Review: 'Full: Food, Jesus, and the Battle for Satisfaction'

Debbi Migit  ·  Nov 29, 2017

Asheritah Ciuciu sets the tone of her book, Full: Food, Jesus and the Battle for Satisfaction, on the dedication page, with these words:

To Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life, who is teaching me each day to feast on Him while also enjoying a warm croissant now and then.

Full is not another diet book. In fact, you will not find one single recipe, food list, or sample menu.

What you will find is conviction flavored with compassion, grace, and humility. You will be provoked to hunger for God in a way you may never have experienced before. The result of that holy hunger transcends the problem of food addiction and reaches to the root of our deepest cravings for something to satisfy our souls.

Asheritah begins with her personal confession of the disappearing caterpillar cake, which was served at her daughter’s first birthday party. As she cleaned up after the party, Asheritah took one forkful of cake each time she passed the table. By the end of the evening, she had consumed one fourth of a chocolate sheet cake all by herself. That night was her wake-up call: something was seriously wrong in her approach to food.

As the author began to examine her unhealthy relationship with food, she discovered that, “at the core, our problem is not really what we eat. It’s why we seek fulfillment in something that will never satisfy. We don’t need another diet, we need the sanctification that comes by the power of the Spirit. That’s the only solution that leads to lasting change and creates in us the transformation that pleases God.”

In part one, “Getting Real About our Food Problem,” Asheritah defines food fixation as “the inordinate preoccupation with thoughts and longings for food.” She points out that 2 Peter 2:19 says, “People are slaves to whatever has mastered them,” and states, “… until we deal with the heart issue of seeking fullness in food instead of God, our eating habits will never change.” 

She adds, “Overcoming food fixation isn’t simply about making a few substitutions and exercising self-control. The battle is fought primarily in the spiritual realm, and the battlefield is our mind.”

Those are sobering words to ponder as you examine the latest fad diet book.

Fortunately, part two, “Awakening a Desire for God,” shows us the antidote to our food fixation. Asheritah shares her heartfelt prayer, “Deeper Lord, I want to go deeper with You. Do whatever it takes to shake me from this apathy, and awaken a hunger within me.” She continues, “I can’t point to any specific instance and say, ‘That’s when I began hungering for God.’ I just know that as I sought Him with all my heart, He rewarded me with more of Himself.”

The author includes a helpful self-evaluation with questions and applicable Scriptures such as:

  1. When circumstances are difficult in my life, do I seek comfort in food or in God’s Word? (Psalm 119:143)
  2. When faced with a difficult decision, am I more likely to pause and pray, or postpone a decision by grabbing a bite to eat? (Acts 17:27-28a)
  3. Am I more likely to crave a snack, or a few moments of silence with God? (Psalm 145:16)

Asheritah adds, “a hunger for God cannot be fabricated or imitated—it’s the result of a personal encounter with the living Bread of Life.”

She includes these powerful words from John Piper: 

If you don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great. God did not create you for this. There is an appetite for God. And it can be awakened.

Asheritah offers practical teaching on fasting and Bible study with an authenticity that never condemns, but invites you to join in the journey. One helpful chapter focuses on the FEAST method of reading and meditating on God’s Word: Focus, Engage, Assess, Spark, and Turn. Scripture memory is also encouraged as the author points out, “Remember that the Sword of the Spirit, God’s Word, is what we use to ward off temptation, but that is rather difficult to do when we don’t have it handy. That’s why we are called to hide God’s Word in our hearts (Psalm 119:113).”

Part three, “Experiencing Everyday Fullness,” focuses on our day-to-day battles with food addiction. Readers are encouraged to keep a log of their personal triggers for overeating, which could be behavioral, emotional, or environmental. Asheritah states, “Whenever we eat to solve our emotional issues, we only exacerbate our problems, because once the initial pleasure of eating wears off, we feel guilt, shame, and disappointment in addition to the initial emotion that drove us to food in the first place. Food can’t help us out; only God can.”

In part four, “Living the Full Life,” Asheritah continues to marry the spiritual with the practical by challenging the Christian community as a whole to lead the way to awareness regarding our food choices. She recalls being horrified the first time she learned that there were studies claiming that those who regularly attend church are more likely to become obese.

That is not the abundant life that we are called to live. There has to be a better way. Sadly, Christians are sometimes so focused on our future glory that we neglect our present responsibilities. Asheritah challenges us, “Let’s not be so quick to run off to heaven that we treat our bodies like disposable paper bags.” 

Good stewardship requires more from us.

As convicting and even painful as some of her observations are, Asheritah always manages to bring a sweet sense of hope and even expectation that there is a better way. How many of us have ever wished for our own personal trainer and dietician to help us make healthy choices? Truthfully, we have that very resource in the Holy Spirit. As we deepen our personal time with God, we allow ourselves to become sensitive to His leading, even in the daily decisions.

The author explains, “How do we expect to hear God’s voice in unclear situations when we ignore Him in the plainest matters, like His call to worship, His call to refrain from self-indulgence, and His call to put down the chips and Netflix and pick up His Word instead?”

Each chapter offers a set of probing questions for personal or group reflection; other resources include “Twenty Verses to Overcome Food Fixation” and “Ten Lies About Food.” The author also offers a bounty of online content, including a free worship playlist, The Fulllife Bible Reading Plan, Fill-up Affirmations, and much more at thefull.life

Full: Food, Jesus, and the Battle for Satisfaction is a feast of wisdom, not only for those who struggle with food addiction, but for any Christian who wants to truly “know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19).

Now that is true satisfaction.