It is now February, which means that many of our New Year's resolutions have already been forgotten. One of the most popular New Year's resolutions to make every year is to lose weight. But experts say that many of us will have already given up on this goal midway through January.
Why is it that though we pray about our struggles, confess them before the Lord, and use wisdom in conquering them, we still somehow fail? The easy answer is that we're sinners, through and through–incapable of quitting smoking, let alone saving our souls. But the harder answer is that we may be idolizing something, counting it worth more than Jesus and our salvation. As the reformer John Calvin famously said, "Man's nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols."
One pastor in Tucson, Ariz., who weighed 300 pounds at age 27, was convicted of his idol of food when his brother-in-law asked how he could preach about self-control when he clearly hadn't mastered himself. As Paul writes in Galations, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." (5:22-23).
Now, that pastor weighs 170 pounds, after years of not only cutting out sweets, but also presenting his weakness before the Lord again and again. If you are struggling to lose weight, quit smoking, conquer anger, or any other resolution, be encouraged that Jesus has already paid for your sins. Go before him and repent and be renewed again and again until your struggles—which may never fully disappear—at least become more and more submitted to the Lord.
And for more encouragement, read about Pastor Reich's journey on his blog, Missional Thoughts, and see how one man was freed.