Main Passage: Romans 7:15-25
Secondary Passage: Colossians 2:20-23
Key Verse: Philippians 4:13 NKJV "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
What's the Deal?
Several clients have come to me for help losing weight because of a class reunion, wedding, or vacation. They wanted to look nice for the occasions. That's all. They've done "This Diet" "That Diet" and "Waist Away Detox Plan", but were either back where they started or heavier than when they first began their weight loss journey. Doing these plans was like going on a vacation: You go. You enjoy. You go back where you came from. End of diet. Why would they go through all of this? Because they enjoyed food and hated exercise, that's why. Yet they all confessed hating how they looked and felt. Each one really wanted to live at a healthy weight with their health numbers under control, but they felt helpless to maintain a healthy lifestyle. What they wanted and what they were willing to do were in constant conflict with each other. They would rather suffer through a diet and extreme measures to lose weight for a short-term fix, not make a lifestyle change which would give them what they really longed for. Image from Unsplash by Farsai C.
In the tongue twisting passage of Romans 7:15-28, Paul wrestles with the sin nature that continually derails his attempts to live out a Godly life. He saw the wrestling match all Christians face while living through it himself. We know what we ought to do is the right things to do, but we fail to do it. It is our sin nature that pulls us back into slavery to sin, but it is only by the power of Christ we can be free of slavery.
Colossians 2:20-23 tells us we don't handle "Do Not" very well, although we will try it for a while, just short-term. We knock ourselves out trying to live by a set of rules and regulations; however, we will go back to where we started when we are "Done with that."
Philippians 4:13 is often taken out of context. Keep in mind that Paul was in jail for the last time. He had been severely beaten looking at the end of his life as he wrote to the church in Philippi. He learned to find true contentment in all situations regardless of what situation he found himself. His true contentment was in Jesus Christ who strengthened him.
Dieting, detoxes, and other short-term fixes usually fizzle out because they are a list of restrictive Do This, Don't Do That. Most people can handle them for a short time, usually 6-8 weeks. They are too hard to maintain as a lifestyle. Most take out entire food groups which leave the body starving for nutrients and the dieter very hungry. They can also be hazardous to your health. Some of the diet aids have caused serious problems leading to hospitalization.
Fasting is counter productive because the body's metabolism drops to protect itself. This starvation mode makes the dieter's body burn muscle instead of fat. After a while, the starving dieter will begin to binge. Any way you look at this, it is not a good way to make a lifestyle change. This type of weight loss is a vacation because it is too restrictive to continue for a lifelong lifestyle change.Image from Unsplash by rawpixel.com.
The people I told you about earlier struggled with a sin nature. Some knew Christ while others did not. The sin of gluttony had them in it's snares. Those without Christ were trying to simply lose weight on their own power. The Christians on the "vacation plan" were caught in a worldly way of thinking. The Christians I've worked with who have successfully taken control of their weight and health gave their struggle over to Jesus. They wanted to live in a place they have never lived before, not take a vacation.
As a Christian, you have freedom in Jesus Christ to break the bonds of slavery to food addiction and the internal lies that have kept you in chains for so many years. When you replace those lies with Truth, the power of gluttony is broken one link at at time. The facts of healthy nutrition, being physically active, and giving Jesus the driver's seat in your life by making Him top priority are key to lifelong change. It's not long before your priorities fall into place reducing the stress that caused such a struggle in the first place. No dos or don'ts of crazy diet plans. No one has time for that. Pack up and move to a place you want to live for a lifetime!
Have a blessed week!