The photo is a picture of a walking stick insect in East Texas

"Stop Trying To Control Your Weight!"

    In other words, "Stop trying to lose weight or trying to gain weight."  This is God's word to you today whether or not you are extremely obese or skinny as a rail. Please don't say that I don't understand and stop reading, but read the following brief article before you draw a conclusion.  It may be one of the most important articles that you ever read concerning your weight.
      While growing up, I was criticized by my parents, relatives, and peers about being too skinny.  When I looked in the mirror, I would have this body image of being skinny which precipitated a compelling desire to gain weight. I felt that I looked much like the walking stick insect in the above photo. I have tried all my life to gain weight. I did have some success when I was in college by gaining about  forty pounds when I worked out on weights.   Then when I became a pastor, I got physically sick and lost it.  I have never gained back more than just a few pounds.  Then a few years ago, I had colon cancer surgery and lost the few pounds which I had gained. I have been forcing myself to eat so that I would gain a few pounds.  Then my stomach and back would get into a fight.  My back began to lose the battle which led to some rather strong, freeze in you tracks, back pain.  This was when I really began to pray and God said to me that I should stop trying to control my weight. One day as I was praying one day, God said, "Stop trying to gain weight!  You are killing yourself!  The more that you eat the less that you digest properly and the more stomach and back problem you have."

    At first thought, the idea may sound totally crazy.  I also admit that it is opposite to the world's way of thinking, but so are most of the truths in the Word of God.  Therefore, let us take a look at this from a Scriptural perspective.

I. When we get our identity from our physical appearance, it brings insecurity into our lives.

If we hold on to anything other than God it will bring insecurity because it can be taken away from us.  "He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal" (John 12:25).  This is NOT to deny that a weight problem may exist.

"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.  Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?  Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?" (Matthew 6:24-27).

I am currently sixty-three years old and do no longer have the appearance or the strength that I had when I was twenty-three. I have a choice to accept the reality or reject it and become depressed or fearful or bitter over it.  However, this does not mean that I simply do nothing about keeping in shape.

II. We are not to focus on the problem.
Late one night, the disciples of Jesus were in a small ship on the Sea of Galilee when a strong wind arose causing some very rough water and the ship to be tossed about.  Then Jesus came walking on the water. At first, the disciples thought that it was spirit, but Jesus spoke to them calming their fears.  Peter asked Jesus to ask him to come to him. Jesus said, "Come."  At that one word from Jesus, Peter was able to step out of the boat and to begin to walk on the water.  However, for a moment Peter took his eyes off of Jesus to look at the problem of the wind and waves.  "But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me"  (Matthew 14:30).

When one focuses upon the problem, the problem is enlarged in his mind.  Think about the tick, tick, tick of a clock in the middle of a sleepless night. The sound seems to become louder and LOUDER. When the problem becomes magnified in our minds we either try really hard to fix the problem or our faith to overcome it is diminished.   Remember: "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he ...." (Proverbs 23:7).  "Stop trying to control your weight!"

III. We are to cast all our cares upon God.
I tend to be a "fix it" type individual.  When there is a problem with the car, I analyze the problem and jump in to fix it. God has gifted me with an analytical type of mind.  However, God doesn't always want me to depend upon my mind.  In fact, we are not to live by determination and intellect alone.  The truth is that God will often bring us to the end of ourselves.  "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3). Jesus said, "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:4-5).  Again, "Stop trying to control your weight!"

Our cares are the problems which we face.  "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (I Peter 5:7-8).   Furthermore, any care which we hold to become a door for Satan to enter to devour. When we "worry" about controlling our weight, it is an open door for the enemy to come in and destroy our lives.

"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).  In other words, "Stop worrying about controlling your weight!"  Let God worry about that.

IV. We are to submit our bodies to the Lord.
Our bodies are meant to be the temple of the Holy Spirit. "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's" (I Corinthians 6:19-20).

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Romans 12:1-2).

This means that we should present each and every part of our body to God.  We are also to be a "living sacrifice" and not a "dead" one.  We are to take care of our bodies.  We should observe the health laws found in the Scripture concerning eating though they have NOTHING to do with our eternal destination.  (Leviticus 3:17, 11:1-47).  Furthermore, we should observe the health laws because they are for our benefit.  (Deuteronomy 6:24).   We should also regularly do exercise.  There are benefits to proper exercise.  "For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come" (I Timothy 4:8).   However, they are not our means of going to Heaven. "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (Romans 3:28).  We should also follow the moral and spiritual commandments. Learning The Boundaries.

V. We are to focus on the ANSWER to the problem.
"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (I Corinthians 10:13).  It is not that we will make a way of escape for ourselves, but HE will make a way of escape.  This says that we, as Believers, never have to give in to sin, but how can we avoid it?

"But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me"  (I Corinthians 15:10).   We must understand that we can not have success in and of our own ability. It is only by the ability of God (His grace) that we are able to overcome.

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" (Matthew 6:34).  We are to set the priorities and then God fulfills His promises.

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27).  This says that we as Believers CAN at any point in time HEAR when God speaks to us and CAN FOLLOW him.   I often tell the people who I counsel, that if I can bring them to the point of hearing and obeying God, then I have worked myself out of a job.

"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would" (Galatians 5:16-17).  Walking in the lust of flesh and walking in the Spirit are mutually exclusive.  One excludes the other.  Therefore, if we walk in the Spirit then we won't have to worry about walking in the flesh.  Amen.  "Stop trying to control your weight!"

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