Romans 7:15, 17-18…I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate. But I can’t help myself, beause it is sin inside me that makes me do these evil things…I know I am rotten so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn, I can’t make myself do right. I want to, but I can’t.”
What’s your habit? Do you gossip? Drink to excess? Gamble? Sleep around? Rather than list bad habit after bad habit I could just say go visit your local bookstore and take a stroll down the self-help aisle for ideas concerning the latest vices. I’m sure there is a book there that claims it will solve your problem if you follow a few simple steps. In fact, if I went down to my basement I’m sure I could round up a few self-help books from my past. Think about it though…..why are my self-help books in the basement?
That’s because they were the wrong self-help book. The only tried and true self-help book is the Bible because it breaks the code to our sinful nature no matter the sin…..no matter the bad habit we want to curb.
I guess this is the point where I should confess my sin. I have several sins being the human that I am, but one looms in front of me currently. My sin involves food…..allowing food to be a crutch for me in stressful and emotional times in my life. I allow food to become a reward when I “think” I’ve done something well or even when I manged to do something I didn’t really want to do.
Over the summer I began to notice a change. I was loosing weight little by little. My family and a few friends began to notice it. My clothes were looser. I puffed up with pride. Oh, it’s because I’m make better choices concerning what I eat. Oh, it’s because I’m just not as hungry. Look at me….I can go until 3 or 4 o’clock without eating a thing. I just wasn’t as hungry.
What I didn’t realize at the time was I was in a bad way. Endometriosis has invaded my bowel. I wasn’t as hungry because I had an obstruction in my intestines. If I hadn’t have developed appendicitis in late August I would have continued reveling in my pride and would have died from my health issues without the intervention of a doctor. My post regarding my hospitalization is here.
Now that I’m over 8 weeks out from the surgery I can truly say I’ve been through a lot. Since June I’ve lost 30 pounds. It was a bad way to lose it though.
My sinful nature regarding food has not gone away….I didn’t leave it in the operating room. It’s been asleep….masked by all the other issues I’ve had in my recovery, but within the last few days I have begun to feel the return of my cravings and the need to hide behind food.
Sin is scary, and I’m beginning to feel a little concerned. I’ve made a good start with my 30 pounds, and I want to continue THAT journey. Yet, I hear that voice inside me urging me to return to my old habits. The voice is attractive, it is familiar, it is comfortable, it is soooo easy…..
So, how can I handle this?
There was a reason why I sat in church a couple of weeks ago to hear a sermon from my pastor, however there always is. It seemed as if it had been tailored exactly for me. The thing is…….many other people commented how the sermon was speaking to them. Wow, how does a pastor do that? How do they make a sermon fit almost every person listening to it? Well, the truth is they don’t do it. It’s a God thing, and God spoke to me through my pastor the other day.
It is true that each of us have God’s promise of personal freedom. I explored free will a bit in my post here. I have the freedom to eat whatever I wish….whenever I wish. I have the personal freedom to listen to that little seductive voice in me telling me to go through that fast food drive-through. Who will know? Yeah, eat that….that’ll fix the issue. Oh, it won’t hurt anything….just this once.
However, the Bible tells me I’m just deceiving myself. 1 John 8:32 advises….When you know the Truth, the Truth will set you free. Change in your life only comes about when you you change how you think and feel. You must admit to yourself there is a lie behind every self-defeating act.
Find the lie…..what’s the root cause? 1 John 1:8 states…If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. The root of the problem—no matter the problem—is sin. This is a condition that starts in the mind where we decide we are in control, we have the power, and in essence we choose to be God.
I’m now 46….I’ve had an issue with food and weight probably since I was six, so for 40 years I’ve listened to that little voice in me. I’ve allowed food to see me through stressful times. I’ve allowed food to control my life. I’ve tried several different diets. I’ve regulated my life with more water, more movement, more food measuring to no true success.
Christ is the true self-help solution, and actually the only self-help part of the Christ solution is believing that Christ can change the situation. He does the rest, if I let Him. Romans 7:24-25 asks…Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? Thank God! The answer is Jesus Christ our Lord. Paul is recognizing in his sinful nature he can’t go it alone. He needs a manager, and the manager is Christ.
Another part of the Christ as manager solution involves confessing your struggle to another, and I’ve done that. Per James 5:16 we should….Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so God can heal you. When a believing person prays, great things happen. This isn’t always easy depending on your situation, but God dropped someone in my lap who I can trust totally. My friend has similar issues as I do, and we have bounced a few ideas off each other regarding why we do what we do and what is working and what is not….., but I’ll admit Christ needs to be involved a bit more on my side than He has been and that’s where the next point come in….
Romans 6:12-13…Do not let sin control the way you life; do not give in to its lustful desires…Instead, give yourselves completely to God since you have been given a new life. What are you controlled by? Is it fear, your ego, bitterness? My pastor recently made this comment….and it makes so much sense….”Mastered by the Master I can master myself.” I must dedicate myself completely to Christ.
Getting back to the personal freedom thing…it’s not about doing what you want and having the power and control in your life. In my situation I thought I was in total control, making good choices, and making great changes in my life to overcome my vice.
It was all about ME…..trouble is I wasn’t in contol at all, and that was made clear to me in a most dramatic and frightening way not only for me but for my friends and family. My free will to eat as I wish or not eat as I wish, my free will to choose not to visit the doctor over the last several years, my free will to be own master almost mastered me into an early grave.
I’ve tried all the other self-help methods…..I think I’ll choose the God plan for awhile.
I’ll let you know how that works out for me over the next few weeks.