Monday, February 7, 2011

How To Get Spiritually Fit

I can't believe my last post was almost a week ago! My mother came to visit on Thursday, and it has been a flurry of activity ever since! Also, my early waking time has caught up with me, and I am no longer a night-owl blogger. Can you believe I went to bed before 10:00 last night?

So.....lots to blog about. Will you humor me while I post some random pictures to accompany my philosophical wanderings? Emily asked me: "What happened to the family blog?" I took that as a hint to put more family photos and happenings here. So you may be seeing more of that in the next few weeks!

Have you ever stopped to notice the grass and leaves in their frozen states? Lovely!

Remember my huge book stack? Well, since I shared my book stack with you, another book that I was eagerly awaiting came in the mail. This book has exhorted and challenged me in every capacity in my dealings with food. I have always approached healthy eating and weight loss as a strictly physical issue. I am realizing now that the root of all food issues is spiritual. I will not try to explain the whole book in this post (please, get it for yourself!!); suffice it to say that this book has life-transforming potential- especially if you struggle in the area of food.

This morning I read first thing:

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places."
(Ephesians 6:12)

It amazes me how I can read a line in the Bible so many times, and it doesn't speak to me. Maybe because I have been reading the aforementioned book or because I have been battling my flesh lately, but whatever it is, I suddenly understood!

I understood that when we are struggling in any area that involves self control and temptation, we are not fighting our flesh; we are engaged in a spiritual battle. Somehow in my life I have seen temptation and sin as the big things- having an affair, stealing, lying, abuse, etc... In the back of my mind there is the idea that as long as I don't mess up in the big areas, I'm doing just fine, spiritually speaking.

Not So. Any time in my life that I struggle with self control, I am wrestling with "Principalities." Now, this 'revelation' could be downright depressing! I actually find encouragement here. Even when we are engaged in a spiritual battle in the smallest areas of our lives, we can call on God to help us. It is not to say I am sinning when I eat a piece of chocolate cake! But I am given the opportunity to strengthen my will and find comfort in God instead of food.

I am not fighting against physical, actual needs- I am fighting against a force outside myself.

We've all heard : "The devil made me do it!" and we chuckle...but there is some truth to that! Perhaps your area of struggle isn't with food- maybe it's the urge to gossip or the filling of a spiritual void by excessive buying. And- God help us!- Sometimes it's all three! Does it ever feel like we can't have any fun?!

The point is,
any time we have a small victory in our lives, with any struggle- we strengthen our will and resolve to be victorious in the bigger struggles.

Every time I say "No!" to that extra helping of mashed potatoes,buy that one more book, say that unkind word, I am fortifying my ability to resist much larger, more dangerous temptations.

And who knows? Maybe I'll lose a few pounds in the process!