Archive for March, 2015

Comfort Food

Posted: March 31, 2015 in Uncategorized

Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese…evil incarnate. Why do I declare these seemingly innocent food dishes evil? It’s because they are what I turn to during times of stress and anxiety. They are warm, familiar and inviting. They provide me with a false sense of comfort, and they wreak havoc on my plans to have abs of steel and a chest of iron.

Every time I start a diet, without fail, some sort of turmoil arises in my life. I’ll start my diet like a boss. I’ll be pumping iron, sweating through cardio, drinking gallons of water, eating lots of protein and feeling the burn. Then, 20 minutes into my new diet and exercise program, I fly off the rails due to some stressful situation. I’d be cruising along and then boom, a commercial for dark chocolate covered chocolatey chocolate balls cereal hits the market. I can’t handle that kind of stress man, you feel me? I need a five pound meatloaf stat, and don’t forget the bucket of mashed potatoes. Do you have any hot buttered rolls?

Off and on

I take pounds off. I put pounds on. I take pounds off… It becomes a vicious cycle. I do well and see improvement but something sends or sucks me back to my old ways. It becomes, to me, a losing battle. Why try? I know the outcome already.

I’m not alone in feeling this way. Millions of people join gyms on January 2nd every year, with hopes of this being ‘THE YEAR’. The gyms are packed solid all over the United States, but come the third week in January, we are talking Zombie apocalypse. The gyms are desolate arenas of failed dreams. The fitness fanatics get sidelined by life, come week two and limp through week three, only to give up and say, “There’s always next year.”

What you know

It’s easier to return back to what you know than to continue into the unknown. My old life is right there where I left it, patiently waiting for my inevitable return. It’s welcoming and familiar and like mom’s meatloaf, comforting.

I know what to expect. I rationalize I’m six foot tall and 170 lbs and that’s not so bad. I tell myself I made it my whole life without Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s muscles, so do I really need to be buff? I make lots of excuses and rationalizations for not following through. I look around at my friends and none of them look like “The Rock” either. We are all ordinary and I find solace in that. I lower my standards from “The Rock” to the standards of those around me.

I told myself I wanted to be in shape, but I just didn’t want to do what it would take. I didn’t have the discipline to go the distance. So back to business as usual, pass the macaroni and cheese, please.

When we turn from our old lives we are leaving behind the familiar. We head into unknown territory. We leave behind the past. We leave behind all the bad. Things on this new path seem to be going well. We might be leaving behind friends who were part of our past but would only hinder your attempt to break free from your old life. You will miss them but you need to move forward and they will only hold you back.

You make new church friends. You start getting into this whole God thing and it’s pretty cool. People are nice. Everybody calls you brother. Everybody is hugging all the time. Your meeting new friends over coffee. Yeah, life is good.

Que the enemy

Boom, three weeks into your new life, the road gets rough. Maybe your girlfriend just ain’t in to this whole Jesus thing. Maybe your family is laughing at you. The road ahead looks like an IED went off in the middle of it. You don’t want to crawl through all the mess, who knows how long these troubles will last. You look back and suddenly your old life looks like a nice big plate of meatloaf.

You start thinking about going back to the comfort food of your old life. There’s friends back there you’ve known your whole life. They get you. Maybe you can still salvage your relationship with your girl. Going back to the familiar seems easier then going into the unknown.

You reason with yourself, your life wasn’t so bad. None of your friends are living for God and instead of raising your standards to Jesus, you lower them to those around you.

Satan’s meal plan

Satan wants to be your dietitian. He wants you to stay in your comfort zone, eating comfort food. His plan to accomplish this is extremely simple. He will send trials, persecution, troubles, stress, worries, fear, anger, a dash of hate and mix it all together in a big bowl with an egg and some salt and boom, a comfortable meatloaf.

He drizzles some guilt over the top of it to seal the deal. You turn back to your old life, feeling unworthy and realizing you don’t have what it takes to live for God. Your old friends welcome you back with affirmation, “It’s okay. We knew you’d be back. Let’s go get a beer.”

You are right

When you realized that you could not live for God, you were closer than you thought to successfully living for God. We need to surrender to God and admit we can’t do it. We are screw ups, but guess what? He already knew that.

We are dependent on God, every second of the day, in order to live for him. We need a daily diet of scripture intake. We need daily intake of the living water. We need to be in daily conversation with the Lord of our life. That’s the only way we will successfully stay connected and persevere in our walk with God. It’s the only way it will last a lifetime.

Psalms 119 gives us a blueprint for a successfully consistent lifetime walk with God

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, O Lord; teach me your decrees. With my lips recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word (Psalm 119:11-16)

Satan knows you are a failure. He just wants you to think God is too. You will fail in your own power. Thankfully God does not expect you to live in your own power. Don’t eat Satan’s lies.

You can’t out exercise a bad diet

I want YOU to want to read your Bible. If you missed that, here it is again. I don’t want you to read your Bible. I want you to want to read your Bible. I don’t want you to pray. I want you to want to pray.

There’s a big difference
I have adult children in different states and if they called me only because I wanted them to, it would be out of obligation. However, if they called me because they wanted to, that’s love. Do you get that?

I work with at risk teens and I want them all to stay out of trouble, graduate, get a great job and live a life of purpose. But me wanting that for them is not enough. They have to want it for themselves or it won’t happen.

In my quest to fulfill Jesus’ command to make disciples, not just churchgoers, I know these disciples will need to be in the Word of God daily and communicating with God through prayer daily also. But they need to see the need for it also. They need to be disciplined in their daily life or they will never really be true disciples.

So how do I get people to want to read their Bibles and pray? It’s simple. I don’t. I simply connect them with the one who can.

For it God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
(Philippians 2:13)

That means God is at work in you, helping you want to obey him., and then helping you do what he wants. As a Christian you are no longer a slave to sin because God has changed your ‘want to’.

The closer you grow to God the more you will want to read His Word and pray to Him. The more you do these things, the closer you will grow to Him.

Change of Heart
I am seeking a change of heart in people. It is my hearts desire to create a people who love God, love others and do whatever they want.

I want to create people who pray because they want to. Who read the Bible when they feel like it and feel like it often. Who serve as much as they want to and want to quite a bit.

I want to create people who do all this not out of law or obligation, but out of their hearts desire.

This is how you will know you have created true Disciples. This is how you will know if you are a true Disciple of Christ.