Friday, April 27, 2012

The Law or the Spirit?

When it comes to talk of weight-loss/diet I can hear the groans.  You are all thinking about rice cakes, celery sticks, and counting calories.  It might comfort you to know that I am not a fan of counting calories, or it might make you uncomfortable to know that I am a BIG fan of counting calories.  Yes I know, I now have you lost. . . but one has to be “lost” before than can truly say they are “found”!

I always say that the physical and spiritual parallel.  So in talking about weight loss and calorie counting I would like to parallel Law verses Spirit.  Let’s look at the Word.

Deut 15: 10 if you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 11 "For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, 'Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' 14 But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it. 15 "See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, 16 in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess.

So that verse talks a lot about “laws” and “commandments”.  If you obey God’s commandments you will have life.  So obedience equals life and disobedience equals death.

Take that to the “diet” world.  If a client says they “can’t” lose weight, more than likely they are not following the “letter of the law” when it comes to weight loss 101.  COUNT CALORIES!  If you are consuming more calories than you burn up, you will not lose weight.  If you consume less calories than you can burn per day you will lose weight.  The “Law” of calorie counting and weight loss does not change.

Take that back to the spiritual world.  God’s law does not change.  If we obey what He says to do, we will obtain life.  If we don’t, we obtain death.  (Please understand this is not about salvation, this is about what we reap in THIS LIFE). God gave us His commandments to help us live out the best possible life here on earth.  When we follow the Owner’s manual then our life operates as it should.

So is life just a bunch of rule keeping? NO WAY!  I no longer have to count calories or check the rule book of health to tell me if a donut is good for me or not.  Why?  Because now the law of health is written on my heart.  It is life to me.  It is what I want to do.  I know how much food and what kind of food brings me life because I have passion for health.  The health laws moved from stone and into my heart.  God’s commandments for life are just that.  They are all meant to improve our life.  Now God has moved them from tablets of stone, to tablets of flesh.

Jeremiah 31:33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

The diet laws have not changed over the years. . .calories in. . .calories out.  But somewhere in time what was the letter of the law in my life, became the spirit of the law.  I do not eat healthy because I have to; I eat healthy because I get to.  Somewhere in time God’s laws moved from stone tablets to being inscribed in my heart.  How do you view God’s commandments?  Are you “under the Law” or. . . .

Psalm 40:8 I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart."

His Law does not change. . .how do you view it?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spiritual Eating

Several years ago someone I am close to was battling an eating disorder; anorexia.  Anorexia destroys the body through lack of nourishment.  A person literally starves themselves to death.  As I watched this person grow more and more thin, destroying their own flesh, the Lord spoke a “parable” to my spirit. 

“That’s what many believers look like spiritually” He said.
In America most of us feed our physical body at least three meals each day, but we often only “feed” our spirit-man once a week (usually Sunday morning).   I want to challenge all of you to ask the Lord what your body looks like spiritually.  Are you healthy, or do you look like a victim of the holocaust?  Jesus calls Himself the Bread of Life.

John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

 Do you daily partake of Him and His word?  To take it farther, do you feed your spirit as often as you feed your flesh?

Hard questions I know, but let me take a turn and make it even harder. . .on the other side of anorexia you have the extreme of obesity.  Now you might be thinking that to be “spiritually obese” is a good thing.  Think again!  God uses the natural to show us the spirit over and over.  If obesity is unhealthy naturally, it is also unhealthy spiritually.  This is why.

In the natural, if you sit on your couch eating all day you will grow fat and useless to your family.  You won’t be able to toss the football with your kids, or chase your two year old up a flight of stairs.  Your body needs to take in the right amount of nutrients to fuel all of life’s activities.  Your body uses the fuel to play, work, hike, swim, carry a baby, paint a fence, etc.  You are meant to eat nutritious food and then GO DO SOMETHING!

Likewise if you sit on your couch all day reading the bible and praying you will grow spiritually obese and good for nothing!  Whoa Angela, that’s harsh.  Well, ever heard the saying “To heavenly minded to be any earthly good”?  Spending time with God in prayer and in His word is crucial to every believer just as taking in healthy food is good for the body.  But the same way the body is meant to use that food for energy, so the spirit is meant to use the “Bread of Life” to serve God’s kingdom.

Matthew 25:34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' 40 And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'

As a personal trainer I am not a fan of a “Mr. Flat-Bottom”. . .AKA someone who sits around on their behind all day!  May I suggest that God is not a fan of a spiritual “Mr. Flat-Bottom” either.  We are not meant to be bench warmers in the church pews.  We are meant to serve others and be a light to a dark world.  This would be considered “spiritual” exercise! I challenge you to look at yourself both spiritually and physically.  Are your “eating/exercise” patterns disordered in either area? 

Just offering a little “food” for thought!