Renewed Mind, Renewed Body

by Sandy Pope on October 31, 2011

in OVERCOMING LIFE'S CHALLENGES

Revised January 28, 2012

I’ve reach 100% of my weight loss goal. Yay!!!! Praise God!!!! How much weight did I lose? 90 pounds and I feel great. Praise God!!! I truly feel like my old self again! I am in maintenance mode, exercising and eating a LOT healthier these days. Praise God for a renewed mind and a renewed body! Just to put this in perspective, here are some things that each weighs approximately 90 pounds:

    1. An Adult Great Pyrenees Dog
    2. An Adult Alaskan Malamute Dog
    3. A Walrus Calf
    4. A 12 Year Old Girl
    5. A Window Air Conditioning Unit
    6. An Adult Sea Otter

Just to think that I was carrying the weight equivalent of one of those things around my waistline is staggering. Thank you LORD for this accomplishment! I thank God for keeping me grounded and committed to getting physically fit. I’ve never really had self-esteem issues about my appearance, but just felt so disappointed in myself for letting my weight get so out of hand for so long. Being a woman who at one time could run 2 miles in 14 minutes, do 100 sit-ups in 2 minutes and 60 push ups in 2 minutes, I felt worn out and completely out of breath just walking up a flight of stairs. God opened my eyes so I could see that food was an emotional crutch. People who have a tendency to “eat their feelings” know what I’m talking about. I was eating out of stress and even lacking self-control. In addition, my busy lifestyle played a part in my weight gain. Why fix a sensible meal when you can get it on the go and eat it out of your car?

1 Corinthians 6:12, 19-20 says, “‘Everything is permissible for me’—but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible for me’—but I will not be mastered by anything… Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” In these verses of scripture, Paul is talking about sexual immorality, but I believe it applies to how we treat our bodies with other behaviors that are destructive, including the excessive consumption of food. God was so merciful to me and kept my body healthy despite my terrible eating habits. But God showed me that my lack of self-control was fruitless (Galatians 5:22-23) and would ultimately become damaging to my health. I could feel God speaking to me in my spirit that he had so much more for me to do and that I needed his help to get over the sin of self-indulgence. I repented and God helped me.

Is God pleased with gluttony? No, he is not. Gluttony is a sin and God discourages it many places in scripture. Specifically, in Proverbs 23:2, Proverbs 23:20-21 and Proverbs 25:16. Did you know that there were people in the Bible that had issues with indulging in food? Reading about these examples make me praise God for the mercy he showed me. Here are a few examples (edited for brevity):

Adam and Eve

Genesis 2:15-17 says, “The Lord God placed the man (Adam) in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” Temptation set in (Genesis 3:1-6) and Eve believed the lies of Satan (disguised as a serpent) when he told her, “You won’t die! God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” Eve saw the beautiful tree and saw that the fruit looked delicious and ate it. Adam followed suit and ate some too. Suddenly aware of their nakedness, they tried to hide from God. Their disobedience resulted in many consequences, but ultimately it meant that their offspring and all of mankind would inherit a sin nature and would experience physical death.

Jacob and Esau

Jacob and Esau were twins, but Esau was considered the eldest because he was born first. They were the sons of Isaac and Rebekah. In Genesis 25:27-34, Esau came home famished and smelt the savory stew that Jacob was cooking. Nearly exhausted from hunger, he begged Jacob for some of the stew. Jacob agreed but only upon the condition that Esau swear an oath to give Jacob his birthright and all of the rights and privileges of being the firstborn son. Esau complied and traded his birthright for the bowl of stew. It was already prophesied by the Lord before their birth that Jacob would receive his father’s blessing, which was equivalent to that of a first-born son (Genesis 25:23), but there were manipulated events associated with food to make the prophecy come to life. In another incident, while Esau was out hunting to prepare an ailing Isaac a meal, Rebekah tricked Isaac (who was now very old and blind) into giving Jacob the blessing (Genesis 27:1-26) that Isaac intended to give to Esau (Genesis 27:27-29). As a result, Esau received a lesser blessing which sounded more like a curse (Genesis 27:39-40). Esau giving up his birthright for that bowl of stew had come to pass. Esau was enraged and swore to kill his brother Jacob (Genesis 27:41). Jacob fled out of fear of his brother Esau. After 20 years of separation, Jacob and Esau peacefully reconciled (Genesis 32). Ultimately, what the Lord had prophesied came to pass and Jacob was renamed Israel. God told Israel that a nation, community of nations and great kings would come from his descendants (Genesis 35:9-13).

Eli and his Sons

Eli was a judge of Israel and his sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests in the sanctuary of Shiloh. When the people of Israel brought an offering to the Lord, which was an animal sacrifice, Hophni and Phinehas treated the offering with disrespect (1 Samuel 2:12-21) and seized and consumed for themselves all the prime cuts of meat from the sacrifices. In addition, they committed adultery with the women who served in the sanctuary. Eli did very little to stop his son’s from committing this behavior that was grievous in the sight of the Lord. Both Eli and his sons grew fat off of the sacrifices they had stolen from the Lord. Ultimately, God grew tired of the disrespect shown toward the sacrifices brought to him by the people of Israel. A prophet of God was sent to Eli (1 Samuel 2:29NLT) and spoke the word of God saying, “So why do you scorn my sacrifices and offerings? Why do you give your sons more honor than you give me—for you and they have become fat from the best offerings of my people Israel!” The prophet also told Eli that all the members of his family would die before their time and that his sons, Hophni and Phinehas would die on the same day. This prophecy came to pass in 1 Samuel 4:11. When Eli heard about his the death of both his sons, “he fell backward off his chair by the side of the gate. His neck was broken and he died, for he was an old man and heavy.” (1 Samuel 4:18)

There are 3 common themes with each of these examples of over indulgence. First, in each example, food became something that was extremely appealing and enticing. The need for instant gratification seemed to prevail over spiritual reasoning which resulted in a lack of self-control and in some cases it was habitual. I believed in the deception that each food binge was the last. This is such huge a lie from the enemy. I had given the enemy a foothold. In John 8:34(NLT), Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. Second, food only satisfies temporarily. What are we truly craving when we overindulge in food? We have to understand our own root cause of the habitual behavior of overeating. In my case, I believe that there was a lack of intimacy with God. Job said, he treasured the word of God more than food (Job 23:12). This journey has grown me closer to God and my time of intimacy with him has grown stronger. It fulfills my appetite and feeds me continuously. Now, before and after I eat, I give thanks to God and ask him to keep my appetite satisfied. Third, in each example there were consequences. Again, I praise God for his grace and mercy and that I did not acquire diabetes or some other chronic illness. However, I did suffer consequences of over eating. My consequences were extreme weight gain, an altered appearance and carrying the guilt and shame of gluttony. Praise God for deliverance and a renewed mind. A familiar verse of scripture, Romans 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” 2 Peter 1:5-7 says, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.”

In conclusion, I felt led to be transparent and write about my journey to encourage others. If you desire to become healthier, I advise you to not cave into a worldly concept of losing weight to fit a media driven image of what is considered to be physically fit. I really hate when I hear someone on television saying, “a size 2 is the new size 6 and a size 8 is the new size 14”. That’s totally ridiculous! Achieve a goal that is right for you. Also, don’t lose weight to gain the approval of others, but do it to glorify God (Colossians 3:23-24). Ask God to help you with an ideal goal for weight loss and to help you to reach that goal and maintain it. I chose a weight loss plan that keeps me accountable and helps me to maintain my weight loss. Lastly, people of God, don’t allow the world’s concept of physical appearance to seep into the church and then discriminate against your brothers and sisters because they are overweight. God does not like when we show favoritism based on an outward appearance (James 2:9) and he uses those who have a heart to serve him (1 Samuel 16:7). Instead, have compassion and if you are led by the Holy Spirit, pray for them to become healthier. In fact, I challenge you to pray for the church worldwide to become healthier both physically and spiritually. We’ve all struggled with something and needed understanding and compassion.

That’s it! Please pray for me as I continue on this journey. I praise God for helping me complete this goal. I am more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ! Thanks for listening and if you’re being led become healthier, I hope you are encouraged by this testimony of God’s transformation of mind and body.

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