Updated: Dec 22, 2021
Shedding Sin From Your Spiritual Health
In the world we live in, there isn’t a day that goes by where we don’t hear, talk, or see images of people. Most of the time, those people are being glorified or hated on because of the way they look. We live in a world where the outfit a popular singer wears is reported in the evening news. With the media and western culture giving so much attention to the outer appearance, the narrative includes unrealistic expectations. Sometimes, we secretly compare ourselves to the look of photoshopped, plastic-surgery-ridden people and images that may make us say to ourselves, “I've gotta lose some weight!”
Losing weight and reaching healthy fitness goals is a good thing! It not only improves how our natural bodies function, but it makes us feel good, both inside & out. It allows us to showcase our best selves. Someone who FEELS good about themselves positively affects everyone around them! Unfortunately, this world gives more attention to physical beauty than spiritual fitness. But the greater plan of Our Father is to take us through a weight loss program that allows us to improve our spiritual health by humbly allowing the image of Christ that is in us to grow and radiate out of us, ultimately affecting everything around us.
God's weight loss program consists of us putting aside sin, as clearly defined in His Word...
Following God's weight loss program allows your soul to get into shape, shed pounds, and be at its best. How? Every time we obey Him when He gently nudges us to lay aside things/issues/attitudes in our hearts in a season that is not necessarily mandated for everyone else in that same season.
For example, after Pastor Mitchell finished preaching about 'strife', The Spirit of God impressed on me to lay aside listening to some sports debate shows where the commentators go back and forth arguing about who’s team or player is better. And while it may have been OK for me to watch this before, God highlighted to me recently that the spirit of debate being portrayed in this show was weighing on me. This means I’m considering, pondering, and meditating too much on how the sportscaster won the debate (even if they did so in a mean-spirited manner) and inadvertently applying it at times in conversation when I should be meditating on how “a servant of The Lord should avoid foolish arguments and must not quarrel but must be gentle” (2 Tim 2:23-24).
This method of weight loss includes intentionally dieting what we allow into our Spirits through our senses: what we see, what we read, what we listen to -- these all contribute to what our souls are spiritually eating. Everyone knows that abs are made in the kitchen. What does this mean? You can physically work out at the gym daily, consistently, and frequently, but if you're not eating a diet that supports your fitness goals, you're royally wasting your time! The same goes for the spirit realm: you can pray all you want, fast from physical food all you want, and give as many offerings as you want -- but if you're not dieting what your soul ingests, guarding your heart (Proverbs 4:23), and being intentional, you won't see much change.
THE TAP-OUT METHOD
Another workout that The Spirit of God, our Personal Trainer, gave to me that helped me shed the weight of self-righteousness off of my life happened a few years ago before I came to CLCC...
I said some unkind words to someone in the hearing of others outside the church building when service was over. Although it was justified by fleshly standards, it should’ve been handled better if I had yielded to The Spirit of God. What followed took the weight right off of me: I was encouraged to go inside the privacy of the church and praise God and give Him glory!
I was hesitant to do so. Why? After what had happened right outside the church, my previous behavior didn't feel righteous. I thought I could only praise God if my behavior was right. And at that moment, I was not right; I was wrong! But by God’s grace, I put aside what I thought, and I listened to the man of God’s instructions (although I didn’t understand), gave God the praise, and gave Him the glory. At some point during this time, I was moved to apologize to God for not listening to Him; I was not forced or coerced by anyone. Now here’s where the weight dropped: in the midst of praising God when I was wrong, He let me know that when I approach Him, I don’t have access to Him because of my goodness -- I have access to Him because Jesus is good.
The negative weight of my thoughts of self-righteousness (along with the burdensome weight of anger and forgiveness from the situation that occurred outside) began to be consumed by what I can only describe as the lightly weighted, peace-encompassing glory of God’s Presence. Or another way of putting what I felt into words ==> as I came to Him, some heavy weights and burdens I was carrying began to melt. As I connected with The Spirit of God, His rest, His peace, His tranquility, and His perspective of how He viewed this situation was given to Me. I was then graced to go to the person, and apologize. With the "tap-out" program, you cast your care, or situation, to Christ, and replace that situation with simply praising God. With the "tap-out" method, you take your attention off the person, job, idea, or circumstance, and put it towards worshiping God. Seems like a simple task, but sometimes it's easier said than done! Thankfully, the grace, mercy, and forgiveness we need to be able to shift our attention from whatever life throws at us to Him were already given to us, already set on our path...
I thank God for that lesson. I wish I can say it was the last time He’s dealt with me on the issues previously mentioned, but it’s not.
Having ONE session at the gym won't render drastic results. This same principle applies to spiritual growth. We have the grace, through God, to keep training, to keep pushing towards our goals through Jesus. That’s why we should praise Him for His patience and His mercy toward us: because He remembers that we are dust, and therefore we’re not consumed by His wrath. However, the abiding testimony of His graciousness toward me in the midst of my foolishness was birthed in me and still remains. And this lesson can be applied and reapplied by whosoever will. His grace, although not fully perfected in me, is still being perfected more and more and will not be wasted. So let’s continue to lay aside those weights as God points them out to us individually, and let’s continue to be narrow-gated down paths that He has already prepared for us.
Brian Chrichlow is a devoted husband, father of two beautiful daughters, and partners with his wife to lead Changing Lives Christian Center's PRE-TEEN MINISTRY. His intellect and humor positively affect everyone around him! In his spare time, he can be found fellowshipping with the men of CLCC, spending quality time with his family, or acting on stage for a CLCC holiday play!
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Until next Wednesday, be safe, be blessed, and be narrow...
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