Most of my life I’ve had to watch what I eat and get plenty of exercise to keep from being overweight. But I went years carrying extra weight and—I hated how I looked. But—I didn’t change my habits until I wanted to lose weight enough to discipline myself in a regime of diet and exercise. The undeniable truth about dieting is: The more I cheat, the more I defeat myself! I can look in the mirror in the morning and see the extra weight on my body and walk away determined to be faithful to my diet and exercise routine. But later in the day, when that delicious pie (you know, the one I say I made for the kids 😆) sings her siren’s song to me—I abandon my diet—eat three pieces and fall into a sugar-coma on the couch. I wake up an hour later feeling like an ugly slug and figure I may as well just eat the rest of the pie! Raise your hand if this is your story! But—isn’t cheating—horribly self-defeating? When we ignore the truth about what we see in the mirror and cave into temptation—we’re reinforcing the cycle of being the person we don’t want to be.
The spiritual lesson from my diet-fails is compelling!
We all have unhealthy life-habits that, if we would change them, would make us a more beautiful person. Whether it’s the way we talk, the thoughts we think, the places we go, the things we watch or listen to…each decision takes us either—closer to God or—further away. The closer we are to God, the more healthy we are. Thus, each decision we make today is—either healthy or unhealthy. There is really no neutral ground—much like dieting. Everything you eat, drink and do—or don’t do—matters.
Nothing makes us more healthy than God’s presence!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.”Proverbs 3:5-8
When it comes to God’s Word, it’s not just READING or HEARING it that transforms us—but, rather—DOING it.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the Word but does NOT do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever LOOKS INTENTLY into the perfect law that gives freedom, and CONTINUES in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but DOING it—they will be blessed in what they do.”James 1:22-25
Dieting and spiritual health have pretty amazing parallel truths:
Truth: I cheat myself out of weight loss when I ignore the truth that more food equals more weight.
Truth: I cheat myself out of the blessings of life when I ignore God’s truth that loving obedience equals more freedom and blessings.
The primary truth for dieting is if we eat it, we’ll wear it; if we don’t, we won’t. God’s primary truth for living is if we live by His Word, which Jesus summed up as “love God with all your heart and love others as you love yourself,” we will live FREE and BLESSED. If we don’t; we won’t. If we want to have a blessed life, we can’t cheat or cut corners with God. AND—when you begin to see the amazing results of living in passionate, loving obedience to God—you never want to go back to the person you were before. You LIKE what you see in the mirror. You LIKE who you are at work. You LIKE what you say to others. You LIKE YOU because you KNOW Him.
A relationship with God makes our life extraordinary.
“Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.”Psalms 119:18
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