Several of my sisters in Christ and I have been praying about God’s will for us in sharing our stories. Stories of how difficult it has been for us to walk in righteousness when it comes to taking care of ourselves. Stories of our battles with food, exercise, doing what is best for our physical health, bringing to God our emotional pain, being honest with ourselves about why we eat, being diligent about knowing what we eat and how that affects our bodies, fighting off (with God’s help) addictions to alcohol, cigarettes, food, sex, whatever. Stories about how garbage in equals garbage out. Too much phone time. Too much screen time. Not enough Bible time. Not enough moving time. Not enough caring for God’s temple. Not enough valuing what God has created and graciously given us. Stories of life and how God is redeeming it.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV)
We feel a burden to agree with God that we aren’t there yet. We feel a burden to encourage one another to do better. We are learning how to honor God by obeying His word and doing our best to take care of our bodies and souls. Living in wellness and holiness.
So over the next year (2015) we’ll be offering classes, encouragement, information, accountability, a place to be open and honest with where you are and what battles you are waging, and congratulations when a sister is successful (even in the small things). We are still praying for God’s guidance and for His work in our own lives. Temptation comes in many forms, yet God calls us to resist and flee. Let us lay down the “good things” so we can pick up God’s best things. Let us walk closely with God so He can help us grieve our losses, heal our wounds, and learn to be content in all circumstances.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2 ESV)
Is God well pleased with my sacrifice – with my body – with my care of my body, or am I offering up a blemished lamb as my sacrifice? Am I committed to following Him? Or have I allowed the world and its twisted ways to rule in my physical life? Are my choices holy and acceptable to God? I must allow God to renew my mind.
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. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:5-8 ESV)
Ouch. Hostile to God…cannot please God….to set the mind on the flesh is death….
My flesh-pleasing choices had taken my body to obesity by my mid 40s and I was very close to becoming diabetic. Clearly my eating habits combined with my exercise level were not the life and peace that God has to offer me. I was eating for pleasure, eating for emotional reasons, choosing the wrong foods, all of which left me tired and without energy which then led me to sit and not exercise. Having a desk job (at a church no less) just added to the lack of movement in my life. I wasn’t really motivated to change. I had tried numerous times to lose weight but found it nearly impossible. This is when God decided to place a call on my life that He knew I couldn’t accomplish. (I think He has a sick, twisted sense of humor sometimes – actually it was because He loves me enough not to leave me in my mess!)
So He called me to walk and to write. He called me to pain. He called me to time alone with Him. He called me to a new understanding of His will for my life. He showed me my sin. He has set my mind on the Spirit. He has renewed my mind from the worldly “here and now” thinking about food to the eternal life, Kingdom building thinking about food. You see, my choices don’t just affect me. My sins don’t just affect me.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2 ESV)
God’s grace is magnificent. I pray that I will remain humble and teachable. I don’t have this all figured out, but I believe I am on the path towards God’s will for my life. We want to share this with others and to encourage those who are ready to follow God in all areas of their lives. Let us walk in freedom and in newness of life. Let us honor God with our bodies.
Be encouraged. Press on.