound like any God I would want to worship. In the second place I have no desire to be another statistic in the developing and developed world’s slide into diseases of the overabundant flesh.

My body is not my own; it was bought at a price; a tremendous price at that. I must listen to the One who bought it, and do what He commands with it. Not to do so is to make a mockery of my faith and become like the hypocrites the world accuses us of being. What He says about it is pretty straightforward. In Proverbs we read, “Hold a knife at your throat if you are given to gluttony” (Prov.23:2), and “Do not join with those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat” (Prov. 23:20). Paul writes to the church at Corinth, “Everything is permissible for me; but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible, but I will not be mastered by anything” (1Cor. 6:12). Later in the same book Paul holds himself up as an example, saying, “I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest having been a witness to others I myself become disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:27). This is not predicated upon a narrow legalism, but on a joyful truth, “Do you not know that your bodies are part of Christ Himself? Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you and whom you have received from God? You are not your own” (1 Cor. 6:15, 19).

Nor is my body the exclusive domain of God but it belongs to others as well, among them my wife, “The wife’s body does not belong to her alone, but also to her husband. In the same way the husband’s body does not belong to him alone, but also to his wife” (1Cor. 7:4), my children, “Children should not have to provide for their parents, but parents should provide for their children” (2 Cor. 12:14), and my neighbours, “Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a servant to everyone, to win as many as possible” (1 Cor. 9:19). For this I need to exercise control, not only of my resources, both intellectual and financial, but my physical resources as well. How can I serve others if I am too physically depleted, out of shape or given to gluttony, sloth or excess?

Though I have known these truths and sought to practice them all my Christian life, I have admittedly slipped a little on the physical end as I have aged. I have become a little too comfortable and a little too complacent, and with Pam headed home in April, and being forced to be a bachelor for ten weeks I decided to act on some information I had been gathering for several months and put a plan in place to deal with my behavior in regards to food. Stay tuned; I have learned lots and have a lot to share.