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Girlfriends in God - May 22, 2012

May 22, 2012
Let’s Get it Together Part 1
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth
1 Corinthians 6:19 (NIV) “Do you not know that your body is a temple 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 body.”

Friend to Friend
It is much easier to give in to sin or yield to temptation when we are physically depleted. Discipline begins in the mind and then travels to the body. I can hear you groaning already, but stay with me. Sin and temptation often find their greatest opportunity to work in the body. I have struggled with diet and exercise from childhood. Part of my struggle is rooted in “fluffy” genes lovingly passed down to me through several generations of “fluffy” relatives. The remainder of my struggle is firmly rooted in the fact that I enjoy eating, hate exercise and sometimes use food as an emotional outlet. Consequently, over the years, my weight has fluctuated like a championship yo-yo. Satan rejoiced as I deemed myself “worthy” when I lost the weight and “unworthy” when I gained it back. Guilt and shame attached themselves to every bite of food, while the Battle of the Bulge became the War of Worthiness.

Marriage, motherhood and ministry brought new weapons into the fray. Ridiculously crowded schedules and chronic fatigue seemed to be regarded as holy Medals of Honor, so I signed up and quickly learned the unspoken rules of successful Christian living - rest is for the wicked, exhaustion is for the holy, fast food is for the fully devoted and burnout the ultimate goal.  At times, I can almost hear Satan, standing in the wings, laughing at my skewed priorities and lack of discipline, knowing that his opening is just around the corner.  

There is simply no way around the truth that discipline is part of trusting God with our health. We cannot give our hearts to God but keep our bodies for ourselves. To do so is sin. It’s time for a new plan and a new way of thinking when it comes to disciplining the body. 

·         Eliminate diets.  Replace all “diets” with a “healthy eating plan.” Fad diets are quick-fixes and rarely work long-term. A healthy eating plan requires a lifestyle change and is not only a matter of how much we weigh but a matter of what we eat, as well. Many thin people follow diets that are just as unhealthy as the diets of overweight people. Ask yourself, “Is this good for me?” instead of “Is this fattening?” A healthy eating plan honors God. 

·         Get moving.  A friend once told me her favorite exercise was opening and closing the refrigerator door. Hmm … not good! Set realistic goals in the area of exercise. Start with 15 minutes a day, three times a week. Gradually increase that time. Choose an activity with a dual purpose. For example, while you are walking, you can pray. Walking can be a healthy way of dealing with anger, venting frustration to God instead of others. A walk can also serve as a “mini-retreat” during a chaotic day. Ask God to change your perspective on exercise – then take the first step. He will meet you there. 

·         Learn to rest.  Rest is not an option if we are to function at our best. We sometimes try to feed emotional needs by refusing to rest. We stay busy because we are afraid to face our past or even the future. Guilt keeps us moving, trying to prove our worth. 

For most of my adult life, I have wrongly equated being busy with being productive. I am guilty as charged when it comes to living each day in overdrive. My Day Timer has, at times, been my Bible.  The result has always been exhaustion, burnout and watered down living. When I fell into the pit of clinical depression, everything looked great on the outside, but God and I both knew that the facade I had so carefully erected was nothing more than a meaningless monument to self. The house built upon the sand seemed like very familiar digs and I was not alone. 

We are masters of rationalizing our way to man’s approval. I am convinced that when we are willing to surrender our lives to the tyranny of the urgent, the enemy will keep ‘em coming – people who need us immediately, those who clamor for our attention above our family and our personal relationship with God or the person who can talk to no one but us. The list of ego strokes is long. 

Let’s Pray
Father, I recognize my body as Your temple. Forgive me for the times when I do not care for it in a way that honors and pleases You. Give me the strength to eat right, exercise and learn to rest. I have given You my heart. I now give You my body. Glorify Yourself in and through me, Lord.
In Jesus’ name,

Now It’s Your Turn
Memorize today’s key verse of Scripture in 1 Corinthians 6:19 (NIV).

“Do you not know that your body is a temple 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 body.”

Which one of the following steps do you need to take first in order to honor God with your body?

_____ Eliminate diets

_____ Get moving

_____ Learn to rest

More from the Girlfriends
I know it is hard to deal with temptation when it comes to treating our bodies in a godly way. Need help? Check out my E-Bible Study, Winning the War with Temptation. Need help learning how to live a life of power and purpose? Check out Mary’s weekly online Bible Study, How to Dress for Successand learn how to live a life of victory. Connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.

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