Monday, August 31, 2009

Diets and my Christian Walk

Okay, maybe that seems like a stretch, but bear with me.

I was sitting in church listening to my sweet hubby preach and he was stomping all over my toes again. He has a knack for doing that. I guess when you know everything about a person, it is easier to drive a sermon home for them. I think it's great that God uses Calvin to talk to me. Can't think of many things cooler than that actually....although a burning bush every now and again would be hard to beat.

Any way...

Calvin says something about being willing to give God some of ourselves...maybe even most of ourselves, but until we give Him EVERYthing we are not as intune to His voice as we could be.

So I'm thinking to myself as I sit on the front pew, "That's a lot like dieting" and a new post was born.

A diet is a lot like the Christian walk.

With dieting, you have to give up ALL the bad food and follow the diet exactly. I have from time to time given up most everything. Given up all the "bad" foods except maybe one or two that I "deserve" as a reward for forsaking all others. I mean, giving up MOST of the foods that make me fat counts for something, right? Surely if I give up MOST every "forbidden" food then I can keep my nightly bowl of vanilla Ice Cream covered in Chocolate syrup and candy coated sprinkles while watching the news just before going to bed? I have even lost a little weight giving up all the bad foods other than my cherished bowl of chocolate covered dreaminess, but I have never gotten the FULL benefit of the diet when I follow it with even a few modifications (like ice cream). A diet just doesn’t work properly if you don’t follow it. The same is true with the Christian life. Just like with a diet, I can give up almost all of my vices, give God "most" of myself, and still get some of (maybe even most of) the benefits of being a Christian, but I don’t get the FULL benefit unless I am “all in”.

I can halfheartedly commit to a diet. I can eat the right foods as long as it is convenient and as long as my friends don’t ask me to go to lunch, but unless I am “all in” I am not going to reap the FULL benefit of the diet. I am not going to get the full benefit of a diet until I am fully committed and ALL my meals are adapted to my diet, rather than adapting my diet to my meals. Just like with a diet, I can halfheartedly commit to my Spiritual Growth as long as it is convenient... and I may grow some, but I won’t get the FULL benefit unless I am “all in”.

I can I can join the gym and carry my gym pass on my key ring for everyone to see. I can pack my gym bag and carry it around in the back seat of my car...and never go to the gym. I can buy new sneakers and sweat absorbing socks....and never break a sweat. I can eat only diet approved foods when I eat with friends, family, or in public... and then go home, close the door, and eat a bag of cookies dipped in ice cream. I can study all about nutrition and exercise so that I can rattle off everything you could possibly need to know to maintain a healthy body on cue. BUT, if I am not applying what I know, eventually the fact that I have all the right stuff and all the right answers is going to be overshadowed by the obvious fact that I am not losing any weight, gaining any muscle, or getting any healthier. Just having the gear and looking the part and being a member of the gym is not enough to help me reap the full benefit of a healthy lifestyle. Likewise, carrying a thick leather bound Bible around in the backseat of my car, being a member of a marvelous Church, and knowing all the facts about Christianity and a relationship with Jesus Christ are not enough to reap the full benefit of being a Christian if I do not read that Bible, attend that church, and apply that knowledge....and just like people eventually see the truth about whether or not I really am going to the gym and eating right....people will eventually see the truth about whether I KNOW Christ...or just know about Him.

Eventually people can tell more about me by the fruit I bear than by what I try to make them believe about me.

Scripture says:
No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:43-45
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