A friend recently boasted to me that he had lost seven pounds. When I tried to button my jeans Monday morning, I decided that I knew exactly where those seven pounds had gone—and I was more than willing to return them!
Seven pounds was a huge eye-opener to me. You see, five years ago when I learned of my husband’s affair, I found myself staring in the mirror. There was a frumpy, overweight mother of three staring back at me. I didn’t recognize her, and I didn’t like her.
“It’s no wonder he doesn’t want me,” the voice in my head told me repeatedly. “Look at yourself. You are ugly.”
We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5
After a few weeks of talking to myself this way, I realized that I was telling myself lies. I am a beautiful child of God, made in His image. I am valuable. I am loved. I am the apple of His eye.
I decided that I would take every thought captive, that I would learn to love myself again. I made the decision that I would no longer hate the image looking back at me in the mirror. Instead, I would find a way to love that person. I decided that I would make some simple changes and see what God would do.
The anger and passion boiling within me fueled me into action. I quit eating sugar, and the pounds began to fall off. As I saw the scale changing, I became more motivated and began exercising again. My body began to change, but—even more importantly—my attitude began to change. I began to see myself as God sees me.
Four years and nearly 20 pounds later, I am happy with the image I see looking back at me from the mirror. But, when I realized how tight my jeans had become, it shocked me into action again. No more sugar. Carefully record everything that goes into my mouth. Drink plenty of water. Increase my exercise.
And, only a few days later, I am proud to announce that I’m already down three pounds.
This morning, as I contemplated this situation, I realized something: I had grown complacent. Lazy. Indifferent.
I had lost my zeal and passion for keeping the weight off, and I had simply become undisciplined again. I had indulged in Halloween candy. I had enjoyed the homemade brownies I made. I had again become addicted to Diet Coke. If I wanted it, I ate it. I had no limits on my eating. I was feeding the lust of the flesh.
But, I discovered even more. My lack of discipline had carried over into other areas of my life. I had been struggling with why God seemed so quiet and distant. I had little interest in spiritual matters. I haven’t been in a church in a month! My writing has been dry and sporadic. My prayers have been bouncing off the ceiling. My desire to pray with my children has been non-existent. Again, I find myself asking who has taken over my body?
I have continued to do the right things—read my Bible daily, listen to sermons online, listen to praise music. But, my spirit was seared. The word was not penetrating my heart. The praise music was not drawing me into His presence. I was drying up, failing to have the words of encouragement that normally flow from my mouth so effortlessly.
As I contemplated why I was drying up, I began to wonder why God was allowing this season in my life. If He would just open the doors for ministry. If He would answer my prayers. If He would see my heart.
Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. Psalm 86:11
The truth is, He did see my heart. He saw a heart that was divided. He saw a heart that was passionless. He saw a heart that was undisciplined. He saw a heart that was losing its purity.
When I found myself getting my physical body back into gear, I found an interesting correlation: my heart began to return to God as well. I have found myself waking up in a spirit of prayer, and I sense an actual connection with God again. As I drove into work today, I found myself lifting my hands and my voice to God in praise. Ideas for my writing are beginning to flow again. I find my heart drawn back to Him.
It is so easy to allow our hearts to become divided, to lose our passion. Just as a farmer must tend to his crops—removing weeds, fertilizing, watering—we must tend to the condition of our hearts. God tells us that He has one requirement: He wants ALL of us. We must seek Him with our WHOLE hearts, and He promises He will be found (Jeremiah 29:13). He tells us to draw near to Him and He will draw near to us (James 4:8). He tells us to love Him with ALL our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30).
But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!
God wants passionate believers! He wants energy! There is no room for division. There is no room for partial obedience. There is no room for complacency. If we are complacent, you can be assured that He will step in and shake you from your comfort zone! It will probably be a whole lot easier on you to seek Him fully than to allow Him to rip you from your comfort!
It is so easy to let the cares of this world seep into our hearts. It is so easy to be lulled into complacency. It is so easy to compromise on something small. It is so easy to lose our passion.
We must be diligent in seeking God. We must carefully guard our hearts against the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). We must be cautious if we think we are standing firm or we will fall (1 Corinthians 10:12). We must search for the lord and for His strength and seek His face always (Psalm 105:4).
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. Psalm 139:23
God, may I always be careful to tend the soil of my heart. I pray that my heart would be tender, devoted, undivided. I pray that I would never let the cares of this world or my own complacency choke you out. Help me to always seek you whole-heartedly because I know you will be found!