“For sin will have no dominion over you, since
you are not under the law but under grace.”
I’ve been at this battleground before – facing my besetting sin of gluttony. I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Here we go again!” I can assure you, that is exactly what I am thinking myself. I wish that I could simply pray, and everything will be like God designed me to be; but it doesn’t seem to be that way. Yes, he took my desire for booze away in a blink of an eye, but not so with food.
As I study Romans, I see God delivering us from sin through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve experienced God working through me in this area before, yet in time I gave up all the ground I gained. I think most of you can relate to this – diet and exercise for weeks and months only to gain all the weight back shockingly fast. There is advice galore out there, but the fact remains that we have a fat population that is getting fatter and fatter and an alarming rate. I’m included in that.
It seems to me as I study all this, my real enemy is my own flesh and mind. Spiritual warfare is also a component, but temptation is only effective if I let the sin in me overpower me. I know that to be true from both experience and scripture.
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
The way I act, one would think that the struggle of gluttony is unique to me; but it isn’t. It could perhaps be the MOST common of sin in today’s day and age. So, if I am to believe this verse is truth, then the issue is not me or God but rather my attempt to manage this problem on my own. I am not helpless with this. I have a way out. God will not let me rot in my sin if I seek him as my means of rescue.
It’s easy for me to see this when I look at another person’s sin. “Why don’t you just not buy those lottery tickets?” Yeah, they could probably say the same thing about my bag of chips. The other person may need to stay out of convenience stores or the American Legion if s/he wants to stay away from pull-tabs, right? I may need to stay away from my pantry or restaurants, too.
I need a fundamental change in my way of thinking if I am to be truly dead to this sin. Here’s some things that are rattling through my head:
Motive. What really is my motive for losing weight? Is it to honor God with my body, to treat it as the temple of the Holy Spirit? Or, is there a secret part of me that is doing it for the attention? I can’t imagine God will work in my life if pride is my motivator. I’m pretty sure that has derailed me a time or two before.
Commitment. I have experienced just how fast this sin can reclaim ground as soon as I let my guard down. Now, there are two ways of looking at this. One is that I stray from God. The other is that I stray from God. My trials and difficulties are supposed to bring me closer to Him. Does this one? Or, do I seek him for a time only to forget that I desperately need him in this? This problem of mine seems to be deep-rooted, and God doesn’t seem willing to snap his fingers to make it go away. Perhaps this is my trial to prove to me just how much I need to depend on him.
Testimony. Am I willing to use this as part of my testimony? As I lose weight, as I have in the past, people will comment and ask how I did it. Will I give the glory to God, or will I say, “Well, I used this diet, blah, blah, blah,”? In a sense, this is the pride issue, but it’s different. Am I willing to share with people that I am desperately dependent on God in this besetting sin of mine? Am I willing to share – with the world – that my sin is killing me, and that Jesus alone can deliver me? Am I willing to use all this as a means to share the gospel?
Having said all that, humility in my own power should be plain to see – all the while as I boast in the power of God. God’s way of escape will produce a man that looks more like Jesus that I am today. Is that what I want? I should think so!
Romans 5:3-5 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
This isn’t going to be easy. That’s biblical. However, look at the fruit that it is promised to produce! Who wouldn’t want God’s love poured through his heart?
Father, I ask that I first might learn how to rejoice in my sufferings as I deny myself of my desire to sin. That seems like the place to start. Amen.
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