There are some wacky idioms in the English language. Some kinda make sense, like “You’re barking up the wrong tree!” Others, well, not so much, for example “I feel under the weather,” or “bite the bullet.” Where do these come from? I won’t beat around the bush and land the plane. (See, I did it again!) We get used to saying words and phrases without considering their meaning. For instance, this morning as I was praying the Lord’s prayer and I realized there was phrase I’ve said many times without reflecting on its meaning. “Jesus said, pray in this way: Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” (Matthew 6:9 NIV)
What’s this word “hallowed” all about?
“Hallowed” is an old time word we don’t much use anymore so I dug around to find some definitions I could relate to. I learned that “hallowed” is a complex word that encompasses a meaning within a meaning.
- God is irrevocably worth of worship, service, respect, awe and dedication.
- The worshipper is the one to give it to Him (i.e. me, you, us)
When we add “be Thy name” to “hallowed,” we are are agreeing that God’s Name is irrevocably worthy of worship, service, respect, awe and dedication – not something else, not someone else… not even you or me.
In our society, there is an underlying understanding that everyone is their own god and we control our destiny. As a result of this fundamental societal belief about how important “I am,” kindness is lost, humility is all but gone, and we are seeing a surge of self-righteous anger acted out in small ways and horrific ways. Vigilante “justice” is commonplace online and on our streets. This belief in the great “i am” (otherwise stated, “me”) as opposed to the “Great I AM” (otherwise stated “God” as in Exodus 3:14) grows from the root of entitlement: “the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.*
The core belief that “I deserve whatever I personally decide I am entitled to” is as ingrained in our society as the legendary L’Oréal Paris ad campaign, “because you’re worth it.”
According to the Lord’s prayer, God alone is “worth it.” It doesn’t say, “hallowed by my name” it says, “hallowed but THY name.” The source of my value is literally the Lord. I am worth it because of who He is. I can’t separate my deservedness from God and his grace-filled generosity to me. If I take my worthiness out of the context of God’s holiness and misuse my own hallowedness I risk all the terrible consequences of narcissism. Why? Because entitlement plays out as a god-complex.
We are valuable and have a purpose because we are created by, loved by and love, serve and worship God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit who is deserving of being treated as a hallowed being. Without a relationship with the Lord, we have a ravenous black hole of need that cannot be closed or satisfied. We can tell ourselves “I deserve… ” all day long, but if this deservedness is not experienced by way of belonging to the Lord, and on His terms, we won’t ever get the byproduct of worthiness we so desperately seek.
Let’s extrapolate this and put it in the context of food.
We often use the phrase, “I deserve” a certain food. I’m speaking of those times when we have had enough food, but we are “treating ourselves.” Obviously, we all have the basic right to eat to live, but for most of us, we regularly mis-use our deservedness when it comes to excessive and unhealthy eating. Are we worthy? Yes. God has given us value and we are deserving of many things because of His great love for us. However, when we use food and trust in food to validate our deservedness… it is a tragic disappointment waiting to happen. (Not to mention heart attack, stroke, autoimmune response …) Our food entitlement is literally killing us.
Ask yourself this, “Am I starving or hungry? Is God taking care of me with this meal because it benefits my life, or…
Am I blessing myself because I want more because I need to feel deserving based on how I feel about myself, my current circumstance, my self worth, etc?
Using food to validate our worth will fail. Why?
1) food isn’t God
2) food actually can’t validate us, it’s an inanimate object
3) because the foods we typically use to prove our deservedness to ourselves are harmful in quality and quantity to our bodies
Using food in the “i deserve it” mindset puts an inanimate object in God’s place to validate our worth. It’s just one more way to use food … as an idol.
Those of us who love the Lord certainly don’t want an idol in the way of our relationship with Him. What is the action point for change? When you hear your inner voice say, “But I deserve this [food]” hit the pause button right in the moment. Stop. Turn away from the food and turn to God. Before eating that food take time to pray. It doesn’t have to be a long, prayer, but it needs to be a prayer asking the real Diety for help, not the sweet/salty/crunchy one in the crinkly wrapper.
How can prayer change us? The act of turning to God and not food honors God as the “giver” of worthiness. In that moment of prayer we agree God is the provider for our soul, not food. Turning to God allows us to ask God for what we REALLY need: blessing, joy, peace, comfort and trusting Him for relief from fear, anxiety, weariness. Food simply cannot give these things to us. To believe it can is to believe a lie. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast your cares upon Him for he cares for you.” (NKJV) Cast your cares on God, not food. When we honor God as the provider and giver of good things, our situation changes because God alone has the power to provide change for real and for good. Food will never have that power. Never.
It’s amazing how a simple prayer can be so hard sometimes. Why? Turning to God is an act of humility and it means I am deciding I don’t get to choose how I get what I need. I am acknowledging there is only one way to get what I need, and that is to go to the One True God for it. Often, I don’t even know what I need – I am just rummaging around grasping at stick pretzels to scratch an internal itch. I am too finite to understand the world, let alone the interworking of my own heart. But God knows and He LOVES me. He knows and he LOVES you. Food doesn’t know you. It can’t. It’s just food.
The concept of “deserving” food is a misnomer. We don’t actually “deserve food,” especially in a culture of plenty. What we deserve is love, care, peace protection, celebration, to be told we are worthwhile and our lives have meaning and purpose. We deserve this because we are precious to God. Ephesians 2:20 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (NIV)
What you are really deserving of is love and if you’re searching for that love in the refrigerator… it isn’t in there. You have to go to God for it.
Questions for reflection during your prayer time with the Lord:
- Ask God if you are turning to food to satisfy your need to feel deserving.
- Ask God if there are other needs you are expecting food to satisfy instead of Him.
- Write those needs down.
- Hand that list, in prayer, to the Lord and ask Him to meet your needs. Trust Him to be the great and loving God He is in your life – and to answer!
- Put a sticky note with a reminder on the fridge, in the fridge, in your pantry, over the snack drawer… anywhere you go to food for help. On the sticky note write a note that says “Go to God first.” When you see that note, pause to consider your real need in the moment. Talk to God about that need BEFORE you eat. Let go of the food and give God a chance to meet your need (if your need isn’t true physical hunger and if you’re not satisfying physical hunger with nutritious food.)
6) Enjoy the Lord “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” Psalm 34:8 (NIV)
If our body needs nourishing, life giving food for your health, thank God for this gift of food before consuming it. Honor Him in your enjoyment of it. But if you’ve eaten enough and you’re still in need of something more (peace, comfort, worthiness, a pat on the back, a pick me up, etc.) food cannot give that to you, at least not in any kind of a lasting and fulfilling way. In this situation, pause before eating and ask God for what you need first, before going to food for it. He loves you, He has the power and He alone is the One who can satisfy your deepest longing to be cared for, loved and affirmed.
May God bless you as you turn to Him and find true satisfaction for your soul.
Need more support? Contact me to see if personalized health coaching with a Christian Health Coach might be a good fit for you.
Julia Fikse is not a therapist or a doctor and this blog cannot and should not in any way replace doctors advice.
*As defined by Merriam-Webster, not as defined by the government term “entitlements” or “entitlement programs.” This is not a political post nor should it be taken that way.