Thursday, June 30, 2005

From today’s Daily Light...

“Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline.”
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”—As a father the son in whom he delights.—He wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal.—Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.

Last night I was approached by a woman who has been struggling with her weight for quite some time. A mutual friend of ours had told her about the success I’ve had in this area this past year and thought it would be good for us to talk.

I am not sure she liked what I had to say.

She opened with the same question everyone else has asked me…”So tell me what you’re doing.”

They mean, of course, “which magic plan are you following so I can follow it to?”.

That is what we have been conditioned to believe in…the plan, the food combinations, the magic calorie/fat gram/carb number…in some cases, even the pill or (more drastically) the surgery. My answer is not so simple and formulaic.
It starts with correction. Correcting the view that this is a health issue or a societal issue or a motivation issue or even a willpower or self-control issue (which it is, but not the way typically thought).

I am overweight because I have made a habit of eating sinfully. I am overweight because for years I was a glutton. Gluttony is still a sin. It didn’t cease to be such with the advent of the fast food restaurant…and God still hates it. But just realizing and acknowledging that isn’t the cure-all or magic step to weight loss. Though it is a start…the real change takes place when we let that knowledge have its proper effect.

Head knowledge of sin doesn’t do me much good if it doesn’t humble me before my God and convince me of my need of Him.

I knew gluttony was a sin. I knew it displeased God. I knew my very presence in a room was the equivalent of a billboard promoting sin. Knowing it didn’t get it done. Typically this knowledge would just lead me into condemnation and more gluttony. How and why it changed, I don’t know except to say consistency in seeking the Lord allowed the Holy Spirit to move me from condemnation to humility and then to the starting block which is repentance.

The word repent means to turn away from. No true change is possible unless you turn from one thing to another, better, thing. I can’t stop being a glutton if I am still walking down Gluttony Boulevard. I have to turn on to Self-Control Lane…and that is only possible by the power of and grace of God.

The word self-control even, is a bit of misleading word because I have come to know more and more that the discipline that is a part of my life now has nothing to do with “self” and is only there because it was put there by the Lord. Even the change from condemnation to humility was the Lord’s doing. I can take no credit.
And I give no credit to the plan I follow or the amount of exercise I do or anything else either.

I was reading a post on a website about Weight Loss Surgery. It is touted as a miracle…the solution to obesity. It makes me very sad because all it does is make very skinny gluttons….it doesn’t deal with the sin that causes obesity and one doesn’t have to do much more reading on these sites to see the truth of that.
As I read, this verse came to mind:

'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty. (Zechariah 4:6)

I then heard it this way:
Not by might, nor by a plan or pills, starvation or surgery, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty!

As I shared with my new friend, I could tell she was somewhat disappointed by what I said. I believe she was looking for a step by step process to freedom. She is right to want that…but I can’t give it to her or anyone else. I didn’t come up with this for myself. The Lord, who knows my frame and knows the most secret things of my heart has set this course for me…and it will be different for everyone else…except for the beginning. Each will HAVE to begin with repentance…and with being motivated by glorifying Him alone, no other motivation no matter how good it seems will be enough. In that posture, they can then commit their way to Lord and He will indeed direct their steps.

“Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline.”

And I am SO glad! Who better to correct and discipline than the one who has numbered our days and set for the steps we will take?

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jer 29:11)

Oh that we would all trust the Lord with the planning of our only to glorify Him and allow Him to direct our steps!

Oh that I would more and more each day!!

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