Sure, it came in handy sometimes. Few kids thought it was worth the trouble to mess with me, and when my Mom finally let me sign up for football in the fifth grade, I was a hot commodity, despite having never played. Second overall pick in the 2001 Frisco Football League draft, thank you very much.
But as I got older I began to put on extra weight. I tried to justify it at first. I told myself it didn’t matter because I played football and competed in powerlifting. I needed to be big. Despite warnings from my doctor that it could get out of control fast, I didn’t decide to do anything about my weight until it had indeed almost gotten out of my control.Â
It wasn’t until I was approaching 280 pounds and tying my shoes made it hard to breathe that I decided to take action and get my weight under control. How many times have we as Christians let a sin that seems like no big deal at the time fester until it has completely taken over our lives? Not only was my weight problem a metaphor for sin, it was the direct result of it as well.
Â 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 tells us “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
It’s a rather new kind of conviction, isn’t it? To realize that you are directly abusing a piece of God’s creation, and not just any part, but one that was built in His image. Our bodies do not belong to us; they belong to the Lord, who purchased them with His blood and, at times, we don’t treat them with the honor they deserve as gifts from God.
Just like extra physical weight makes being healthy difficult, building up “little” sins over time weighs down our ability to have a healthy relationship with the Lord. Little slipups in lust and sins of the tongue aren’t what we like to call “big” sins but ignored over time can balloon into a burdensome mass that makes interacting with God difficult. Just like that one last slice of pizza eventually makes bringing a water bottle necessary when you go to get the mail. What was easy and natural is now a daunting task because of the extra weight we carry with us.
After I was told I had the blood pressure of a person twice my age, I decided enough was enough. Unfortunately, more often than not it takes a similar shock to the system for us to decide that a particular sin no longer needs to be a part of our lives. You get caught, or your sin affects an important relationship. Often it is only then we realize change is necessary.
Getting rid of extra weight physically and spiritually is accomplished in much the same way, but here is the key to fixing both no one wants to hear:
It’s going to take a long time, it’s going to be hard work, and you are not going to enjoy it.
No magic pill or program exists that lets you shed massive amounts of weight without putting in work. The same can be said of sin. Instead of heading straight for the couch after work, you must have the discipline to exercise. Instead of simply flipping on your laptop late at night, you must have the discipline to put a system in place beforehand to keep you from where you shouldn’t be and follow through with it. Throw those cookies in the pantry out, along with any movies or television shows that cause you to struggle with your cursing problem. Change takes action, and the actions required aren’t very fun.
So you went for a walk every day this week, and you don’t even remember what a potato chip looks like. You set up an accountability partner and got rid of your Die Hard movie collection. Only to find you’ve gained a pound, and the jerks in traffic still elicit a hailstorm of profanity.
Like I said, instant fixes don’t exist. The results will be slow, maddeningly so at times.
Here is the part you do want to hear: God is with you every step of the way, and the changes are worth every bead of sweat and every instance of self-denial. As an act of worship, taking care of our bodies has gone overlooked, as has taking steps to eliminate “small” sins.
The intention of this post is not to condemn those struggling with weight. Quite the opposite, because I would be quite the hypocrite if I tried to act like it wasn’t a continual struggle for me. God’s grace extends to all of our sin, and he accepts just as many of us who get nervous at the sight of a treadmill as he does triathletes and vegans. No matter what kind of shape we’re in, physically or spiritually, not one of us is worthy of the forgiveness he extends to us.
Just as it is with any other sin, we have hope to overcome it because God loves us, in all shapes and sizes.