—by Mario Papadopollous

Chocolate cake: you know it’s not particularly good for you unless it’s made from cacao, unrefined sugars, and free range eggs, and that you don’t really need it, but that second helping always seems to hit the spot a lot ‘sweeter’ than the first. We know that our Facebook likes do not increase or decrease our value as human beings, yet we seem to gravitate towards the need for their validation. Which brings me to the first step of our journey together – the First Commandment reads: “I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have any false gods before Me.”

What is a false god?
A false god is anything that we spend most of our day thinking about or doing, and on which we heavily depend for our self-worth. The amount and quality of food we eat, the clothes we wear, cars we drive, people we associate with, our looks, social media, and the list goes on. If we entertain anything that we would struggle to do without for 40 days or more, then chances are that we have a ‘false god’ dictating our lifestyle; and we are not free, but bound to something that is not real. 

Why are we tempted to worship false gods?
We all want to feel good and know that we are enough, that we are heading in the right direction, that we matter, that we have worth. This makes total sense as we are made for love; to live out love and feel loved. Our temptation to entertain false gods arises when we feel God is not present in our lives, leading us to look elsewhere. When we look for validation, acceptance, and love in the wrong places, we will always find it, but the fix is temporary and like that first piece of chocolate – you are never satisfied, feeling unfulfilled and constantly in need for something more ‘filling’, with a deeper hunger that remains, one that only God can satisfy.

How do we develop discernment?
If you really want to develop the wisdom required to differentiate between that which will temporarily quench your thirst and that which will satisfy your hunger, then you need to change the way you think and renew your mind. It’s a gradual process, fortunately God knew that we would turn from Him and He accounted for us in His grace-filled nature.

Make God your number one
As a young boy, I felt the calling to make God my number one, but for many years I kicked against it thinking that such a lifestyle would be one of poverty, long black robes, and a grey beard (born Greek Orthodox that was my point of reference). What really scared me though was the seeming monotony of it all, and just the plain boringness of such a lifestyle. I prayed and believed that Jesus existed, but was not fully sold on the idea. At 33 I gave my life to the Lord, and my process of detaching myself from ‘the false god’ I had been worshipping – my body. Today my life is the furtherest thing from boring, and in treating His Temple (my body) with the respect it deserves – my mind is clear, my body strong, and my emotions stable. When I decided to honour His Temple by eating clean and exercising, my level of discernment heightened and gradually He revealed His purpose for my life. Let me ask you: do you have false gods in your life? If so, what are they, and where do you find yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally as a result worshipping of them? 

Renew your mind, restore your body – lesson 1
If we can just begin treating our minds and bodies in a way that honours Him, we naturally stop feeding that which once controlled us. That second slice of chocolate cake loses its power over us. As we focus on God, our minds begin to renew, our bodies begin to restore, and we experience a higher state of mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing.

As soon as you open your eyes in the morning, lay still on your back with your eyes closed, taking seven deep breathes – and thank God for all His blessings in your life.

MARIO PAPADOPOULLOS is the developer of the 90 Day, MIND YOUR BODY, Lifestyle Enhancement Solutions, designed for: Government departments, Corporates, Learning institutions and Churches. To book Mario or attend the next MYB Lifestyle Enhancement Workshop

Email: m.papadopoullos76@gmail.com

Linkedin: Mario Papadopoullos

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