Today marks the start of Part 2 of the book. I found it very interesting (but not surprising) that some of the scripture in today’s lesson was the same used during this morning’s service on baptism*. Anyway, let’s get on with the lesson…
Today’s lesson was a doosey. I really don’t think I was prepared for it, even though I had previewed it last night. I guess maybe I’m far more rebellious than I believed myself to be. Maybe not so much in action, but in thought. Of course, our thoughts do dictate our actions. Today was a lesson in humility for me, and not one I enjoyed.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith. ~ 1 Peter 5:6-9a (NIV)
I’ve memorized all three of these verses over the years, but never have I made the connection that they fall in succession in 1 Peter. Humility, anxiety, self-control… they do seem to be linked. I sat for a bit considering these verses and saw how very rebellious I have been when it comes to turning this struggle over to God. And then the author hit me square between the eyes on the next page.
Since 1975 we have worked with thousands of people at Thin Within. We have learned that a very basic yet powerful belief is in operation for most men and women who struggle with food issues, and here it is:
This is my body and I can do with it as I please.
~ Thin Within (p. 110)
Gulp. I would have never said I was someone with this attitude. Never. And when I first read it, I thought, “that’s not me.” I thought maybe I was the exception to this. Ha ha. See, the lack of humility… the rebellion. So, as with other times during this study, I asked God to show me if this was true or not. Part of me prayed, “please say it isn’t”.
Well, it is. It goes back a ways and it’s deep, but it’s true. I won’t be sharing the specifics, but at some point along the way, I determined that I could have control over whether I ate or not and what I ate. When you feel like so much is outside of your control, sometimes you’ll cling to what you think you can control… and then attempt to control the heck out of it.
“This is my body and I can do with it as I please.”
Women use this belief as a license to do all sorts of things. For me, it’s eating when and what I want. It’s putting my body through ridiculous regimens to whip it into shape. It’s body worship. Unfortunately for the rebel in me, it’s a lie.
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. ~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NASB)
Eh Hem. I’m really not sure it could be said with more clarity than that. “NOOOOOO”, screams my inner rebel (the flesh). I just sat and stared at that verse. How many times have I read it… oh probably too many to count. Yet, here it is, plain as day, exposing my rebellion with such conviction I can hardly stand it.
I don’t want to restore my “temple” on a “faulty foundation of lies”. I do want a solid foundation of “the truth of God’s Word.” And what’s more… I don’t want to be a wandering sheep who needs his leg broken to keep him close to the shepherd (Thin Within p. 112). In fact, I wrote in the margin next to the sheep story, “Oh may it not come to ‘leg breaking’ for me to stay close!”
Ok, so in light of what I’ve already written, you can imagine that the next exercise was really difficult for me. It was acknowledging lies I’ve believed about my body. Not all of the ones listed are lies I’ve believed, but most of them are. A couple of them I had difficulty applying the verse that the author gave as reference to the lie, but in reality, do I need to apply any other verses but 1 Corinthians 6:10-20? I think not. If my body is not my own, they are all lies… period.
It was really difficult to apply sin labels such as “greed”, “gluttony”, and “self-indulgence” to some of the lies. It rather made me feel sick to visualize. Apparently my old “club of condemnation” was readily handy. After a few swift mental whacks, I realized that I was allowing condemnation in and quickly shifted my focus to applying God’s grace.
The author points out that the enemy’s goal was to deceive me into believing these lies… but… “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world!” (1 John 4:4, KJV) Praise God!
I simply love Kay Arthur, and she is quoted on page 114 as saying:
Don’t struggle in self-effort to be better. Don’t determine that you are going to “try harder”. Acknowledge your need of His all-sufficient grace and go forward, surrendering and trusting in the power of God’s transforming grace. “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him” (Colossians 2:6). You were saved by faith; therefore, you are to walk in faith. It may be one step at a time, but walk. You can say, “I can’t”, as long as in the next breath you say, “But, God, You can”. ~from Lord, I Need Grace to Make It
Halleluiah!! Lord, help me to remember that my body is not my own! The timing of this lesson was exactly where it should be in the process. While it was rather painful, there is a sense of relief that I don’t have to “fix myself by myself”. That is God’s job because this body belongs to Him. My job is to do what He says with it… and He even provides the means and the strength. Not a bad deal.
Observations and Corrections
I am still struggling with the TV watching thing. I know I’m doing it in my own strength because tonight I thought I could manage it. I started out being present as I ate, but autopilot took over. I still haven’t put that verse on the coffee table like I planned to do the other day. I’m going to keep turning it over to God though. He knows what will break the pattern and maybe I’m just not ready for that step in the process. I know He’ll bring about change in due time because I really do want to behave differently.
I haven’t mentioned that I don’t count “communion” on my chart. It’s not a meal, but I do take the elements while sitting. I suppose the legalistic approach would be to avoid communion if one isn’t at a zero, but I think that’s ridiculous and certainly not in keeping with “grace-based”. So, I choose to participate with my church in this symbol of Christ’s payment for my sins no matter what my “hunger scale number” is at the time.*
On another note, after praying and asking God if I should, I tried on those “goal set on day three” pants today. I was shocked to discover that I can almost button them while standing. Now, they are entirely too tight to wear in public, but I couldn’t even make the opening meet on day three. So, I am shrinking, despite my obvious issues with “sofa eating”.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV)
*Remember that this post series is not in “real time”. Today’s lesson fell on a Sunday for me.