That sounds dreadful. Can I just watch or do I have to play?

No wonder you don’t see scripture in weight loss advertising. The truth isn’t sexy.

But when you pull back the curtain on the allure of “fast and easy” weight loss, there is the truth about just being human. We can’t escape facing off with our unruly flesh. If you struggle with your weight you know – your desire to eat what you want- right when you want it – fights hard against your losing weight and keeping it off. Clever and catchy advertising can’t make that untrue.

The Apostle Paul’s Words above are found in I Corinthians 9:27. He was speaking of the need for self control – but not as an end in itself, nor even towards the end of losing weight. 

Self control is necessary for all followers of Christ to stay on course – for the purpose of obedience and serving God – and protecting ourselves from becoming enslaved by sins of any kind. Things that we struggle with can interfere with our relationship with God in subtle ways.

As a personal example, in the past, I allowed myself to go on for long periods of time feeling hopeless and defeated. I allowed my feelings about my weight to eclipse my life. I used food to make me feel better in the short run, only digging me deeper into my own prison in the long run. My relationship with God was not top of mind. My discouragement and disgust with myself was.

I didn’t see how this cloud of self loathing and food addiction was interfering with my relationship with God. But it had completely stifled it. I didn’t even desire to do anything about it. I preferred to stay stuck. Looking back, I think it was because it was hard to imagine doing the work of saying no to my flesh, as it constantly demanded to be fed the kind of food that harmed me, keeping me addicted, enslaved, and ashamed. How would I deal with the challenges of my life without that private source of comfort available when I wanted it? Instead I would have to feel the cry of my desire for sweets and leave that cry unanswered. Resistance was so hard and my success resisting temptation was so rare, I just stopped trying.

So what changed?  I did not find the right program or pill. Instead, I read the truth. Reading the word of God showed me what my real problem was. I have shared my story many times about seeing myself in Paul’s struggle in Romans 7 and realizing that there is no power over the flesh except the power God gives us in the Holy Spirit, given to us as our Helper when we receive Christ.

The Word of God and Prayer are the real answers. There are no short cuts to the kind of changes that must occur within us for us to master the power of our fleshly desires. But the alternative so-called short cuts are not short cuts either. Fast and easy solutions rely on your flesh doing what it can’t – control itself.  

If food has control over you, know that you have this hope: The love of God, the power of Christ and the help of the Holy Spirit are ours to help us become free. You do not have to live in defeat.

This is both the greatest reason and opportunity there is to fight the good fight – not for some vain physical pursuit, but to learn how His power breaks us free from any encumbrance – anything that masters our flesh. Food and eating is one of the more tricky ones to tame. It is subtle and deep.   

This is why losing weight permanently does not begin with your food choices, nor is it isolated to food choices.  If you treat like losing weight as only a physical or body issue that can be solved with diet and exercise – you are missing a vital part of the puzzle. You are ignoring ground zero – where the battle originates.

Don’t start with your diet. Start with prayer.

Here is my prayer for you, please pray it with me:

Father, You give us the bread of life and living water in Jesus. Only you can satisfy our spirit. Please reach down and lift our eyes to You. Help us to stop settling for less than You have for us. You are our all in all. In You only is the power we need to overcome this world and its counterfeit pleasures. You are our real hope, our great reward.

Father, you have designed our bodies and the food You intended for us to eat. Please teach us to stop and see what your intention is for food and nourishment, and to reject how the world has twisted it into something that harms us, and with which we harm ourselves.

Lord please renew us in Your truth.