"Most people would not connect spiritual warfare to dietary change and are therefore unprepared when they come face to face with oppression."
Ask yourself something. Do you think Satan wants you to feel good about yourself? I don’t mean egotism, I mean believing I can do all things in Christ. Do you think he wants you to have enough self-respect to raise the bar to the level where others start to notice? They may ask some door-opening questions: “You’re looking great, what’s going on?” Do you think Satan wants that? No! He wants Christians defeated and asleep. He wants us so crushed and timid that we are afraid of our own shadow.
Some of the worst warfare I deal with is when trying to bodybuild. I do not see dead people but I do hear voices. First there is the on-the-way-to-the-gym voices: You don’t really think you will be able to stick this out, do you? You’re 47 years old—it’s just not going to happen. (I’m embarrassed by this next one.) You are not genetically suited for muscles. You’re wasting your time. When I am able to press through this first line of attack, then comes the inside-the-gym voices: Everyone is staring at your chicken arms. Those chuckles are at you lifting the girly weights. And when all else fails, the voice gets all religious and goes for the jugular: This is pure vanity.
By now you have discovered that there are two of you and we all live between the tension they create inside. There is the dreamer or optimist who thinks he can do anything, and then there is the other guy, full of fear and self doubt. The Bible calls it the old and new nature. Can you guess which one Satan speaks to? The devil lives in the shadows of your fears. They are your fears, but he knows how to feed and encourage them. Overcome your fears, and you overcome him. No more shadows to hide in.
Here are some practical things to do to overcome the affronting voices.
Expose The Message
Remember, Satan hides in the shadows. If there is a particularly stubborn message that will not go away, I share it with a friend. It is not always easy to put shadowy feelings to words, but I try my best. First of all, once spoken out loud, they sound ridiculous. My buddy is quick to confirm, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” We both laugh at the stupidity of the fear, and it deflates into nothing, leaving an exposed demon running for new cover.
Rather than burdening friends with all my fear-voices, I write many of them down in my journal. They look equally silly once articulated on paper. This has been a great help over the years. I do this prayerfully, and often with good antidotes following. I can go over my journal and see past victories, which is a source of encouragement when facing present ones.
Agree To Disagree
This is the hardest thing to practice, and I still fail. It goes like this: I’ll be driving home with the intention of hitting the gym for an hour workout. My mind and other unfriendlys are clamoring for an audience: You’re too tired. You won’t have enough energy. Why not do your workout tomorrow? It’s been a stressful day. You could use a break.
Instead of arguing, I simply say out loud: “All true, but I’m working out anyway!” The more attitude, the better. “Don’t care, doesn’t matter, bring it on, I’m doing it anyway!” I love that. Makes you feel alive. It’s what separates you from the animal. You are created in the image and likeness of God. Expressing your will over a handful of emotions, assorted voices, and the occasional demon is exhibiting to the heavenly realms that you
know your birthright. It does your Father proud. Heady stuff.
One Change At A Time
Instead of focusing on the daunting task of rebuilding your entire life by this evening, line up all your affronting voices as if on a firing range, lock your will on just one and shoot until dead. Two things will happen when the lie breathes its last. First, you will experience an overwhelming sense of empowerment.
Second, your aim improves and the remaining nasty lies are put on notice whilst you zealously seek a fresh target.
Avoid the temptation to deplete your energies by machine-gunning down everything at once. I know after reading all the former information that you are pumped for change. It has taken me 16 years to establish the metamorphosis I now enjoy today and it’s far from over. Be patient and remember, this is a lifelong journey. Rest assured, it get easier as you exercise the will muscle. A burden that was once impossible to lift can be removed easily by a simple decision.
Weight loss is going to be work, it’s going to hurt, it’s going to take time, there will be hunger, you are going to fail, and there will be spiritual warfare. But God has given us the power to succeed. It is these kinds of success stories that people are interested in because they showcase a relevant Christianity that holds practical value. It’s one thing to say Jesus has set me free; it’s an entirely different message to display freedom in something as challenging as diet and exercise.
For those of you, who, like me, find food a real struggle, I recommend my book, Foundation To All Freedom, which addresses spiritual autonomy in the area of personal decision. You will learn how to deal with the deeper issues of how to eat in freedom.
Related Article: The Painful Emotions Of Changing Your Diet