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Controlling Your Weight

Lisa Barry: Do you think having a spiritually renewed mind should only affect the way we think? Or should having a renewed mind affect our actions as well? In other words, if our conduct doesn't change as a result of a lesson learned, then was the lesson learned at all?

Today on Gateway To Joy, Elisabeth Elliot is going to talk about a topic that is considered taboo in our society today. I'm going to let her tell you what that topic is. But suffice it to say that we will all be challenged to practice with our actions the same principles of self-control that we profess with our mouths. Let's get started.

Elisabeth Elliot: "You are loved with an everlasting love." That's what the Bible says. "And underneath are the everlasting arms." This is your friend Elisabeth Elliot, talking with you again today about a renewed mind.

The Bible says that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. In what way has God changed your mind about something recently? In what way have you sought God's mind about something that might have confused you?

Now I read you some heavy stuff yesterday, an article by a woman named Joyce Little, pointing out some horrifying things about the secular mind and things which are happening in our own world today-the equalization, for example, of everyone and looking upon men and women as if they are equal and interchangeable. Of course, we know according to God's Word that we are not.

We have been thinking about the importance of making application to what the Bible says. Don't let the world squeeze you into its own mold, but let God remold your mind from within. All of us need this continual remolding process throughout our lives.

I need it. I've had every advantage anyone could possibly have in order to know the Lord and to love His Word and to understand what He requires of us, yet I'm a slow learner still. There is no day that passes without the necessity of choosing to apply the truth of God in some way.

Well, today I am going to stick my neck out. I'm going to talk about something that nobody is allowed to talk about. The subject is weight. Now I know that nobody is allowed to talk about it, because if you're not overweight people would say, "Well, what do you know about it?" And if you are overweight, you know what they would say. "Who are you to talk?"

But the fact is, I believe statistics say that at least 60% of Americans are overweight. Do we need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds in this matter? I receive letters from women asking me for help in this area. I have had to draw up a short paper of my own just in order to answer their questions. Of course, I can't write a whole book on the subject. Of course, those of you who know me realize that at this point I am not overweight. But I can't say that I have never struggled with the problem.

I have gone to the Scriptures and it seems to me that a part of the renewed mind is teachability. So with prayer that the Lord will help me to be gracious about this, to be cautious, to be under His direction, I broach this subject. Lord, I commit it to You and I pray for Your help as I speak to women who need to take off some weight, women who don't seem to be able to conquer it. Help me, Lord, in Jesus' name.

This is what I wrote. "From time to time I'm asked what to do about overweight. This is a tricky question, because if one is not overweight folks might wonder what she knows about it. And if one is overweight, folks might say, 'Well, isn't she a great one to talk about it?'

One correspondent told me she had had a 'weight problem' ever since she was a child. She weighed 77 pounds in first grade, 128 pounds in third grade, 184 in sixth grade, and in spite of losing 50 pounds in ninth grade, she graduated from high school at 210 pounds. She has not blamed her parents, but surely they had a duty to help the child control her appetite. Very likely they failed to control themselves. Fathers and mothers must answer to God for the way they managed the household.

God's command to Israel was, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.'

Although mealtime is not specifically mentioned in that passage, which is Deuteronomy 6:4-7, it is ordained by the Lord to provide our human necessity-daily bread. What better time not only to impress the above commandments on our children, but to show at each meal an example of self-restraint, courtesy and gratitude.

The Apostle Paul said, 'I will not be mastered by anything. Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, but God will destroy them both' (1 Corinthians 6:12,13), reminding us that food is necessary in this world, but it has nothing to do with the next.

He also wrote of those who live as 'enemies of Christ. Their destiny is destruction. Their god is their stomach and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.' Those who are overweight and those who aren't should be deeply sobered by those words. America is the fattest country in the world.

At this writing, it is reported that 60% of Americans are overweight. Something is seriously wrong, especially when one ponders the fact that millions are starving, while non-fattening foods actually cost more than ordinary foods, and the weight-loss industry makes billions of dollars."

Now the next sentence is in bold-face. "I do not speak as a doctor or a weight loss expert of any kind. I speak merely as a woman who loves God and wants to do what He says. His Word tells me that I am to present my body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. This is my spiritual or reasonable act of worship. It is a marvel to me to realize that this body of mine, which happens to be tall, white, Anglo-Saxon, female and old, can actually become holy and pleasing to God as I present it to Him. This physical body becomes a spiritual act of worship.

I'm also told that I am not my own. Once I have presented this body to God, it is no longer mine. It is His, yet I live in it and I am made the custodian or the caretaker or the keeper. I am responsible to treat it as His property, which means that I must exercise control. The custodian of an office building does not own the building, but he is to see that it is properly taken care of. Paul says, 'I beat my body and make it my slave, so that after I have preached to others I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.'

One of the signs of the terrible times in the last days, 2 Timothy 3, is that people will be lovers of themselves, unholy and without self-control; lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. We would all acknowledge that eating is a pleasure. There's no end of weight loss literature. Glance at the magazine covers at the check-out counter in the grocery store. Every one of them features an article on dieting.

Some years ago, I became aware that I had gained more weight than I should be lugging around. I was ashamed. It did not occur to me to try any program or buy any special low-calorie foods. I did not begin counting calories or refusing desserts. I did two things which seemed sensible. I bought a scale and determined to monitor my weight. I simply cut the usual portions of food in half. Snacking between meals had not been my habit, so I did not need to struggle with that.

Do I offer this as the perfect solution to the weight problem? No. There is no such thing. Motivation is what matters. Whose am I? Is this body mine or does it belong to another? Has He promised to help me? He has, over and over again. 'The Lord God will help me.'

A lady told me that she had prayed for years that God would remove her appetite. At last she realized that God was not going to do that. She had to take the responsibility. He will not invade our wills, barge into our sneaky snackings or coerce us to lose weight. He calls us to Himself. 'Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.' He defines three conditions for receiving that rest. We must come. We must take His yoke, which means obedience. And we must learn of Him.

If we believe a thing to be in accord with the will of our Heavenly Father, we can be sure that our obedience, coupled with His grace, will accomplish that will." Our obedience coupled with His grace will accomplish that will. As the lady I just quoted found out, God is not going to take away your appetite. He is not going to make it that easy. He is asking you to will to do His will.

Remember this: It is always possible to do the will of God. I'm going to continue tomorrow on the subject of weight.

Lisa Barry: And you are going to have to wait for that, I'm afraid. I'm sorry. That was a bad pun, but I couldn't resist. Well, if you think hearing this program again would be helpful to you, then please consider purchasing a copy of the tape series entitled A RENEWED MIND, because maybe these principles will be the thing that brings your whole body into greater submission. The cost of the tape is $7.

You can send that, along with your request, to Gateway To Joy, Box 82500, Lincoln, Nebraska, 68501. Or call 1-800-759-4JOY. That's 1-800-759-4569. Our Internet ministry address is gatewaytojoy.org. Gateway To Joy has been a production of Back to the Bible.

Be with us again tomorrow when Elisabeth offers more insight on the struggle for weight control. That's next time on Gateway To Joy.

 
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