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Small Group Activity: "Feeding the Soul",

(1) Perfectionism can cause an eating disorder. People struggling with an eating disorder often set high unreasonable standards for themselves, go to unusual lengths in attempts to reach them, and fail.

APPLICATION: Which Bible Character(s) Displayed Perfectionism? The Apostle Peter always tried to be perfect, or follow the Lord perfectly, but failed over and over again. He is an example of failure, but through God's forgiveness and strength he became one of the greatest apostles who lived on this earth. This Bible character can help people struggling against eating disorders see how God forgives and helps them when they fail. It assures them God can do great things with their lives.

How can SOUL FOOD (God's Word) help them? Through God's Word we learn that we are not perfect, but we are forgiven and made perfect through Christ. Actually, Christ is the only One Who can make perfectionists, or any sinful human being, perfect.

(2) Low Self-Esteem can cause an eating disorder when people constantly fall short or fail to reach their standards and therefore, feel worthless and unlovable. These feelings can leave victims with thoughts of suicide: helpless and hopeless.

APPLICATION: Which Bible Character(s) Displayed Low Self-Esteem? Mary Magdalene felt unworthy. The Bible Commentary describes her as former demonic. This Bible character can help those struggling against eating disorders see that we can sink deeply into failure and sin, even into evil and still be completely restored. Mary Magdalene ministered along side our Lord. A place of highest esteem!

How can SOUL FOOD help low self-esteem? We receive our value and worth in and in and through the forgiveness of our sins bought through the blood of Christ.

ACTIVITY: John 3:16 - Say it together and fill in the blanks with your name: For God so loved _____________that He gave _________ His only Son, and whoever believes in Him will be saved. Think about how much our God loves YOU and how valuable YOU are to Him, through Christ.

(3) Sexual Identity Confusion can cause an eating disorder by creating low self-esteem in those who experience confusion over the man or woman they would like to be as they develop into maturity.

APPLICATION: Which Bible Character(s)received their purpose from God? All of the Bible Characters, The Prophets, Apostles, Disciples had a purpose which they were called to do, by God. We are created by God, for His good purpose, male and female. Our confusion is cleared up as we grow in faith and understanding of God and His will and purpose for our lives. Just like the Bible characters.

How can SOUL FOOD help establish identity? We are created in the image of God, male and female (Genesis 1:27). We find our identity in and through Christ - being one in His Body(1 Corinthians 12:27)...a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9)...which gives us purpose (Romans 8:28). We are created for good works(Ephesians 2:10), to spread the Good News(Matthew 28:18-19)....etc.

(4) Depression can cause an eating disorder. How people struggling with eating disorders see themselves (worthless, unlovable, confused) sends them into depression which causes their eating disorder.

APPLICATION: Which Bible Character(s) became depressed? Elijah wanted to die when Jezebel threatened to kill him. God renewed Elijah by giving him food and rest. When people struggling against eating disorders approach God's throne they receive mercy and grace in their time of need (Hebrews 4:16). God comes to them, in and through His Word, to supply all that they need (Philippans 4:19).

How can SOUL FOOD treat depression? SOUL FOOD gives us great value, shows us how much we are loved....fulls our needs, strengthens us and thereby prevents depression and eating disorders.

(5) Deception increases the strength of an eating disorder- Burdened with guilt, people struggling with eating disorders try to hide their symptoms, engaging in abnormal behavior in private, which may require stealing food or laxatives. Deception makes the disease hard to treat because no one knows there is a problem. Also finding out about their deceptions can make other people condemn them instead of help them, which increases their guilt as well as their deceptive behavior and symptoms.

APPLICATION: Which Bible Character(s) became deceptive? Abraham lied continually about Sara being his sister rather than his wife because he was afraid, just as those struggling against eating disorders lie because they are afraid. God constantly forgive Abraham and blessed him, because Abraham had faith and it was counted unto him as righteousness. God forgave Abraham by faith just as He forgives those who are deceptive, because of their faith and His love.

How can SOUL FOOD forgive and prevent deception? SOUL FOOD offers complete forgiveness - freeing people from the burden of sin that often sends them sailing into an eating disorder. It also reminds us that we have all sinned, and need a Savior. This places us on the same level with those who are deceptive, giving us a better chance to relate to them, "in their shoes", so they will listen and we can help them heal.

(6) Physiologic Problems can cause an eating disorder. Medical scientists are constantly studying biochemical and physiologic problems and attempting to determine which are causes of the disease and which are effects, or caused by the disease. These studies provide medications and counseling some people do not believe will help. Some also believe they need more faith, not more medications.

APPLICATION: Which Bible Character(s)felt the prescribed cure was foolish? Naaman believed that going and washing in the dirty Jordan river was foolish, too simple, and even beneath him. Once he did wash in the Jordan, he was healed of leprosy. God gives us everything we need, and in some cases, what we need is medication and counseling.

How can SOUL FOOD help physiologic problems? Some people with eating disorders will not seek counseling or use medications because they think they should be strong enough in their faith to fight the disease. They need to be assured that God allows for the creation of counseling and medications to help us.

IT'S TRUE :Perfectionism, low self-esteem, confusion, immaturity, depression, deception and physiological problems can cause many problems, not just eating disorders. That's why being thoroughly equipped with God's Word, so that we can feed people SOUL FOOD, is so important. It can help us, help ourselves and others, with so many problems.


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