Friday, July 17, 2009

Freedom From What Weighs On Us

Recently, I have begun a study with my small group called “The Lord‘s Table“. I first heard about it from Nae (one of my friends from sparkpeople.com) a year or two ago. I thought about doing it myself, but in my pride and resistance, dismissed the idea quickly. I figured I was doing well enough on my own anyways. After all, I already knew that in losing weight, it had to be all about God and I was aware (at least I thought) of the things I needed to be aware of to succeed (i.e. not making food an idol, watching the portions, etc.). Though, no matter how much you “know” you can ALWAYS afford to know MORE! And, if I “knew” so much, why am I still not at my goal weight after surrendering it to God over two years ago? Therefore, I figured doing this with my group could only enhance and help me on my journey; and I needed to be open to it. So far, it has proved to be a GREAT decision! I have been immeasurably blessed and am succeeding MORE THAN I EVER HAVE (and this is only week ONE)!

That is why I am blogging today. So far, I read about proper motives, fullness in Christ, the differences between physical and spiritual food, humility, fasting, and that food isn‘t the real problem. Today, I read even more about how we can be delivered from over-eating (and anything really - I find this course to be very universal in that). It focused on the cross and all that Christ did to not only save us, but heal us. Salvation is only the first step in our walk with Christ. As I read in Captivating (by John and Stasi Eldredge) Christ doesn’t just rescue us from tragedy only to leave us in an ICU. He wants to heal us and bring us to recovery!

“The Lord’s Table” makes it abundantly clear that the failure of other diets (and our own efforts) are because of one clear thing: they don’t deal with our sin. Consider this quote from the course: “Dear friend, beware of any teaching, program, or method of finding freedom from sinful eating habits that does not have Jesus Christ at the center, for there is no other way to solve the sin problem than Jesus.”

That statement is absolutely true! And, if you honestly think about it, you KNOW that! Whom among us hasn’t tried some special diet or exercise plan only to ultimately fail (even if we initially lose all or some of the weight we want). The failure of diets is extremely high. I believe I’ve read that it’s over 90%. And, most gain back their weight (and then some!).

Many of you know that I use sparkpeople.com as a tool to help me on this journey. Though, this isn’t my “source” for success. Even though spark has been a great help to me (and the support/friends I have there are awesome - and I wouldn‘t trade them for anything!) NOTHING helps me more than Jesus! NOTHING else can accomplish what Christ can! No “diet” can deal with the true issues that fuel our obesity in the first place because Christ is the only one that can deal with sin. So, like the quote I shared earlier, don’t expect to truly succeed in weight-loss (or in conquering any bondage) if you’re not dealing with the root. Even some of our churches miss the boat on that one. Don’t you think? Pause for a moment and think about this nation in which over half of us are overweight. Now, of that 50-60%, what percentage are Christians? According to an article I found, it states that: “one percent or less of those embracing the Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or other non-Christian religions qualify as obese, the numbers of the markedly overweight rise dramatically the further one goes toward the Christian fundamentalist end of the spectrum: around 17 percent of Catholics, 18 percent of Methodists, 20 percent of Pentecostal and Assemblies of God parishioners, and a striking 27 percent of Baptists, including the Southern, North American and Fundamentalist wings.”

I find that to be very sad, don’t you? Why do you suppose that’s true? I think it’s because over-eating has become the casual and acceptable sin. This sin has been so minimized that we are immune to feeling true repentance over it. Even some of our own pastors that are shepherding the flocks are even ensnared (I can think of a few well known ones that have a little “bulk”. I’ll bet you can too; whether they’re notoriously well-known or locally famous). For them (or ANY of us) to be callused about that sin or ANY sin (no matter how “minimal” we humans deem it to be) is something we should be concerned about (yeah, I’m preaching to myself too ya‘ll!).

If you need more “food for thought” consider this: A food addiction is more obvious than a vast array of other addictions. Therefore, shouldn’t the issue of food abuse among Christians be treated as a greater problem rather than a lesser? A problem with weight is far more obvious than other addictions that can be more easily hidden. We don‘t always know when Christians have a drug, alcohol, or pornography problem do we? Yet, a Christian with a food abuse problem is beyond obvious. This isn‘t to say that the other issues mentioned are less of a sin than this is (all sin is sin). What I‘m saying is that this one is often more apparent and, therefore, more likely to deter anyone who observes the Christian faith from practicing the faith themselves. Though, it’s not to say that we aren’t all responsible for our own choices to believe. I choose to believe no matter how many hypocritical Christians are out there (and, in all actuality, we are ALL hypocrites because none are perfect - Romans 3:10, 23. So, there goes THAT excuse!). Nevertheless, as God’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) we ought to be concerned about the fact that we are making it clear that God is second in priority next to food (as evidenced by the “extra” on our body). We are supposed to seek the fullness that is in Christ (Colossians 2:9-10) and not the fullness of a stomach that never truly satisfies. How is a nonbeliever or baby Christian going to understand that they need to make Christ Lord of their life if our body is screaming the contrary?

Herein likes my primary motive for losing weight (just as “The Lord’s Table” states): that I will glorify God. Personally, I don’t feel that I bring glory to God when I wear my shame/idolatry on my body. Having a love affair with food instead of Christ isn’t going to help me or anyone else and it will only diminish the kind of example I can be when I treat my temple as a garbage disposal. All things in moderation, not in exaggeration. `

Thankfully, there is hope and freedom; and it’s attainable through Christ!! That is the hope I wanted to share today! In fact, I will post what I originally wanted to share in my next blog. It’s in regards to the fresh perspective and understanding that I acquired about grace when I was reading the course lesson today. I hope and pray that it will mean as much to you as it does to me because it absolutely blew me away and left me in awe!! I’m just loving “The Lord‘s Table“ and I highly recommend it! You can find this course, as well as courses for other addictions (cutting, drugs and alcohol, sex), at www.settingcaptivesfree.com

Grace and peace to all of you!! I pray that whatever stronghold you are struggling with (whether it be food or something else) will be surrendered to Jesus. He died to make us free from whatever weighs on us (no matter how big or small we deem those things to be)! That freedom is offered to us through Christ; with whom all things are possible (Matthew 19:26, Philippians 4:13). Victory will come when we humbly surrender, give up our pride, and get real about our own callousness. May the Lord abundantly bless and free you as you seek Him!!

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