Basic principle: What I do will produce consequences. Any exception would make a fool of God and he will not be made a fool of. Either I pay or he pays for me.
I live in a cause and effect world. If I do the healthy things I will do better than if I don’t. I may realize this and agree with the Lord that his ways are better, still I may not act as if I believed this. I put off exercising daily or eating healthy or getting enough sleep or reaching out to invest in others, or obtaining feedback that I might grow or taking time for personal re-creation or for fellowship with God etc. because I am planning to but JUST NOT YET! What’s the big deal? Do I see godliness and health as boring, hard work unsatisfying, difficult, limiting? YUP!
So I intend to start soon, or I do start but in a half-hearted way. The Bible says, “try that on your governor and see how that goes”. Malachi 2:6 I know that God is worthy of worship and that his ways are better than mine but it does not always occur to me that part of worship is “Tasting and seeing that the Lord is good”, “Hungering and thirsting after righteousness as a long running deer thirsts after a cool mountain stream”
When I move from eating doughnuts to eating whole wheat bread. At first the healthy food is experienced as boring. When I experience life, certain things are pleasurable and I program my urge-center to want to have more. I start to dump out dopamine even when I just start thinking about obtaining the enjoyed person place or thing. The more I savor the enjoyed thing, the stronger the urge to do it again becomes. This pattern is great if I am partaking of godly things which bring pleasure and add no sorrow with them Proverbs 10:22; But if I indulge in unhealthy pleasures and train my desire center to want more the worldly pleasures always let me down. Their pleasure is but for a season. Yet they don’t seem to lose their pull on me. I still find myself anticipating pleasure and indulging and being puzzled when the pleasure does not come. The brain is intensely curious. A child disciplined predictably will cease the behavior. A child disciplined in an unpredictable way will do the behavior more and more in a desperate attempt to make sense of the patterns. I think that my reward center remembers past pleasure and is trying to puzzle out why sometimes it brings pleasure and other times does not. God’s ways of pleasuring:
He wants me to worship him by slowing down and savoring what God gives me, my food, drink, clothes, houses, tools, people, health. I need to savor the good guiltless sleep he gives me when I resist sin and obey. I need to be careful to rejoice in God helping me a mature adult by doing the right when it is tough and delighting even in the toughness of it. I should focus on how it is a privilege to bear my burden and on how it brings blessing and joy. I can rejoice and savor the moment as the Holy Spirit empowers me to do that which is healthy and right. If you go on a diet and the night before you go out and pig-out you are telling your habit/urge part of the brain to pretend that you want to be healthy but look for ways to quit. Instead I need to delight in the hunger. Like a muscle builder I recall to my mind and therefore have joy in struggle “No pain no gain!”
True, God’s ways do not bring a euphoric high, but euphoric highs always miss-program the urge center to want what can not be maintained or what is not healthy. We used to suggest that people should get high on life. NO all getting high is unhealthy. I need to enjoy and savor and feel peace and joy and hope but God has even built a molecule into my brain to prevent highs from normal life. Why should I want to be high and die when I can savor and live!