Why weight loss is a lot like repentance

20 Feb

I just got home from a really great day at my church where over 30 new people signed up to take some next steps in our community of faith.  Then I looked at the calendar, and realized that it was a year ago that I embarked on a grueling physical challenge.

One year ago, I got on the scales at the gym and was shocked by my weight gain.  I had a general feeling that I had gained weight, but I really didn’t know just how much.  Well, in 8 years of marriage, I’d gained 40 pounds.  That’s 5 lbs/year.  That’s 17,500 extra calories/year too much…or 140,000 too many calories in all.  OUCH.

Many times over the years I’ve decided to diet.  I’ve done the tuna and green beans diet.  I’ve done South Beach.  I’ve done the 900 calorie/day diet.  I’ve done the egg white diet.  I’ve done the no carb diet and the beached whale diet (just seeing if you’re still reading!).

None of those diets worked for me for one reason or another.  They were too hard, too soft, too few calories, etc.  They just didn’t work.  But then I found something that did.  I radically broke from the past, so that my future would be brighter.

What does that mean?  I stopped eating any and all foods that had added sugar.  I didn’t eat food with added sugar for 4 months.  At four months, I ate a piece of cake for my birthday, and then did not again until Thanksgiving.  I decided that in order for my new diet to become a lifestyle, I needed to take away my taste for sugar and other things that I really liked.  And guess what?  It really worked.  In six months, I lost over 40 pounds.  Then over the last 6 months, I’ve lost another 12.  So today, I’m at a grand-total of -52 pounds, and I weigh less than what I did the day I got married (over 9 years ago).

This made me think about the human condition.  Sometimes we feel bad for the wrong things that we’ve done…so we think that we can succeed by simply altering our lifestyles.  Like this…maybe you don’t have to stop looking at ALL of the pornography…maybe you can just indulge when you feel really stressed out.  Or maybe the alcoholic can just have the occasional drink after an especially long day at work.  Or maybe the adulterer can control himself to only “look and not touch.”

Here’s the problem with all of those approaches:

The apostle Paul in Galatians 5:9 said this about sin: “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”  If you’ve ever made your own pizza dough, you know the truth of this.  Yeast, even in very small amounts, makes all of the dough rise…and quickly.  Paul was illustrating a great spiritual truth: that if we allow ANY sin to go un-checked in our lives, that it will poison us completely.

So what is the answer:  You must be radical.  Radically accept the gift of grace that Jesus has offered you.  Then radically turn from any and all sin that God shows you.  And run to God.

No.  Matter.  What.  The.  Cost.

Here’s what will happen…you will live in beautiful concert with your creator.  You won’t be trouble-free, but God will be walking with you through your trouble.

Do it…today.

Peace,

Neil

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