We can follow the example of Jesus Christ to overcome the temptation to eat food we shouldn’t and control our appetite.
While Jesus was fasting 40 days in Matthew 4: 1-11, he was tempted by Satan in three ways.
- A temptation of appetite
- A temptation of pride or vanity.
- A temptation for riches.
It’s unbelievable how the things that bring us away from God can also fit into those three categories! When we aren’t putting God first, it’s easy to get caught up in the desire for money, indulgences, and beauty.
Today, I just want to focus on the temptation of appetite and how Christ overcame. It was the first temptation of Christ, which was amplified because he was fasting and was probably quite hungry. There is nothing better than eating after even a few hours of fasting, so no doubt the desire for food, even bread was high. It’s important to realize, the temptation isn’t in eating. We have to eat, and bread is not a bad food choice. But the temptation was to satisfy a craving. How often do we have cravings for something that we shouldn’t eat? For me, all the time So how did Christ respond?
Also to reflect on is the difference between hunger and appetite. Hunger is characterized by a physiological response, while appetite indicates a psychological craving for food.
- He paused. He was mindful about the options. He was thoughtful in his reaction. Mindfulness (a trait Christ obviously possessed) is the delay between a stimulus and response where you can CHOOSE the better reaction.
- He drew strength from the spirit. He knows that He can overcome anything with the help of our Heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost.
- He drew strength from the scriptures. He literally quoted scripture in reply, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God”.
- He didn’t put himself in tempting situations. He went to commune with God when Satan came and tempted him. While we might be tempted somewhere we didn’t intend to be, we can spend the rest of the time staying in places where we aren’t even tempted at all. Clean up your environment, and don’t keep junk food in the house!
While it’s best to avoid tempting situations as much as possible, we can also be grateful for temptations. Even the temptation to indulge in our favorite junk foods can help us grow stronger. Through temptation we can practice our responses.
Weight loss is possible through controlling the appetite. There is no other way around it, and there are no short cuts. So, let’s take the example of Jesus Christ to control our appetite through mindfulness and the strength of the scriptures and the Holy Ghost.