My Experience

The mere mention of the words “Health Reform” tends to evoke two reactions. Some of us unconsciously sigh, aware that there are much-needed changes in health that we are neglecting to make. Maybe we cringe at the thought of people telling us what to eat and drink, and we would much rather have them mind their own business. This is an understandable reaction, for no one likes to be told what to do, especially when it pertains to their personal lives.

However, that does not have to be our reaction. Some of us had this attitude in the past but have grown to see the beauty and the benefit of Health Reform. I am one of those people, and I would briefly like to share how my views on Health Reform changed when I became aware of the spiritual benefits that could be attained by living a healthful lifestyle.

In 2018, at the age of 33 years old, I was rushed to a world-renowned hospital for immediate surgery on my brain. The intense pressure, numbness, nausea, and resulting weakness of the previous few weeks had resulted in me requesting a CAT scan, which revealed a mass of cells imbedded in my brainstem that had begun to bleed. I spent two months in between the hospital and rehabilitation, as they monitored the ups and downs of recovery and focused on reteaching my brain how to tell my body to walk again.

During those months of bed rest and the accompanying medications that increased appetite, I became increasingly concerned that if I did not monitor my diet, I would gain a significant amount of weight, which would make it even more difficult for me to relearn how to walk. I found my good intentions to conquer appetite were meaningless, for I was constantly thinking about food.

In the past, I had viewed Health Reform as something that I could pick and choose from. I would live out the “easy to apply” principles, but yet hang on to those things that I did not want to give up. However, now that I was bedridden and in need of counsel, I decided to cast aside my preconceived notions of Health Reform and listen to what the Bible and other inspired writers had to say about appetite.

What Does the Bible Say?

With insomnia being another side effect of the medication I was on, I started occupying my sleepless nights with sermons on temperance, particularly those by Pastor Randy Skeete. I was shocked to learn that our battle with appetite is connected to the great controversy for our souls. In Genesis 3, the first sin of Adam and Even was to indulge in what was specifically forbidden. They thought they knew better than God what was good for them, and as a result of this indulgence of appetite, the entire world fell into sin.

In Daniel 1, Daniel and his friends refused to define, also translated as “pollute,” their bodies with the king’s meat and drink. Not only did they realize that it was forbidden by God, but they also knew that it would lessen their resistance to sin. They wanted to be as sharp and as focused as possible, for they knew that sin’s seductive charm would be tempting them from all angles in Babylon.

When Jesus was tempted by the devil in Matthew 4, His first temptation was that of appetite. The devil insinuated that He was not the Son of God, and asked Him to prove it to him by making bread out of the rocks in the desert. Having not eaten for 40 days and nights, Jesus could have rationalized that it was permissible to do this, yet He firmly resisted the devil’s beckoning by recalling His very own words that He had revealed to Moses about 1450 years earlier: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

The first Adam had fallen on the issue of appetite, and the second Adam (Jesus) had conquered! And that victory was now available to me if I chose to surrender my appetite to God!

Decision Time

That news shook me to the core. Diet was no longer about reducing calories, working out, and keeping my weight in check. It was now about entering into an even more personal relationship with Jesus, so that He could bring my thoughts and impulses into subjection with His will. I now wanted to be temperate in what I ate and drank so that I could glorify God, not self. By learning how to say no to what did not benefit me physically, I was learning how to practice self-control in my struggle against sin. I am not claiming perfection, for I continually fall short of the glory of God, yet I can say with confidence that by claiming Jesus’ victory over appetite, I am ever progressing towards the standard that He desires me to reach.

I was not cured overnight, but I found that by eating primarily fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and whole grains in moderate amounts, I was able to think much clearer, study much deeper, and even exercise more strenuously than ever before. The Lord restored my health to an even greater degree than before the illness, and I am forever grateful that He led me to these Health Reform resources.

In one of her many Christian devotional books, Ellen White, reminds us: “And as we near the close of time, Satan's temptation to indulge appetite will be more powerful and more difficult to overcome…Again and again I have been shown that God is trying to lead us back, step by step, to His original design—that man should subsist upon the natural products of the earth.”1

What Will You Choose?

If you are struggling with surrendering your appetite in all areas to God, I hope that my experience can encourage you and remind you that it does not have to be a lifelong struggle. Yes, denying ourselves is not always pleasant, but it is temporary. The more we make a habit out of eating and drinking only that which is good for our bodies, the more we will desire those foods and refrain from that which harms us. We will then be more equipped to offer our bodies as a “living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God” (Romans 12:1). While there are some health issues that may be genetic or environmental, there are many that can be prevented by our own conscious decisions, and by choosing to control our appetite rather than let it control us, our health can not only become a physical blessing but a spiritual one as well. 

Prior to making consistent changes in my life, I would often oversleep when I should have been having morning devotions. I would be sluggish and fatigued, making excuses to rest at home rather than go out and minister to others. I would be frustrated with myself, and often vent words of frustration rather than encouragement to my spouse and to others. These issues dissipated when I made these lifestyle changes, and now I find that I am enthusiastic and eager to meet with fellow believers. My involvement in church activities and community evangelism has greatly increased. Ultimately, with increased physical and spiritual vigor, I feel that the Lord is equipping me to share the Three Angels’ Message of Revelation 14, that begins with proclaiming the everlasting gospel to the world. With a clear mind and body, we can be so much more effective in our efforts to sharing this good news, and I know that what God has done for me, He will do for you!

All scripture taken from the King James Version

  1. Ellen G. White, Maranatha (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1976), p.62.

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