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By John Miltenberger
‘And my righteous ones will live by faith.’ [Hebrews 10:38a; NLT]
It’s hard to build muscle on the couch, and it’s just as hard to keep it on by my own willpower.
Recently it has come to my attention that I am expanding in all the wrong directions. Pants that used to fit just fine a few months ago, are mysteriously shrinking, along with my shirts. Even my all-metal wedding ring has shrunk, and won’t come off my finger! In fact, the only thing that has been shrinking is my spine, as I age, and so last night (after supper), I innocently broached the topic of changing our eating habits with my wife. For those of you that have opened that topic with your wives, it’s like opening Pandora’s Box! Beware. And stick to your story…. “No! I did NOT call you fat!”
By the time the topic had been initially exhausted, my options had become limited to continued expansion with the inclusion of guilt, or chewing tree bark several times between “meals”, meals partially full of stuff only birds would want to eat. The only good news for me was that ordering a used copy of a good diet book would be cheap, because most haven’t been read all the way through, and the market is flooded with used copies. Anyone foolish enough to buy a brand new copy of a diet book is someone obsessed with throwing money away! This would all be a bit funny if it wasn’t so true.
This morning, as I was cooking up the pancakes and bacon, Monday morning’s menu at John’s Casa, I was pondering the pending arrival of the “like new” hardback diet book I had ordered for $5.89, including postage, when it occurred to me I could enlist God’s help in a way I’ve never considered….I could utilize faith, rather than willpower. And I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never considered “eating healthy” this way before. I think I’ll call it The Faith Diet, and I’m cautiously optimistic it will work. Here’s how I imagine it should play out:
I’ve already failed enough in times past to realize my eating habits are stronger than my willpower. Back when I smoked cigarettes, the only time anyone ever offered me one of theirs was immediately after I had decided to quit smoking, and I tried to quit often enough to know a dark spiritual law at work when I see it! I know that cutting back on the food goodies works the same way, and I’d like to get a jump on it before the 4th of July hot dog stampede begins. But it will be doomed to be another failure if I don’t use faith – faith in God, and faith with God. With the Faith Diet, eating habits should be structured by a motive originating in faith, and followed up by faith in action – within a partnership relationship.
As a Christian, I am in partnership with Almighty God. Of course, He’s the stronger partner, and it would be unrealistic for me to seek equality in the merger, but just being in the partnership is all the reward I want. And as a junior partner with a God who is only pleased by faith, I know I’m on the right track to receive His help with the venture, and it is my responsibility to keep my motive healthy. So here’s my idea of a healthy motive:
God created me, and placed me within this humble frame in order to serve Him on this earth. If my body is pudgy or calorically dysfunctional because of my poor eating discipline, I have denied Him the use of it, and cut my usefulness for Him short, as well as my life. But if I have faith that He’ll help me discipline my eating habits out of respect for Him and His agenda, I have every right to expect Him to partnership with me as I do so – hence, The Faith Diet.
So you see, I, the chronic diet failure, have signed up with the always victorious God, the Wonder of the universe. I want to eat healthy so I can be more useful to Him, and for a longer period of my remaining time on the planet.
And quite frankly, although it is a peripheral benefit, the idea that the diet won’t require all new clothing is also a comfort. For once, I’d rather wear them out than out grow them!
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