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Why You’ll Never Lose Weight This Year

Truth in Love 84

The reason that many don't lose weight is because they ignore the spiritual side of this issue.

Apr 5, 2017

Heath Lambert: We’re here at the beginning of the year where so many people are making New Year’s resolutions. And for so many people, those New Year’s resolutions involve a commitment to lose weight this year. And for so many of you who’ve made resolutions, it is not going to happen. I want to tell you on this podcast why it’s not going to happen. But before I tell you why it’s not going to happen, you need to understand that some of you listening to this should not lose weight this year. You should put it out of your mind. Some of you have physical issues that make it impossible for you to lose weight. Some of you have physical issues that make it very unwise for you to think about losing weight. Some of you have spiritual issues, where you’re not thinking about food properly, and you need to deal with that before you deal with your actual weight.

The reality is that the Bible speaks about weight and weight loss and weight gain from a completely different perspective than we do in our contemporary western society. We actually addressed that topic on a podcast last year at this time. I’d encourage you to go listen to that to think more carefully and more biblically about how weight loss fits in with an overall vision that the Bible portrays about food. For so many of you listening to this, self-control in your eating is a problem. It’s an issue. You eat more than you should even though God made food to be received with gratitude. In your life, gratitude has morphed into gluttony, and you have a problem. And the reality is that when we lose self-control with regard to food and we become gluttonous, it becomes problematic and many different ways. First of all, there’s the sin problem that we need to deal with before the Lord since gluttony is a sin, but also getting to an unhealthy weight creates all sorts of physical problems. High cholesterol creates all sorts of physical problems. There’s also the expense of it. You have to continually buy more clothes, it can create all kinds of problems from your pant size to your heart issues. And so, we need to be is that a lack of self-control with regard to food can cause many problems, and it’s often very wise for so many of us to consider how to be more self-controlled and therefore lose weight this year.

And so many of us are going to make the commitment to eat less and lose weight, and we will not make it. We won’t keep it, we’ll either plateau or we will gain weight in spite of ourselves, and I want you to understand this week on the podcast why that is the case. The reason you will not lose weight but gain weight or stay the same this year is because you will treat your issues with food like they are a physical issue when really they are a spiritual issue.

If your issue is with self-control, where gratitude has morphed into gluttony, there’s something you need more than calories and how exercise works, and that is you need repentance before the living God. There’s actually a text in Scripture that talks about this, even though the idea of weight loss isn’t mentioned. It is 2 Corinthians 7:10-11, and it says, “for godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment at every point you’ve proved yourselves innocent in the matter”. The reality is this text explains to you why you won’t lose weight this year –it has to do with the spiritual issue of repentance.

The text talks about two different kinds of sorrow. There is godly sorrow, which leads to life, and there’s worldly sorrow, which leads to death. Worldly sorrow is sorrow over the things of the world – you’re sad over losing things that the world offers. Godly sorrow is sadness over losing the favor of God with regard to the sin in your life. Worldly sorrow doesn’t work –it leads to death because the logic of the sorrow is the same logic that led to the sin in the first place. We sin because we want to do things that make us happy and we don’t care if they honor the Lord or not. The worldly sorrow is also about us. We have lost benefits that we want to experience in our life. And so, sin and worldly sorrow are both about us, they have us at the center of it. So for so many people, weight loss is about worldly sorrow, you eat, as much as you want for, as long as you want and then you don’t like the way you look. And so, you decide you’re going to eat less. But then, once you’re looking at the cake or you’re looking at the third helping of scalloped potatoes, you want what’s going to make you happy in that moment. You don’t have godly sorrow –you haven’t transitioned from having your eating be about you to having your eating be about the Lord. That’s the very definition of worldly sorrow. And the Bible says you need to repent.

If your issue is one of self-control, you can join any weight loss program you want to join, but your heart is not right. You have it oriented your heart towards the Lord. And so when the chips are down, you’re going to keep doing the things that make you happy, and in the moment of temptation with food, you’re going to go to food every time. So what you need to do is spend less time online trying to find the weight loss deal that’s being offered right now at the beginning of the year and spend time in the word on your face before Christ, asking Him to forgive you for your lack of self-control and asking Him to give you the grace to say no to food, when it tempts you away from that self-control. Jesus Christ will give you grace to help in those moments of temptation. If you come to Him in a spirit of trust, in a spirit of faith, the text here is not just helpful in telling us what’s wrong with our attitude, but it tells us several things that we can do to help ensure that a sense of godly sorrow, a sense of true repentance is in place.

We actually don’t have time on the podcast this week to talk about all of the elements in 2 Corinthians 7:11 that would characterize godly sorrow or true repentance. Let me just mention for the sake of time, two, as they relate to our food and to our self-control. And to the right desire, that many of us would have to lose weight this year. The first idea that I’ll mention is this idea in 2 Corinthians 7:11 that says godly sorrow is characterized by an eagerness to clear yourself. This is the idea that when we are truly sorrowful in a godly way that leads to repentance over our sin, then we will want to clear ourselves from the sin, and will want to do whatever we have to do to get away from the opportunity to sin. It’s the biblical idea of making no provision for the flesh.

When we’re truly sorrowful in a godly way, when we’re truly repentant, we’re going to want to get away from temptation. This is going to mean a lot of things with regard to food, weight loss, and self-control, but a couple of things that it might mean is that you have to go through your house and you have to eliminate from your pantry and from your fridge tempting foods that would lead you away from a spirit of self-control. It might mean that. It will certainly mean that you have to go into this with an accountability partner. You have to have somebody in your life that knows about the struggle, that knows about the desire you have to be more self-controlled, and you need to talk with them openly, and honestly. Hear from them. Learn from them, and receive their rebuke. When you’re not self-controlled, be honest with them when you’re tempted and so get help from a brother or sister in Christ. There’s another element in the text that helps us understand what godly sorrow would look like with regard to weight loss and self-control and that’s one of the last one that’s mentioned where it says, what punishment!

Godly sorrow. True repentance is characterized by punishment now. What does this mean? This can be confusing to people who don’t understand the context. What the Apostle Paul is talking about is that when we’re truly sorrowful in a godly way, we receive the punishment for our sin. We receive all of the consequences that are necessarily entailed in what we have done wrong. This is so important for people who are trying to employ self-control with regard to their eating habits because we get hungry and we don’t like the feeling of hunger, or we get desire for that piece of cherry pie or for the doughnut or for the carb with gravy on it. We get the desire for those things –and those things are good. I’m not trying to say that the food is bad, but the problem is in our heart where we can’t say no. We have a self-control problem. We get this desire and saying no to the desire feels bad, we don’t want the consequences that come with being in the habit of not exercising self-control. And so we dive in and we eat the donut or three and we eat the gravy and we do all the things that we’ve done because we don’t like the consequences of saying no. What we need to understand is that’s an indication that our heart is not right before the Lord with regard to self-control.

If we’re going to be self-controlled, if we’re going to have the fruit of self-control, then it will be paired with the fruit of joy. Self-control that has anger and bitterness is not real self-control. It’s just fleshy saying no. We need to pursue joy as we say no to tempting things that would lead us into sin because our hearts are happy when we honor the Lord Jesus Christ. For so many people listening to this, you will not lose weight this year. And the purpose of this podcast is not to gloat over that but to help you early in the year see why that’s the case. And for so many of us, it’s a spiritual reason that has to do with our hearts before the Lord. We’re characterized by worldly sorrow that’s more obsessed with us than the things of God and we don’t do the practical things we need to do to pair our commitment to Christ with actual practical change. And so my prayer for you is that whether you need to eat less or whether you need to eat more or whether you need to spend less or whether you need to be more generous, that you will be characterized by self-control you’ll be characterized by godly sorrow, rather than worldly sorrow, and that you would know the Lord’s joy as you pursue this goal.