By Kimberly Floyd
King David declares in Psalm 18:29: “For by You I can run against a troop, By my God I can leap over a wall.” David’s warrior attitude is the same one that we need to cultivate to succeed with our Christian weight loss goals.
I cheerfully admit that I am a warrior now but I wasn’t always. For over 20 years, I fought the battle of the bulge and lost. I’d achieve some success for a while, but then would quit when it got too hard. I finally succeeded in achieving my ideal weight and maintaining it the last time because of three reasons: First, I got an accountability partner who was in better shape than I was and who kept me on track. Second, I kept an image in my head of myself in the boxing ring with all my bad habits. I promised myself that no matter how many times they knocked me down, I was not going to give up. I knew that the only way I could fail was to quit. That is the essence of the warrior mindset. Third, I became willing to do the hard things. The hard things are activities that you know you need to do, but they aren’t always easy or pleasant to do.
Hard things include keeping your house clean, paying your bills, maintaining a lawn, going to work, etc. Hard things have a wonderful payoff when you do them and could have dire consequences if you don’t.
Here’s a secret that you probably haven’t heard in other Christian weight loss programs. The character you gain in the process of overcoming obstacles to weight loss is far more valuable than the weight you lose. The warrior mindset you gain will serve you well in other areas of your life, like recommitting to strengthening a marriage that others might give up on. The mark of a warrior is one who takes the time to distinguish between temporary pleasures versus lasting treasures. The warrior then chooses to invest time and energy into the things that last.
To change our mindset into that of a warrior, we need to commit to the philosophy of Think, Speak, Do. If we want to do the hard things, then we must think thoughts that make us want to do them, speak as if we want to do them, and then actually do them. For example, with our weight loss efforts, we can’t say “This is too hard. I’ll never be able to do this.” That is setting oneself up for failure. Instead we can say, “It might not be easy, but I can do this. I’ve done things much harder than this and succeeded.”
Cultivating the warrior mindset takes time, but it is necessary to achieving goals. Once we have the mindset, we need to gear up with essential armor. As in all endeavors, we must guard our hearts since that is where the issues of life originate. How do we guard our hearts? We take up the armor of God as outlined in Ephesians 6:14-18 to help us stand against the wiles of the devil: “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”
Let’s look at a few of these pieces of armor, as they relate to the battle of the bulge.
Gird your Waist with Truth
The first truth to strap on is that God has given us a new identity in Christ Jesus. The only problem is that many of us don’t know what that means. If we don’t understand the implications of being identified in Christ, then we will continue trying to handle life’s problems in our own strength… and we will continue to fail.
Instead, we must realize that the Spirit of the living God dwells in us. In Ephesians 3:20, we are promised that God can do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we could ask or think, according to the power that works in us.
Did you catch that? Because we are in Christ, we have power on the inside of us. It is the same power that enabled Jesus to rise from the dead. This power can help us face any challenge life throws at us, including our weight issues.
I’m excited about this subject because I honestly believed for several years that once I accepted Christ as my savior, that was basically it. I just tried to do what was right in my own power, feeling more and more defeated when I failed. I often felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders, which manifested itself with excess physical weight.
If we feel that we are unworthy to ask for God’s help on this, then these feelings must be dealt with and end now. Think about it: if we are saddled with defeat, depression and discouragement, how long will we stick with our new health habits? Not very long!
Consider the following quote by prophetic writer Graham Cooke: “People who feel insignificant remain ineffective and small. They become grasshoppers in their own sight and may never inherit all that Jesus died to give them.”
Remember that we have a new, victorious identity in Christ Jesus. We are more than conquerors.
Just think of the Bible as being one big love letter God has written specifically to help guide us through life’s storms and protect us from unnecessary pain. Gird your waist with the truth of God’s word. “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free'” (John 8:31). Commit yourself to learning about your true identity in Christ and you shall be free indeed!
Put on Righteousness
Several years ago my nephew, six years old at the time, was playing outside with one of his neighborhood friends while I was inside talking with my mother and sister in the den. Suddenly, we heard a large crash and a sharp, cracking noise. We went into the living room and were horrified to see a small rock lying on the living room floor… along with a neat hole in the center of the sliding glass door that was at the front of the house. Although the glass didn’t fall out, the door had hundreds of hairline cracks radiating from the hole in the center. My sister went outside and screamed my nephew’s name. He shuffled around from the back of the house. He tried to maintain an innocent look for a moment, and then he burst into tears when he saw my sister’s angry face. My sister took him inside of the house and sent him to his room as punishment.
A few moments later, I walked past his room and heard him crying inside softly. My heart broke for him. I went inside his room and saw him stretched out on the bed. I asked him if he needed a hug. After a moment’s hesitation, he said “yes.” I hugged him and told him that even though he had made a mistake, it didn’t mean that we didn’t love him. I wiped his tears and gave him another hug before leaving. To this day, he remembers that act of kindness and is grateful for it.
I tell that story as an illustration of the unconditional love God has for us. Because of this love, He sent His son to die for us. By believing on Jesus’ name, we have taken off our old selves and put on God’s righteousness. In simplest terms, the word righteousness means that we are in right standing with God, which means freedom from guilt from past sins. Even if we have made mistakes regarding the stewardship of our body, God is not in heaven wagging his finger at us in disapproval. But He longs for us to walk in wisdom and have peace in all areas of our lives, including our health.
If we are harboring any guilt or shame regarding our weight, God wants to deliver us from it. He loves us no matter what size we are and His love for us will not be any greater at a size 8 than at a size 28.
The Bible says in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” God’s grace covers all of our mistakes, whether physically, relationally or sexually. If the God of the universe can give us grace, what right do we have to keep punishing ourselves for them?
Condemnation is one of Satan’s favorite tools. In the book of Revelations, Satan is even called the “accuser of the brethren,” describing him as accusing them before God day and night. In fact, Satan’s other name, Devil, is taken from the Greek word “diabolos,” which means “slanderer, accuser.” The accuser’s tone is unmistakable. It is harsh, mean and cutting. The voice goes to the heart of our insecurities and makes us feel small and worthless.
To counteract any criticism, whether demonic or human, our first step is always to consider the source and the next step is to consider the motive behind the criticism. In Satan’s case, the source is from a known murderer and liar. But even if we didn’t discount the accusation based on Satan’s character (or lack thereof), then we’d surely do so when we examine his motives behind his accusations. His motives always fall into three categories: he wants to steal, kill and destroy.
In the case of our weight issues, he wants to:
• Steal our desire to do anything about it, even if we have clear evidence that we should
• Kill any efforts we are making to change our habits
• Destroy our identity in Christ Jesus.
We can’t go out like that! We must fight him and the only way to fight Satan is with the truth of God’s word, rightly wielded. For now, we can meditate on the fact that we have God’s righteousness as a believer. Anchoring ourselves in this confidence is the surest way to allow the breastplate of righteousness to protect our hearts directly as it was designed to do.
Shoes of Peace
I once read a story about an artist’s competition designed around the theme of peace. The judges challenged the artists to come up with the best way to show peace in action. After several months, the artists returned to show off their works. Picture after picture showed images of paradise… blue skies, flowing streams, blooming flowers. In spite of the beauty of these works, the judges were dissatisfied with the results. Then they came to one oil painting that they unanimously agreed should win the prize.
The artist had painted a mother robin nurturing her baby chicks in the nest she had built… underneath a roaring waterfall. The turbulent waves splashed all around her. As the judges looked at the painting, they could almost hear the crashing noises as the water beat against the rocks. Yet, the mother robin seemed not to hear any of the noise or pay attention to the waves. She was concentrating on showing love to her most precious possessions… her children.
I think that story is a beautiful picture of the peace that Jesus wants to give us. In John 14:27, he says: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
We all know that life is hard. We might have to deal with relationship problems, financial issues, working long hours. Let’s just call these issues “the storms of life.” Yet, like the mother robin, He wants to build for us a refuge. He doesn’t promise that we won’t have trouble in this life, but He does promise that we can have peace in the midst of these troubles and we will not be overcome. God promises to walk with us, no matter what life throws at us. Likewise, because we are in Christ and He in us, we are overcomers just like He is.
Whenever I think about this principle, I always think of a favorite movie of mine from the 80’s called “My Bodyguard.” In the movie, a high school student named Cliff was being bullied by the school tough guy. The bully and his friends would torment Cliff just about every day. Then one day Cliff got a brilliant idea after seeing the bullies scatter just from the presence of the school outcast, Ricky Linderman.
In a school in which the boys were probably 5’6″ at the most, Linderman was about 6’4″ and had a huge build. Cliff was terrified of Linderman too, but he pushed aside his fear to ask Linderman to be his bodyguard to protect him from the bullies. Linderman agreed and he and Cliff became good friends.
So in a way, God is our Ricky Linderman. He is our shield, our protector, our rock, our fortress. We can have peace and security in the midst of the most challenging situations. And the more we learn about God, and understand His awesome power and majesty, the more peaceful, confident, and secure we will feel. We will know without a doubt that He can help us overcome any problem, including our weight problem.
Shield of Faith
Hebrews 11:6 states: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
The shield of faith is perhaps one of the most important pieces of spiritual armor in our Christian weight loss quest because the Bible tells us that it has the power to quench the fiery darts of the enemy – that is, to destroy them. That is an awesome power to have at our disposal and priceless in our battle to regain your health.
First of all, let’s examine what faith is. One definition I’ve read about faith is that it is our confidence that God keeps His promises to us. Faith has another component; it is our willingness to walk according to those promises. “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:14-17).
James goes on to say that faith and works go together, because faith is made perfect by works. For this battle, we don’t need dead faith. We need faith that is alive and kicking! So if we say that we believe we can have good health, then we will need to do the work to back up that belief.
Let’s get back to some of the promises God makes to us concerning our health since the definition of faith is our belief that God keeps His promises to us. The Bible is clear about God’s will in this area: He wants to heal us from physical and emotional wounds. In fact, one of God’s names is ‘Jehovah Rapha’, which means ‘The Lord Who Heals You.’
In every case, God’s desire was to bring health and healing. So if we truly have living faith, we not only believe that what God says is true, but we live our life according to that belief. A simple way to put this is we must walk our talk. The Bible tells us that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Each day, we must focus on making our faith alive and flourishing by doing work to support our health, and the healthy body for which we hope will manifest sooner than we think.
Did you find this information useful? Read more, and get Kimberly’s FREE special report “Overcoming Emotional Eating God’s Way” so that you can conquer binge eating now at takebackyourtemple.com. You will discover valuable Christian weight loss tips at the site as well.