Who—or what—is really in control of your life?
“Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.” (Philippians 3:19)
Back in 1984, a new sitcom premiered, based on Angela, an advertising executive who is divorced with a son. Angela hires Tony to be her housekeeper. Tony is an ex-baseball player and is widowed with a daughter. Tony and his daughter move from Brooklyn into Angela’s fancy house in Connecticut and the hilarity ensues.
The question in the title was clever and intriguing. Who really was the boss? Was it Angela, who made the money and paid the bills? Or was it Tony, who ran the household and took care of the kids? (I think Mona was the real boss, but that’s just me.)
Even if you’ve never seen the sitcom, the question is still important. Who’s the boss? Who is the boss in our lives? Who’s really in charge?
Paul warns us in Philippians 3 about people who show by their actions that they aren’t really serving Jesus. When he describes these people, one of the characteristics he gives is that, “their god is their belly.” That’s a strange-sounding statement, but there’s a whole bunch of truth packed in there.
Have you ever decided in the morning not to eat that Cheesy Gordita Crunch today, but to go home and have a salad? Have you ever turned the car into Taco Bell in spite of your morning decision? C’mon—’fess up! We’ve all done something like that. We all know what it’s like to be ruled by our bellies.
Y’all, this goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. What was it that tripped up Adam and Eve? It wasn’t stealing or murder. It was wanting so badly to eat something that they would give up everything to have it. (See Genesis 3:1-7.)
Adam and Eve weren’t the only ones tripped up by their bellies. Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of bean soup. (See Genesis 27:27-34.) The Israelites wanted to return to slavery in Egypt because they missed the yummy food they had there (Numbers 11:4-7).
The desire to eat goes deep—real deep. After all, hunger ensures the survival of the human race. If we don’t get hungry, we don’t eat. If we go long enough without eating, we die. Eating is a strong drive. Fasting puts that drive in its proper place. When we fast, we choose not be ruled by our bellies. Fasting says that Jehovah God is our God, and we will be ruled by no other, not even our own appetites.
Fasting is hard. It’s inconvenient, too. As soon as we decide to fast, a co-worker brings in homemade cupcakes and Taco Bell has a buy one, get one free on Cheesy Gordita Crunch tacos. Fasting isn’t supposed to be easy. It’s hard and it’s inconvenient, but it definitively settles the question of, “Who’s the boss?” Is it our bellies? Or is it the Spirit of God dwelling within us?
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this day. Help me serve you with my whole heart. I choose you to be the Lord of my life. I want you to be in control. I submit to your leading and your direction. Give me strength as I fast and pray today. In Jesus’s name, amen.
Today’s Reading: Philippians 3:17-21