When I became an adult, I watched my metabolism drastically slow down and significantly affect weight gain. As a teenager, I could eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and never really had to worry about extra pounds. Now, I can tell in a day if I have missed the mark on my calorie intake. I can skip carbonated drinks or sweet tea and watch the pounds go off within days. Every little bit matters.
That’s why around our house we talk about “calories that count.” If we have a certain number of calories we are wanting to consume in a week, we save them for really worthwhile calories. That means that sometimes you hold back on lunch because you really want to eat well at supper. Or maybe I only drink water during the week so that I can really down some sweet tea over the weekend (Southerners, you know what I am talking about).
In Philippians 3, Paul warns us about having our stomachs as our gods. He is referring to living in such a manner that we always act upon any urge that comes our way. If we want it, we take it. That type of mindset leads us to stuffing our souls with the wrong type of spiritual calories.
There is immense danger in feeding every appetite you have.
The way Paul combats this false type of freedom is by reminding believers that our citizenship is not on this earth, but heaven. Look what he says:
17 Join in imitating me, brothers, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. 18
Focusing on earthly things never provide us heavenly delights. Paul watched so many people dilute their appetites because they got full
Sure you can spend your calories on this earth for things that don’t satisfy, or you can remember that there is a grander feast awaiting us one day.
If you are struggling with the seduction of this world, acknowledge the temptation is real, but grasp that our prize is so much grander. Hold out for the calories that count. If you are going to enjoy something, make sure you hold back for those things that are truly enjoyable! You are God’s child, your home is heaven, and the rewards there taste way better than the substitutes of this world.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.