Tricks vs. Transformation
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery….16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Galatians 5:1, 16-18
5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:5-6
Most women I’ve met who struggle with their weight can flawlessly prattle the universally accepted diet tips:
• Eat a healthy breakfast.
• Fill your plate with color.
• Minimize meats & dairy.
• Move every day.
• Drink lots of water and get plenty of rest.
OK. There’s the formula for physical health and verve. If we all know it, why don’t we show it? No one honestly believes brownies and baguettes are nourishing, so why do we continue to consume them? Why doesn’t our insight move from our brain to our bites? Because the secret to fitness and weight management or anything our flesh detests, isn’t an intellectual exercise. It’s spiritual, folks. Until we choose from our heart instead of our head we’ll continue to pack on the pounds. “But doesn’t my mind dictate my moves,” you ask? Yes, and no. Jesus was clear, as quoted by Brother John’s 15th chapter, verse 5. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. Apart from Jesus you can do no thing. So yes, your mind gets you to abiding, but it’s the Spirit that transforms your heart and your habits. Without the help of the Helper you will forever be enslaved by your cravings. If you only rely on crafty diet tricks, like just walk away from temptation, eat only a small portion or remind yourself how good you’ll feel when you decline dessert, you won’t be truly transformed. When you’re short on willpower to trigger the tricks, your resolve will topple.
I recently listened to a fitness podcast that encouraged the audience to focus on the benefits of eating well when drawn to dive into the donut box. “I’ll have more energy. I’ll feel good about standing strong. I’ll avoid the extra calories….” Now mind you, all these statements are true but they miss the Master. It’s all earthly thinking when the path to true transformation and freedom is surrender to the Spirit. Instead of jabbering to yourself about the calories in a cookie, start praying sister! Claim your power in Christ! You are a new creation. Ask your savior to take away temptation – to alter your attention from food to your Father. Eat as an act of worship instead of whining about your weakness. Defy the devil and pray for all those people at the mall filling themselves with sugar that does not satisfy. Rejoice in the Lord that you are His chosen one – adopted – pulled up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog of addiction. (Let’s call it out, church. Sugar is an addiction.) He has set your feet upon a Rock called Jesus, Who makes your steps secure. (Psalm 40:2)
You will never shake the shackles of sugar by relying on mind manipulation that saves you only for a moment. It’s about transformation, not tricks!
Jesus was clear: “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free….36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:31, 32, 36
Consider a slow leak in your bicycle tire. You clearly have a tiny puncture somewhere. An imperfection. A problem. You have two options. You can continue to pump it up, knowing that within days it will be soft again, or you can repair the tire. Food tips and tricks surely offer you a detour to avoid the congestion ahead, but God can renew your spirit so you are permanently healed. There’s no need to rely on tactics because you are a new creation in Christ, no longer craving things that sabotage your temple. The Spirit of God remakes you, so ultimately you will want to eat well as a genuine act of worship. 3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:3-4
Oh dear sisters, it’s the power of prayer that overcomes pastries. It’s surrender to the Spirit that slays your sluggishness. It’s about abiding, not avoiding. When you find yourself sinking like Peter did when he focused on the waves instead of Jesus standing nearby atop the sea, don’t just utilize temptation techniques or visualize how pleased you’ll be with yourself after declining decadence. Acknowledge you are sinking! You don’t want a life jacket that keeps you in the water. You need a Savior to take your hand and lead you to safety.
But when Peter saw the wind – when she saw the piece of pie – he was afraid – she got anxious. “Oh no! There it is again. Temptation. Sweet comfort. I know I shouldn’t. I want to be strong. Have will-power. I don’t want a sugar slump. A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips…” And beginning to sink he cried out, “Save me!” Oh dear saints, please don’t depend on temporary tricks. Rely on your Savior to save you.
Jesus immediately reached out His hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Why do you fear failure, my friend? Why are you consumed with sorrow over your ample abdomen? Call out to your Maker for help. Trust the only solution that’s always available. Take off your old self that crumbles over cobbler. Put on your new self – your sanctified self – your sheep-like self – that depends exclusively on the Good Shepherd. And memorize Romans 8:5-6: 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.