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Are You Worshipping Food?

If you struggle with overeating, eating in secret, or cravings that just won’t quit, read on.

It’s never an intentional thing when we are worshipping food above God, but sometimes making food an idol in our lives still happens. But there is freedom out there and it is so worth finding!

It’s Just Food. What’s The Big Deal?

I get it. I felt the same way for a long time.

It’s just food. I’m not hurting anyone else by eating. It’s only affecting me.

But that’s not really true.

And, the thing is, as Christians, we have to see beyond.

See beyond these tangible things in our lives and look for the bigger picture that Christ sees.

If you weren’t struggling with your weight, if you were taking care of your body well, and it was never a struggle to say no to food cravings, then maybe it would be “just food.

But, chances are, if you are reading this, you do struggle with some of those things. Chances are, there are times when you know better, but you choose to eat it anyways.

That temptation takes “just food” from an outward behavior to a heart level.

Any time our sinful desires become compulsions that we can’t stop, that’s a chain enslaving us to whatever that thing may be.

We decide we want that one thing so much that we can’t resist, even when we know better, and in the process we unintentionally, and often unknowingly, let that voice speak louder than God’s voice in our decisions.

If you struggle with overeating, eating in secret, or cravings that just won't quit, read on. It's never an intentional thing when we are worshipping food above God, but sometimes making food an idol in our lives still happens. But there is freedom out there and it is so worth finding!

What Does Worshipping Food Look Like?

I don’t think the way we make food an idol in our lives always looks the same, but here are some examples of what that looked like in my own life, before I lost 100 pounds.

If you struggle with overeating, eating in secret, or cravings that just won't quit, read on. It's never an intentional thing when we are worshipping food above God, but sometimes making food an idol in our lives still happens. But there is freedom out there and it is so worth finding!
  • I ate in secret regularly.  This was usually in the privacy of my bedroom after everyone else was asleep, but I would also sneak bites from the kitchen when nobody was looking and even slip candy from friends’ candy bowls in my pocket or purse when nobody was looking to eat later when nobody was around.
  • I didn’t resist food cravings. It was like I didn’t know that I could say no to myself back then. When I craved something, I felt like there was no choice but to somehow find that food and eat it. If I wanted it, I would find a way to have it sometime soon.
  • I didn’t have a “full” point. When it came to eating regular dinners? Sure, I would feel full and stop at some point. When it came to late-night binges and cravings? I could eat and eat and eat and, even when I might have felt full, I could (and would) still eat some more. Usually, my stopping point was an empty bag or box, not my own feeling that I’d had enough. There was no such thing as “enough” when it came to Nutty Bars, candy, fruit snacks, chips, and french fries.
  • I didn’t consider others. At this stage of my life, there were times that it would occur to me that if I ate that next brownie there might not be enough for everyone else in the family to get another one, but there were so many times when I decided I just didn’t care. I was a caring, loving, generous person, but when it came to food, I was stingy and protective to make sure I got enough of what I wanted (and remember, there was never enough!).

You’ll notice that none of those things show me overtly choosing food above God. I wasn’t going to church to worship my tacos or bowing down before my chocolate bars.

It’s much sneakier than that, which is why we can go so long without realizing that it’s a problem on a deeper level than just changing a habit.

So, How Do I Find Freedom?

1. Recognize the problem.

You can’t do a thing to fix it until you know what it is that needs fixing. Did my examples above resonate with you? Are there other ways that you think food is calling the shots in your life?

Take a good look at those areas and recognize your need for a Savior.

The goal isn’t to get temptation to disappear altogether.

You don’t stop wanting food. You just want something else MORE (I talk more about that in my article on being a living sacrifice).

God cares about what you eat.

Develop a desire to honor God with your food choices.

Recognize that when you’re making poor decisions with food, it negatively affects your relationships, your energy, your confidence, and so much more.

2. Take it to God.

I have a 3-step process that I often use when I’m taking a problem to God, based on Philippians 4:6.

  • First, I ask God for help, both practically and emotionally. Here, I might ask Him for help in recognizing temptation when it comes up with food, discernment in figuring out what foods I should and shouldn’t be eating and in deciding on portion sizes, and help in uncovering other things I can turn to instead of food in those moments of temptation.
  • Second, I thank Him for things regarding that situation. With food, I might thank Him for providing enough for me and for giving me foods like fruits and vegetables that will nourish my body. Thank Him for his Word that assures you that you are an overcomer and that you can tackle these hard areas with His strength.
  • Third, I surrender the things I don’t have control over to Him. We’ve already talked about how this goes deeper than food alone. Willpower is a start, but it’s not enough to tackle a problem that runs heart-deep. This is the powerful work of accepting grace. So, take your fears, your doubts, and your worries and leave them at the foot of the cross, intentionally trusting that He is able to do this, even if you don’t feel strong enough.

And don’t forget to look for Scripture that relates to healthy eating and fighting against temptation.

3. Do the hard work.

If there are things you can do to make a difference, do them! It’s not enough to ask God to help, but then do nothing on our parts. Use the tools He has given you! Grow in self-discipline.

Start where you are but do something to take those healthy choices from good intentions to action.

How Will I Know When I’m Free?

There’s a difference between following the rules outwardly and a food freedom that starts with your heart and pours out in your actions.

You can be successfully following a diet without being free.

You can lose all the weight and be eating the right foods and still not experience all of the joy in the freedom that God offers.

Dieting is about sheer willpower, but freedom is about the heart change of wanting God more than anything else that may tempt us.

I know how appealing it is to imagine this grand moment when you pray and God instantly reaches down and changes your life. That certainly happens for some people and God can absolutely make that happen!

For me, and for most people I know, it’s a longer process than that. You are going to have to go through that process above again and again.

You learn, you move forward, and then you might backslide a few steps.

It’s a battle to keep consistently choosing God over that thing that enslaves us.

100 pounds later, I can tell you that I still have food cravings. Sometimes I still want to eat an entire pizza in one sitting, slam down an entire box of fruit snacks at once, and want to go out at 10pm in search of cupcakes.

The difference is, I don’t let my cravings make my decisions for me anymore.

I know that even when they feel urgent, that I really won’t die without eating that chocolate bar (and, in fact, I’ll probably feel a whole lot better if I don’t).

All of those examples above of ways I was worshipping food? My life isn’t like that anymore.

  • I don’t hide my eating anymore.
  • I say no to food cravings regularly.
  • I feel full and I can stop myself at a reasonable portion, even with super tempting foods.
  • I always consider others when it comes to food now, making sure everyone gets to share in the good stuff.
  • I listen to my body’s hunger and fullness signals and respond appropriately.
  • I choose to nourish my body with healthy foods while also savoring treats.

Freedom is being confident that you know God’s Word is true, even when your feelings tell you differently.

Freedom is being able to experience the joy in eating (because I do still eat and savor chocolate!) without temptation deciding what and how much I will eat.

Tammy Buitendach

Tuesday 27th of October 2020

This was an excellent article. I've been reading alot of your blog posts. My story is slightly different, I come from an eating disorder background and yet so much of what you write I'm able to use in my own journey.

Where you need to stop emotional eating, I had to learn to let go of food rules. Where you now respect the others at the table by making sure there's a second helping of the good stuff for them, I now choose to partake in the good stuff and laying down my restrictive food rules at God's feet so that I can share in the emotional bonding that can happen around sharing of food.

It took me a long time to stop being the girl that ate perfectly, or would attend a celebration and not eat at all because my diet wasn't catered for.

Food has certainly had a stronghold in my life and as you mention, often times God doesn't heal us in an instant. And I think he knows that by walking the journey our healing takes on more value and our minds are renewed and he's able to heal us on an even deeper level. Each year that I'm further away from my Eating disorder, the more I can look back and see how God directed my healing. Slowly and steadily and I had to return to him again and again for help.

It's liberating when you stop what you doing one day and say, God, I trust you with so much in my life, and I now want to trust you with my weight too!

Ree Anderson

Tuesday 31st of December 2019

I love reading your posts. I can't say I'm an emotional eater. I just love food, but good food! I'm not a junk eater, or a sweet craver. I like "real" food but too much of it! I do love "good" bread, not cheap white bread. And, I love wine too!


Thursday 2nd of January 2020

Thank you so much for your kind words, Ree! How wonderful that you love real food and not junk food or sweets!


Saturday 25th of May 2019

This morning as I sat contemplating food and the power it seems to have or should I say the enslavement it has, I had an epiphany. As I watched how my favorite cooking shows seem to place food in the center of as activities, gatherings, and events, I though to myself that food has become a god. I googled worshipping good and came across your thoughts. It was like confirmation to my ears, heart, and soul that I was enslaved and now knew what the problem was. Without identification, overcoming the enslavement would be impossible. Wow! I thank you and congratulate you on you 100 lb loss and new found freedom!


Sunday 26th of May 2019

Oh, wow, Martina! Thank you so much for sharing this with me! And also for your kind words. God is so good in the way He reveals things to us in just the right way at just the right time. Blessings to you!


Wednesday 27th of March 2019

I am so glad I read this today. My eating habits definitley are compulsive. Not only do I overeat but sometimes i eat so fast that I realize I didn't really enjoy it the way I would have liked. I do need to just surrend it to God, and look to Him for strength. Thank you!


Wednesday 27th of March 2019

You are so welcome, Tatisha! I can definitely relate to eating so fast you don't even enjoy it along the way. I'm here cheering you on as you seek God for strength in your eating habits!


Wednesday 27th of March 2019

This was super encouraging to me. Thanks! God has done so much in my life and I’m totally embarrassed that I’m still struggling with this area of my life. I pray that I will be able to finally make the connection that God can and will help me with this. Keep up doing what you’re doing!


Wednesday 27th of March 2019

I am so glad it was encouraging to you! You are certainly not alone in your struggles in this area. Praying for you to keep seeking God in your eating and thank you so much for your encouraging words!