Sunday, December 14, 2008


Last week we talked about how life-long struggles and how early childhood “cookies for comfort” still affect me today. There are often deep reasons why we do the things we do. This week I want to go back even further. Let’s go back to the Garden.

Remember in the beginning when Adam and Eve stood naked and unashamed? They used to walk with God in the cool of the evening. After the fall, when they chose sin and pride over obedience, what did they do?

“At that moment, their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they strung fig leaves together around their hips to cover themselves.” Genesis 3:7.

They’d been told not to eat the fruit of the tree or they’d surely die. It couldn’t have been a physical death or they’d have died right then.

It had to be a different type of death, a spiritual one. And the consequences still plague us today. “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.” Proverbs 16:25.

That evening, when God came to walk with them, they became afraid and hid in the trees. “The Lord God called to Adam, “Where are you?” He replied, “I heard you, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.” Genesis 3:8-10.

We hide things instinctively. What’s a child do when caught with something? It’s in our nature, since the day when Adam fell. All of us are born into sin, and we’re still hiding today.

And what happens when we get caught? Like Adam, we make excuses. “Yes,” Adam admitted, “but it was the woman you gave me who brought me the fruit, and I ate it.” Genesis 3:12.

When God asked Eve “How could you do such a thing?” she did the same. “The serpent tricked me,” she replied. “That’s why I ate it.” Genesis 3:13.

Both did it. Both were guilty. And just like them, we’re still making excuses for things we’ve done, or things we’re doing. Like how we’re eating or take care of ourselves.

But can we really hide from God? Does he not know what’s going on? “People may think they are doing what is right, but the Lord examines the heart.” Proverbs 21:2.

He not only knows, but loves us anyway, in spite of our sin. Even in the garden, he was planning to get us back.

We’ve got to quit hiding. And we’ve got to quit making excuses. It’s time to take responsibility for the things we’re doing.

If you’ve let your appetites run out of control, you may be facing the consequences of those decisions right now. It could be as simple as having a sugar addiction that’s led to obesity. Or it might be a lack of discipline and overeating that’s holding you back.

Maybe you still smoke, or need a drink or two every night to relax. Maybe you’re getting up every night, wolfing down everything in sight, and can’t seem to stop.

Other destructive behaviors can include sexual addictions like Internet porn, or sleeping around. All are ways of being unfaithful to yourself, your spouse, and to God.

Those addictions may seem out of place here, but the root cause is the same. We’re trying to fill needs that we have, but we’re taking the easy way out.

Eating right takes a little work and discipline, but it’s easier to eat fast foods. Doing some healthy exercise every day takes commitment, but it’s easier to make excuses.

A healthy, fulfilling sexual relationship with your spouse takes commitment and work, but it’s easier to go for quick satisfaction, without a real relationship.

No courage or commitment is required with a computer monitor. You don’t have to woo it or live a life of loving sacrifice for it. All you have to do is look at it. It’s a sad epidemic these days, and it’s taking the easy way out.

Just like with getting right with God, we need to admit that things are wrong. Then, we have to want to change, to truly want to turn away from these things. Then and only then, can God can give us the power we need to make changes.

But we don’t do it. We don’t even get close to the power we need. We don’t study long enough to learn how to do it. We try and fail and finally just quit trying. Sound familiar? Think diets and failed exercise programs.

I mean, come on, some of the things we do? We’re so deceived that we’ll ask a blessing on food we know we shouldn’t be eating.

Every day we make choices that are an offense to God, even in our thoughts. And in those moments when we’re being honest, we know it too.

In Romans, we’re told to present our bodies “as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”

Do we live like that? Like our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I don’t think so. So why do we do it? Why can’t we live right? Paul told the Colossians “You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the evil powers of this world. So why do you keep on following rules of the world?”

He went on to say, “These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, humility, and severe bodily discipline, but they have no effect when it comes to conquering a person’s evil thoughts and desires.”

No wonder diets usually fail. No wonder so many people give up after starting a fitness program. No wonder we fall at the slightest temptation. The usual rules have no effect!

We’ve been using the wrong weapons, in the wrong places. We’ve been trying to fight this battle the wrong way. Next week, I’ll tell you about a different way to fight the battle.

Our biggest loser this week was Weston Hughes, who got back on track by losing 2.3% of his body weight and 5.4 lbs. Weston has lost a total of 53.6 lbs so far, and won a $20 gift card to Joe’s Pizza from Terry Elston and State Farm Insurance.

Second place went to Shawn Bowers, also back on track, losing 2.0% of his body weight and 5.4 lbs. Third place went to Gayle Dailey, who lost 1.8 % of her body weight and 2.4 lbs. In fourth place was Carol Cline, who lost 1.7% of her body weight and 3.6 lbs, and fifth place went to Erika Hollis, consistent as always, losing 1.4% of her body weight and 2.4 lbs.

Don’t forget to get signed up for Biggest Loser “6” right now. It costs $50 to participate, and will help you get 2009 going right. Next week we’ll have the final results for Biggest Loser “5” so stay tuned!

No comments: