Some of you will really relate to what I have written about today. Those of you who don’t, this is a great opportunity for you to learn the struggles that some of us deal with daily.
Over the past few years I have made a concerted effort to be cautious with the food that I prepare for my husband and myself. No longer spring chickens, and firmly in the grip of middle-age, I realized the necessity of being wise and careful with the food I make for us to eat. We certainly live in a fast food society and while I have never been a “fast foodie” I do like many things that pack on the pounds. (My counseling students knew the way to my heart was Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups—yum!)
I was very diligent in food preparation for more than four years! However, over this past year I have slipped in my discipline of cooking food that is laden with mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), healthy fats, nuts, berries and greens. Most importantly, I pretty much quit eating all things in proper portions and moderation. The result of this is that I have put on an uncomfortable amount of weight around my midsection.
The interesting thing about putting on this weight is I have known all along that this would be the result of my undisciplined eating habits. I know that eating a typical American diet causes a person to (frankly speaking) become fat. And as I am being honest with myself, as well as you, I will admit that I have become fat. My lifestyle is, for a variety of reasons (several that are legitimate and a couple that are not so legitimate), rather sedentary. I spend much of my time sitting in front of the computer and working. I know better than to eat the way I have been eating over this past year! Too many calories in and not enough calories expended makes me a person who will certainly carry more weight than is good for me!
The point of my post is not about weight or having a nice figure or the proper number of calories or how to diet; my reason for exposing my newfound fatness is because I can see a comparison between the subtlety of all of this weight that I have put on my body and a person who is allowing just a little bit of sin into their life.
The thought processes of the overeater/poor eater are often similar to those of a person who is dabbling with other kinds of sin. Many times they’re thinking, “I will stop tomorrow,” “I will not do this tomorrow,” “I will not (look at pornography, lie, cheat, drink, drug, or steal) tomorrow.” They wake up in the morning with great resolve to “be good” and right alongside all of those good intentions is the flesh urging, “Just a little bit more… just a little bit more… just a little bit more.”
Just as Death and Destruction are never satisfied, so human desire is never satisfied. Proverbs 27:20 (NLT)
I have known over the past year that I was not properly caring for my body by my eating habits, and every day as I sat down to eat food I knew was not good for me, or quantities of food that were more than I needed. Just like the person who is struggling with other sin, the anthem of “I will start tomorrow, just one more day of this. I’ve already blown it for today, what’s a little bit more, just a little bit more” played through my thoughts.
I am now to the point where I am reaping what I have sown in my physical body. I have learned something I didn’t know before; carrying too many pounds hurts! My structure is not built to carry excess weight and I have discovered that the rolls around my middle hurt when they are squished!
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8 (ESV)
I have a slight build and even as I was beginning to experience the consequences of my sin, still my flesh cried out, “Just one more day of this.” Sin is sneaky like that and it is an equal opportunity exploiter of the lust of the heart and the lust of the flesh. These lusts do not grow weaker when they are indulged, they grow stronger! They will begin to take you captive through your emotions, making it easier to rationalize and justify your actions. The lusts of the flesh are feeding your sinful decisions and teasing you with the lie that if you put off change until tomorrow, or have just a little bit more, you’ll be satisfied.
For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Romans 7:15-19 (ESV)
I have learned this lesson the hard way. I do not for one moment labor under the idea that taking off these pounds will be as easy as or as enjoyable as putting them on has been. But I must repent. I must repent because I have indulged the idols of my flesh and I have made enjoyment of food my god. This is the hard lesson. When it comes to sin it is critical to understand that the sinful heart is insatiable and there is never enough to satisfy it! There is always another peanut butter cup, there is always another dish of custard, there’s always another doughnut.
And now in addition to detoxing my body by avoiding all of those sugars and returning to what I know is the best fuel for my body, I will have to fight the cravings of my sinful flesh as my desires tantrum to be satisfied. There will be some pain involved as I deny myself.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. Galatians 5:16 (ESV)
Sometimes the walk of repentance is long. Depending on how far away you have strayed in indulging your sinful desires, your walk back maybe months or even years. But I want to assure you it is worth it. I have faith that by God’s grace I will take off these extra pounds that I have gained, but that is not the main point. The main point is that I will be honoring and glorifying God by how I live my life.
…put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. Romans 13:14 (ESV)
I’m so happy for His grace that brings this repentance, to us both. Convicted through my biblical counseling studies actually, I began losing 2 yrs ago, 103#s so far and a bit more to go. So slow, but I’ve found that as in all obedience, He gives joy in the doing, which is its own reward. The desperation for His help leads us to such a closer walk with Him that, on this short-chain necessary for my weight loss, I’ve seen up-close His kind strength.