Gary Thomas wrote Holy Available to explain Christianity is a present power, and not a mere historical reality, because we offer the parts of our bodies—our eyes, mouths, ears, minds, hands and feet, and hearts as tools for God’s service. His point is, you can make a tremendous difference in this world for Christ. Our potentially stunning impact stems from an attitude and openness that is evident every time we walk into a room, talk to a person, shop in a store, or land at an airport. The question is, just what, or who, are we bringing with us? Are we mindful of Who accompanies us?
As I’ve contemplated the essence of what Thomas shares, it gives me purpose for a particular attitude toward food as well. We know our mouths have great potential for honoring the Lord in how we speak. But how do we honor the Lord in how we eat? Our Great God has lavished on us varieties of all kinds of healthy foods to eat. And just like Eve in the Garden, having every tree to eat from but one, she chose the one prohibited. We have an abundance of healthy foods to eat but time and time again we choose the unhealthy. Or we make unhealthy choices by overeating. Or, we just don’t say “no” when it might be the wiser thing to do.
The author of Hebrews provides direction for the Christ-follower “. . . let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (12:1b). “Encumbrances” are weights that may or may not be sin in and of itself, but nevertheless make perseverance difficult. Someone is recorded to have asked whether a certain thing would do a person harm, and the reply was given, ‘No harm, if you do not wish to win.’
What good are daily privileges if we lose our eternal reward? Every Christian needs to govern their life “with eternity’s values in view.” For the Apostle Paul to set aside his personal privileges meant discipline and hard work, as described in 1 Corinthians 9:24–27. His illustration from the Greek games was familiar to his readers, for the famous Isthmian Games (similar to the Olympics) were held near Corinth. The contestants had to discipline themselves and lay aside even good things in order to win a prize. If athletes can give up their rights in order to win a fading olive-leaf crown, certainly Christians can lay aside privileges to win an eternal crown! Only one athlete could win each event at the Isthmian Games, but all Christians are given the opportunity to win Christ’s approval. Paul’s fear of becoming a castaway had nothing to do with his salvation. He is not talking about salvation but Christian service. We are not saved by running the race and winning; we run the race because we are saved (Phil. 3:12–16 and Heb. 12:1–3).”
Discipling our bodies to run demands self-control when food is involved. For me going to battle with the sugar cravings can be a daily beating into submission. But it’s one worth fighting to win my eternal prize! As my “no dairy, no sugar” wraps up for the month of September and the first week of October, I’m reminded again on the importance of taking several days each week to continue this practice.
love this question: “Who are we bringing
with us?” As a believer, Jesus is always with me. I bring Him into every
room, every building, every cyberspace, every habit, and every secret
practice. I am especially thankful He walked through the month of September (and
first week of October) with me. I plan to bring Him to the party with cake as
well. But in moderation! 😉
 Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Heb 12:1.
 Warren W. Wiersbe, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1992), 446.