Where are you with your body and your health? I have decided to dedicate my Body to God. Perhaps you are like me, and are ready to say, “God I want your plan for my body. My plan has not taken me the right direction.”
Is the way that you are living right now the way you want to be living this time next year? Is the way that you are feeling right now the way you want to be feeling this time next year? Einstein said, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” If you keep doing what you have been doing, you are going to keep getting what you always got. Because the decisions you make today set the course for tomorrow. And if you want to change the course of your health tomorrow, you need to make some decisions today. The problem for most of us is that we’ve been the God of our own life. We’ve been in control. I suggest that you let God be God of your life
We are going to look at some very specific steps to take to help us dedicate our bodies to God. First,
1. Give my body to God
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” Romans 12:1
“Because of all He has done for you.” What has He done for you? He has created you. He loves you. If you are a Christ follower, He’s made your body the temple of the Holy Spirit. He has given you a home in Heaven. Jesus died on the cross for you. Look at all He’s done for you, “let your body be a living and holy sacrifice, the kind He will find acceptable.”
Now what does it mean to give your body to God? It means I listen to God’s voice before I make any decision. It means every time I approach food, I say—God, is this what you want to go into my body? Every time I pop the cork or open the cap, I say—God, is this what You want from me? Instead of saying, I’ll do whatever I want. I say, God, what do you want?” Put God first in everything. This is a decision that needs to be made regularly. I find I live selfishly by default, then I have to give myself to God again and again. When we give our bodies to God, we are “living holy and acceptable to Him, the true way to worship” Secondly,
2. Choose Discipline instead of Instant Gratification
Discipline is not a fun word. Our culture avoids “discipline”, because we prefer instant gratification. The mark of the mature person is the person who can discipline themselves now for something better in the future. This is why we need God’s help. We say, “I’d love to lose 20 pounds, in the future. But the instant gratification is, “I want to go by Cold Stone today.” Or, “I’d love to get into shape in the future” but the instant gratification says, “hit the snooze button today.” There is always a choice between instant gratification and discipline. The Bible says some helpful things about this,
“I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:27
There’s that word “discipline” Paul said, I’m not going to be able to preach to people like I want unless I discipline myself in my body. So what he did with his body had spiritual consequences. As a parent what you do with your body could greatly affect how your grandkids are raised. That could be a motivator for you. I think of my life and how blessed I am. Why would I cut my life short because of lack of discipline? And not see my grandkids. What I do with my physical body has spiritual consequences.
What happens when choose instant gratification over discipline? I have lost weight before and hit my goals, then afterward let the discipline go and gained my weight back. How does that feel? I felt regret. I felt like myself esteem went down. And then I felt further from God.
When we give in to the pull of sin, it leads to regret, lower self esteem and the perceived feeling of distance from God. What does discipline lead to? Think about sometime when you have been disciplined: in your eating, in your actions, in your time management, in your exercise. It feels good. You feel confident.
The number one sign of spiritual maturity is the ability to choose discipline in the future over instant gratification today
“Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.” Romans 6:12-13
Here’s what I found to be helpful in escaping my sin problem. And the good news is this can help you with whatever you are struggling with!
- Pray consistently. You have got to start making your struggle a matter of prayer. Luke 18:1 says that “we ought to always pray and not lose heart.” Pray consistently and pray specifically.
Here is what I am praying. “Dear God, help me to live for you and not me. Give me strength today to eat less and exercise more.” This is what I believe I have to do to lose weight and keep it off. I have got to eat less and with eating less that means eating healthy. And not just less, but better as well, and I have to move my body or exercise more.
Even though I decide to give my body to God and choose discipline I will still have to deal with temptation. Here’s the plan,
3. Deal Effectively with Temptation
Now the good news is 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that every time you are tempted God promises us that there will be way of escape. As I think about it, I have never been tempted to do wrong when there was not also a way to escape. It’s not that I can’t change. The question is: Which way am I going to go? Am I going into trouble or away from it?
What is it that is keeping you from honoring God with your body? Maybe it’s an addiction or an indulgence. Bring it to mind. Is it eating too much? Is it eating the wrong things? In my life, it is eating too much and eating the wrong things. Maybe for you, the temptation is to stay up late messing on the computer, updating your Facebook status, or just watching TV so you’re not getting enough sleep. Sleep solves a lot of problems. Fatigue makes cowards of us all. Or maybe it’s excessive drinking or smoking or maybe it’s sexual temptation. Maybe it’s internet pornography. Part of what we have to do is know our weakness, then we have to ask God to deliver from this. One of the passages I hold onto all the time, it says,
Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Matthew 26:41
We have to “watch” or know what is coming, then “pray” because our “body is weak.”
I Corinthians 6:18 is also very helpful!
“Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18
Do you see that three letter word at the beginning? Run! We have to run from the temptation. In this case it’s talking about sexual sin. But it could also be, run from Cheetos! Run from M&M’s!
Another temptation principle along with “run” is to “remove”. Remove the temptation. So in deciding I am going to eat healthy, I have to remove the addictive foods. For me it’s Oreos and Reese’s. They go with everything. You can crunch them up and put them on ice cream, sprinkle them over your broccoli. As much as I like them, they cause me problems and have to be removed.
But I have to do more than that, I have to replace it. Remove and replace. In dealing with temptation, what are you running from? What is God telling you to remove? And what do you replace that with? So, if your issue is that you’re not getting the exercise, you remove the snooze button and you replace it with a phone call from a friend who says—let’s go walking together tomorrow morning. If your issue is eating the wrong things, you remove the wrong things, and you replace it with the right things. If your issue is internet pornography, you remove all of those websites and you replace it with a program that filters and blocks so you can’t go to those sites. Run, remove, and you replace.
Now here is the good news. God’s word is not just a list of “don’ts” God’s word is a list of how to live. I want to actively play with my great grandchildren and leave a legacy. I picture my great grandchildren. I prefer to be healthy, not to be drooling all over myself. I prefer to be able to actively engaged in their life. That is what I desire. I would like to pastor The Ridge for years to come. There is a lot of good I want to do in my life. Instead of living aimlessly I want to live holy. I don’t want to become disqualified. I need discipline. I need God. Why? So I can live the life that God has for me. How about you?
Steve Reyolds, Bod 4 God
For more about Bod 4 God, go to www.Bod4God.org