And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Today I’d like to take Romans 12:2 and apply it to emotional eating. Let’s take it one section at a time.
Do not be conformed to this world.
I can think of many ways we conform to the world that cause us to eat too much. Here are a couple of them:
1. We’ve adopted Hollywood’s idea that we have to be gorgeous and skinny (and so we eat in despair when we aren’t).
2. We’ve adopted our culture’s idea that because we deserve to be happy, we should be able to eat whatever we want whenever we want.
Neither of these ideas are scriptural. God says it’s what’s inside of us that counts, not what’s outside (1 Samuel 16:7, Proverbs 31:30, Luke 16:15), and He doesn’t go along with the “you should get whatever you want whenever you want” idea, either. If fact, He actually expects us to give up things for Him (Matthew 16:24-25).
But be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
The Greek word for transformed here is interesting. It’s a change that starts on the inside and is manifested on the outside. In other words, God’s not asking for an outward show of obedience. He wants to change our hearts, so that we actually want to obey Him.
How do we do that? By the renewing of the mind. We must change the way we think if we want lasting behavior change.
So that you may prove (test) what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
There are two Greek words that can be used for prove or test. Peirazo means to test with no expectation or with the expectation of finding it bad. Dokimazo means to test with the expectation of finding it good. Guess which Greek word is used here? Dokimazo.
That means that if we do die to self, get transformed from the inside out, and take on God’s thoughts rather than the world’s thoughts, we'll find that His will is good.
On the other hand, if we just go for the outward conforming—following a set of boundaries out of brute force rather than a heart that actually believes life is better when you follow the boundaries—we’ll find that His will is not good.
Why? Because we haven’t been changed from the inside out. We’re still essentially hanging on to our own will fueled by our own set of beliefs.
We may be conforming to a set of boundaries on the outside, but inside, our hearts are telling us that we should be able to eat whatever we want whenever we want. Sooner or later, our hearts will win out, and we'll be eating like crazy again.
No, for lasting change to take place, we must be transformed from the inside out.
In my next post, I’ll show how this is played out in a practical way—how to change the way we think, so that we actually want to stick to our boundaries.