As many of you know, I’ve been on a year-long weight loss journey that I’ve been cataloguing daily for the past 3 months. It’s been slow but it’s also been sure. Although I did write a post explaining the motivating factors for me having started this journey, I want to go on the record: this has been the hardest transformation I have ever attempted and I struggle with staying faithful to it often.
Sure, losing lots of weight and learning how to eat in a completely new way poses many challenges, but that’s not where the battle is truly waged, not for me anyway.
No, the real battleground is in the heart. It always has been. And it’s scope is much more far-reaching than the size of clothes I wear or the interesting ways I’ve had to learn to make food work for me.
These are symptoms of the issue, but they’re not the issue itself.
The real issue is discipline, a heart condition which has but two orientations: self or Christ.
Just as our words can be used as a gauge for what’s really going on in our minds, so too is our physical form a gauge for our orientation toward God concerning discipline, stewardship, and faithfulness.
Many of you know that my favorite theological concept is redemption, especially as depicted in the life of Hosea and his wife, Gomer (Hosea 1-3). So pivotal has this concept been in my life, that I recently got a tattoo that simply says, “redeemed.” As I was looking at it yesterday, a day when I was having a particularly difficult time seeing beyond anything other than the nagging migraine growing in my right eye, I was struck by a very sobering question: redeemed…for what?
Scripture is very clear about the necessity of Christ’s sacrifice in allowing the unregenerate heart to move through the four stages of salvation: 1) acknowledgement (of sin, its consequences, and one’s position therein), 2) repentance (away from sin and toward Christ), 3) confession (that Jesus is God), and 4) faith (in God’s ability to forgive, save, justify, and sanctify). This is the most important, beautiful, history-altering Truth that lowly man can ever know.
And it doesn’t stop there!
God’s gift of salvation is the most important thing in all of life, ever, and its implications encompass every single aspect of our lives.
For what have we been redeemed? For the glory of Christ – that His sacrifice on the cross which effects for us a position of acceptance before a holy God might influence everything we think, say, and do.
Being redeemed means that our souls have been bought back by the salvivic blood of Christ from the very pit of hell, a debt which could only have been repaid with our lives and which we could never have satisfied by our own merit or as a result of our own striving (works). Now, because of salvation, our debt has been paid, death’s grip on our soul has been broken, and we are now in receipt of the myriad blessings accorded to all God’s children, not least the sanctifying power of God which allows us to experience victory over sin’s vices and temptations.
And this applies to every single aspect of our lives. In all things we are to bring glory to God because we are thankful to Him for doing that which we could not. Our responsive love should be immense, complete, and very, very purposeful.
In my case, responding to the conviction that my life lacked discipline meant confessing to God that I had been woefully abusing my physical form and carelessly engaging in food consumption without a single thought as to how that might reflect on Him.
Once I realized that my body, my temple, was a poor representation of all that Christ bore for MY sake, I couldn’t live in a state of slothfulness or negligence any longer. I HAD to change and the only way that was going to happen was if I called out my own sins, repented of them, surrendered them to Christ, and begged Him for the strength to overcome them.
And He has been faithful to do just that! His goodness and grace have rained down on me in infinite measure, allowing me to accomplish a level of discipline which is Christ-centered rather than self-centered. My attempt to attain discipline is not for the sake of my own success, it’s so that everything I am can represent Who Christ IS in the truest possible way.
Do I maintain this perspective perfectly? No, I don’t. But I have learned this: the days I have the hardest time maintaining discipline are the days my focus is farthest from the cross.
But my lack of steadfastness doesn’t change the fact that God is always faithful. He is sure though I am feeble, as He proves time and time again.
Many of my days are marked by a dedication to that which I cannot see – God’s strength despite my weakness.
And then, suddenly, I see glimpses…just enough faith for that day. Just enough hope to get me through. Just enough grace to keep me grounded and moving in the right direction.
I’m in a phase of life where these glimpses are linked to something that others might consider trivial, vain even.
But you know what? I can’t dictate or control the way others view my journey and I don’t believe God would want me to. I am called to honor Him in every single thing I do, and, right now, that involves a very specific journey: my weight loss journey.
This set of images depicts one of the glimpses that keeps me going – after all this time and hard work, I am seeing actual progress. Knowing that changes ARE occurring gives me just enough faith to keep at it for this one day. Tomorrow, another glimpse will get me through, and then the next day, and the next.
The fact of the matter is that God is faithful. In fact, He is the generative source of all that faithfulness is or can be. To be faithful myself is to put on Christ, to BE a CHRISTian in both word and deed.
For this reason I am thankful for my journey. Thankful for the heart behind it. Thankful for what it means in my life and how it is growing me. But most of all I am thankful for salvation. I am thankful for my Savior and for the fact that I have been redeemed for His glory.
Until Next Time My Friends,
The Taylor of All Trades