“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who
WALK not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:4)
WALKING IN NEWNESS OF LIFE II
Our heavenly Father did not provide salvation as an “enhancement” to the life we have already made. His intention was for His children to build their lives AROUND HIM! Many are proud of their accomplishments and satisfied with the way they have laid out their destiny but that does not mean they are WALKING in God. Some see the idea of religion as the icing on a cake they have already baked but this is completely missing the idea of grace and redemption. “And He spoke also a parable unto them; No man puts a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new causes a tear and the piece that was taken out of the new does not match with the old. And no man puts new wine into old wineskins; else the new wine will burst the containers and be spilled, and all will be ruined. But NEW WINE must be put into NEW CONTAINERS; and both are PRESERVED.” (Luke 5:36-39) Jesus is not in the business of patching people up He has come to completely transform our heart, conscience and thinking so that He can fill us with His Spirit. He is not the new “engine” on our ship where we remain captain – He IS the new ship, the new engine and most importantly our new CAPTAIN. Selah. “Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that just as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should WALK in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead – is freed from sin.” (Romans 6:4-8) We all slip up from time to time but that is not what this passage is trying to reveal to us. We are not to be “servants” or SLAVES to sin if we profess to be born again. Unfortunately many who consider themselves Christians have fallen into the bondage of carnality and have not realized that something is seriously wrong. The old mind and nature is supposed to be a corpse but for many it still has a pulse (like a zombie – the walking dead). We are not to live like this! We can call out to God anytime we are fed up with being used by the devil and the Lord will hear our cries and will help us break the chains that hold us. If sin is using you there is no better time than right now to say “no more” and to remove (impeach) whoever or whatever is sitting on the throne of your heart. Whatever is controlling you has become your god! If Jesus is not sitting on the throne of your heart – He is not your Lord! Our determination to be what Jesus has died for us to be includes talking, WALKING, thinking and LIVING holy. “Likewise reckon you also yourselves to be DEAD indeed unto sin, but ALIVE unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore REIGN in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are ALIVE from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” (Romans 6:11-13)
THE WALK OF SELF-CONTROL: Whatever the addiction we realize there is a VICIOUS CYCLE and where there is a habit – there is always a CROSSROAD MOMENT! This is the place of decision that returns on a regular basis where we are faced with the CHOICE to continue going in the same old direction or change course. With food addiction, the “deal” is made when hunger is the most intense. This is when the body raises its awareness and becomes a craving, aggressive predator. In our weakness we are very vulnerable to temptation and where we privately decide if we are going to obey the red light of self-control or the green light of unrestraint. It begins with temptation that comes from a strong desire and ends with us accepting or rejecting its offer. When we “submit” to the yearning, we indulge until we are satisfied and our senses are submerged in a temporary feeling of ecstasy and euphoria. This emotional “dream state” can drift into emotions of sadness, regret, depression and guilt only minutes after we have mesmerized with pleasure. This “merry-go-round” prison of condemnation can become so powerful that some may fall into the pattern of even regurgitating the food along with all of the many different types of psychological eating disorders. The agony of failure remains until the satisfaction wears off, the hunger returns and the “beast” awakes to plan its next feast. We do not need a psychiatrist to help us find the answer to overcoming this deceptive enemy because it does not matter so much “why” we have come to this point – but how can we WALK in God’s perfect will! Even if we could write a book about our past it would not necessarily in itself cause us to automatically live the abundant Christian life. It is not the past that is holding us hostage – it is our inability to realize that we are holding the key to our own prison cell. Selah.
Can God’s power help me overcome my compulsive problems? Well, of course! He is always ready to respond to our faith! No doubt we all need His power to “help” us with everyday trials, but we cannot sit on the couch with a huge bag of potato chips and expect Him to “zap” us with a new sculpted, beach body! The same is true with any type of dependency and addiction – our amount of determination along with His Divine power will directly measure our success. In dealing with human behavior changes, it is more like He has given us the “WILLPOWER” to become determined to change and then in turn He watches over us and bless us with His love and support. He can ENCOURAGE us and INSPIRE us to be the best we can be – but we must have the “vision” and fervent desire to put on our track shoes and begin to run! “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us (attacking, surrounding, harassing) and let us RUN with patience the race that is before us. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.” (Heb. 12:1, 12, 13)
Until the desire to be free from food addiction becomes GREATER than living incarcerated to the quest to fill our belly – there is no hope for deliverance. Those who continue in the over-eating (or bad food selection) addiction cycle have obviously made the decision to remain being CONTROLLED! Since we have the opportunity for instant gratification there is no one that can make us – make the decision to say no. This is the place that separates the talkers from the walkers. We can remain as spoiled children that always get what they cry for or we can finally grow up and become the mature Christian that Jesus gave His life for us to be.
Many, who are overweight eat their food fast and do not give the food time to tell the brain to stop. The perfect formula for “growing larger” is to swallow faster than our sensors can relay the “full capacity” message. The stomach and mind work together but if we swallow it down faster than the mind can receive the message to stop – we become “overloaded”. If we reduce the amount of content – the stomach will naturally shrink back to normal and as a bonus – the less we consume the less we will desire (over a period of time.) You will find yourself not driven by hunger but focusing on other things like enjoying the atmosphere and thanking God for the one you are dining with. I used to fantasize about the food that I had planned while usually not paying much attention to those who were with me. It is terrible to live to eat instead of eating to live. Eating is not to be a “lust filled affair” but rather a blessing that has been given by God for our nourishment and strength. A great idea is to only put food on your plate that you really enjoy. Do not load a spoonful of everything just because it is sitting in front of you. Try an experiment! When you have dipped out your food sit down and look at it very carefully. Many people are guilty of “mindless” eating. They do not think about what they are putting in their mouth they are just ready to devour it. Take small bites and chew it like you are enjoying it – not like you are a wild animal. This will allow you to focus on your favorites and the brain will have plenty of time to blow the internal alarm to stop. Also, do not convince yourself that you need to eat everything on the table just so it will not go to waste. If you are in a restaurant and you must save it, take a leftover box home with you and eat it later. If you are weighing yourself everyday remember that we all fluctuate throughout the day and this can become discouraging. Try peeking at the scales just once per week to reduce anxiety and depression.
The most important key is to meet with God face-to-face and simply ASK HIM to reduce our hunger and our passionate desire for food. It only makes common sense; the reason we gain is because we eat rich delicacies and we eat much more than we should. If our desire levels were to be turned down, our clothing sizes would also go down. If we could “break-up” this romance with food “idolatry” and realize we are being “abused” by our own conscience, we could go to the next level in drawing nearer to Him. Many will say, “Asking God to help me is just too easy”. But, wait a minute; don’t we believe that Father is interested in the little things that concern us? “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy that it cannot hear:” (Isaiah 59:1) If our intention is to be a stronger witness through weight loss – HE IS LISTENING! If our motive to be healthier is so that we can serve Him more effectively – HE’S ALWAYS READY TO HELP US BE VICTORIOUS! Nothing is impossible with faith, but it’s not easy. Being “sold out” to HIS perfect plan for us, is being disciplined and under HIS control at ALL times! “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: Is there anything too hard for me?” (Jer. 32:27)