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"Say no to harmful, say yes to beneficial." I've been listening to an MP3 from Living on the Edge about developing discipline in my Christian life. When I heard those words I marveled again at how the principals that govern issues of faith also govern issues of health. Here is some of what Chip Ingram had to say about spiritual discipline, and some of my thoughts about how it applies to the Blood Type Diet.
"The really important things," he said, "always get procrastinated because we can't delay gratification. We can't say no to food going in our mouths. We can't say no, so we immediately gratify our senses."
I thought it was interesting that he used food to illustrate what he was trying to say about discipline in prayer and holy living. I immediately identified with the example. The difficulty following the BTD is the urge to put off what I know is the best and yield to the immediate desire to indulge in one of my old favorite foods.
He said that it's part of our culture to think short term. But short term thinking produces stress, rationalization, lying to ourselves, vulnerability to do things we wish we hadn't done and feelings of guilt. If I hadn't told you that those words came from a recording about spiritual discipline, you would have thought that I quoted them from the Forum. Short term thinking about the food we eat creates exactly the same results.
Just Wednesday night I was with a group and snacks were served. There were fruits, carrots, and sour cream coffee cake. I remember my Mom making sour cream coffee cake. It's delicious. I began to rationalize - "I don't want to hurt the feelings of the lady who baked the cake." I lied to myself, "A little wheat/dairy combo won't really hurt." I was becoming vulnerable to what I knew I shouldn't do."
"I need to change. I need to know how to keep priorities," the MP3 continued. "Discipline is never developed as you go. It is always cultivated in advance." Ingram calls this "advanced decision making" "Say no to a quick fix that will feel good right now. Say yes to a hard road that will produce long term benefit."
Is that not the essence of the Blood Type Diet? Say no to avoid foods that I crave so that I can enjoy long term good health and energy.
"Say no to impulses, say yes to lifelong habits."
Fortunately on Wednesday the lifelong habits kicked in and I passed the plate of sour cream coffee cake. Partly I knew that I my stomach would remind me all night that I had done something harmful to my body. Partly I knew that if I ever tried to talk with these people about the Blood Type Diet, they would remember me stuffing my face with cake.
Whether you are new to the BTD or you're an old hand, do some serious advanced decision making. What will you do in a social situation? What will you do in a restaurant? Do not go with the flow or follow your impulses. Set your priorities. Decide now that the long term benefits are more valuable than the immediate gratification.
If you want to know more about how this impacts your spiritual life, Ingram took the principal from 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.
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