Posts Tagged ‘sin’

Is Fat Sin? Part 4

Posted: September 22, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Quite a bit of time has passed since I last made a post. I recognize that I had said I would include at least three more posts on this subject. They were specifically related to the topics of disrespect, examples, and sin. So here I am…

So what does the concept of disrespect have to do with this guys conviction about the weight I was beginning to pack on? Why would that been something that The Lord had convicted me on?

Let me start by saying that I am an incredibly blessed man. I have the blessing of being married to an incredibly beautiful, godly, hard working woman of my dreams. I can honestly say that a day does not go by without me thanking God for allowing me to have such an amazing wife. Not sure how I got her but it definitely is proof that prayer works. I definitely married up! Again, as I said before, all I can do is attribute it to is the power of prayer. (That being said, pray for my wife. Her husband is a bit rough around the edges).

As I said above, I am a blessed man. My wife is one of the most disciplined people I have ever met. She rises from bed long before the sun rises and exercises. She guards what goes into her body very carefully. I have long envied her discipline. She has at the same time over the years gently encouraged me to watch my diet and to get some exercise. While I lovingly would acknowledge her concerns and even validate them with my response, I never did anything. All the while, her alarm would go off and she would be doing her exercises while I laid in bed and dreamed about pizza and Chinese buffets.

As God convicted me this year of my food problem He revealed to me that I was being extremely disrespectful to my wife. She was working her tail off to look her best for me. She always looks her best when I get home at the end of a long day. I was making no effort. 1 Corinthians 7 makes it plenty clear that my body, as a husband, belongs to my wife. My responsibility was to take better care of myself so that I might better take care of her.

1 Corinthians 7 showed me that my lack of discipline was not just affecting my health but if left unchecked could very well affect my relationship. One of my responsibilities as a Christian husband is to take care of myself out of respect for my wife.

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I ended my post yesterday with the following question: “What are the spiritual implications of neglecting one’s body (and at times abusing it)?

Four things (not necessarily in order of importance) came to my mind rather quickly as I considered the above question: (1) Health, (2) Disrespect, (3) Example and (4) Sin.

Each one of these four points quickly became points of conviction in my life. Points of conviction placed in my heart by the Holy Spirit. Points that I realized could no longer be ignored. God was telling me to stop blaming my age, the fact that I spend much of my day at a desk, my slowing metabolism, and a whole host of others things as excuses. It was time to stop just acknowledging my convictions but to start living them out. The message was a very clear one in my heart: Jon, stop just preaching about discipline…start exemplifying it. In other words, practice what you preach and stop being a hypocrite.

The convictions that God placed on my heart were so convicting that I have been forced to dramatically change several things in my life over the last several months. Types of food I eat, types of food I don’t eat, how much food I eat, things I will drink, disciplining myself in various kinds of exercise were all changes that have occurred.

As a disclaimer, I wish to state that I am fully aware that some face health problems that cause weight gain and have legitimate things in their lives that affect their bodies in a very real way that they cannot help. I am not writing about those who struggle with that. Rather, I wish to share the work that God has done in my heart and in turn hope that it will be a blessing to others. I am writing about me; not you.

My next four posts will examine the spiritual implications of not taking care of my body: Health, Disrespect, Example and Sin. My prayer is that it will be a blessing to you but at the same be a means to hold me accountable as I seek to live a life that is pleasing to my Savior.

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Recently God convicted me in a very real way that I needed to change my ways. He revealed to me that some of my lifestyle choices were harming me and in turn could harm those He had called me to lead. He showed me that food was a problem.

In case you are wondering, the answer is no! I am not morbidly obese. However, I stood on the scale four months ago and saw a number that scared me. I have slowly been putting on weight for the last ten years and the weight is directly tied with my own personal discipline. Discipline in regards to food choice, food portion and exercise.

As a pastor, I find myself sitting in a chair quite often. I sit to study. I sit to counsel. I sit to email. I sit to read. I sit to talk on the phone. I sit to eat. Then Sunday comes, I stand up in front of the congregation and preach discipline. Yet all the while, clearly demonstrating to those who listen, by my growing gut, that I had not been practicing discipline in my own life.

So the question that started to plague my mind was this: what are the spiritual implications of neglecting one’s body (and at times abusing it)?

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Here are some thoughts that I would like to share.  They are written by Andy Stanley in his book “The Grace of God” and are found in his first chapter.

“In American culture, we’ve substituted the term mistake for the terms wrong and sin.  We aren’t sinners; we are really just mistakers.  How many times have we heard prominent leaders describe their extramarital affairs as mistakes?  A mistake is something you make while balancing your checkbook.  A mistake is an accident.  Unless both parties were blindfolded and gagged, I don’t think it’s possible to have an accidental affair.  And, of course, once discovered, public apologies are made to family members and constituents who were hurt by what happened.  But if you do something you know is going to hurt someone, is that still a mistake?  The people who were hurt rarely think so.  But in a world that’s far from the way God intended it to be, sin is reduced to a mistake.”

A couple weeks ago my kids and I were engaged in a heated battle on the living room floor. Bodies were flying all over the place and elbows were being dropped. Wrestlemania had broken out at the Goodwin house. This was not tag team match but it was three on one. I had a two, four, and six year old jumping all over me and loving every minute of it.
Then it happened. My four year old, Matthew, decided it was time to take our contest to a whole new level. He climbed up on the couch and stood up while boldly announcing that he was going to jump off. My wife overheard our little daredevils announcement and told him not to do it. He responded by arguing his case and she responded that if he jumped off the couch he could hurt somebody or hurt himself. He argued again and then he did it. He jumped…

While I would have given Matthew’s flying leap a ten if he had been at the Olympics, his landing was far less graceful. He landed rather awkwardly and managed to hurt himself. He started to cry and grabbed his injured leg. This action of disobedience and pain brought Wrestlemania to a screeching halt. Our match was done and I am still unsure who was the victor.

A short time later I was holding my four year old, who was still in pain, while my wife was starting the process of getting our six year old and two year old ready for bed. While holding Matthew, he made a statement that all parents long to hear from their children. He simply said, “Daddy, I really should have listened to Mommy.”

I then explained that mommy wanted him to be able to have fun but just did not want him to get hurt. It was one of those ah ha moments as a parent when you realize your child actually gets it. Having this conversation with a four year old was quite rewarding for me as a dad.
After contemplating this teaching moment with my child, I immediately thought of how this same truth is so very real in regards to Christians and their relationships with their heavenly Father. So often we fight an order given by God just the same way my son argued with my wife. We seem to adopt the attitude that God is the divine spoil sport in the sky. He does not want us to have fun. Doesn’t he have other things to worry about?

Well, when it comes down to it, my wife wanted my son to have fun. What she did not want was for him to experience unnecessary pain. She saw what was coming even when he could not.

So why does God not want us to lie, steal, sleep around and break the law (to name a few)? Because he knows that while there will be temporary pleasure, the pain that will come will not be worth the pleasure.

Just this morning I heard on the radio that 12% of the couples in our country are cohabitating outside of the confines of marriage. Clearly this is not in alignment with Scripture. In fact while we know God does not approve there are also truths that aren’t found in Scripture that further back God’s desire. Take for example the couple who lives together before marriage. Eventually they get married but their lack of commitment they demonstrated before marriage plays a serious role in their marriage. Studies have shown that their marriages are 50% more likely to end in divorce. Could it be that God knew this?

Perhaps He is not a spoil sport. Perhaps He just does not want us to experience unnecessary pain. I could go on and on with examples but reality is most of us a have severe trust issue. While we say that we are totally dependant upon God our choices scream otherwise. I have lost count of the people who have made stupid choices only to become angry with God for not blessing their lives. Could it be God lets us make dumb choices but also lets us suffer the consequences? I know it is a novel idea.

It is almost as if we live a welfare state of spirituality. So many times we have sense of entitlement in regards to God. We expect blessing and fail to realize many of His promised blessings in Scripture are dependent upon faithfulness and obedience.

Before I end this little rant, I would like to say that I realize that it is impossible to live a pain free life. However, I believe if we follow God’s principles, we can live life with less pain. So I would challenge you to pursue obedience. Don’t be forced to learn the lesson like my son. Don’t just say you trust God, live like you do. Sooner or later, you’ll be glad you did.

Christians across our great nation seem to be plagued by a sweeping epidemic. This epidemic can be characterized by one word: rationalization. Poor choices are often swept away with explanations that are meant to make a sinful choice look allowable.

I know several Christians that are sr. citizens that choose to live together. While they understand what the Bible says about avoiding the appearance of evil and the teachings it promotes in regards to marriage they have an answer. They excuse their sinful lifestyle choice by stating that if they should get married that they will lose social security money. Part of me gets bothered by this fact. I find it to be deplorable that a government would penalize people for marriage. Yet by using this as a rationalization, they are saying that their pocketbooks are more important than God’s standards.

At the end of the day, all I have is my integrity. Was I honest? Did I live by the standards that God set in place for me to live by? Or did I choose to do what I wanted and offer an explanation as to why my agenda was more important than Gods?

Unfortunately for most believers, they believe that sin is just a normal part of life for them. While this may be true, it is not how it is supposed to be for believers. Take Romans 3.23 as an example. It is often quoted by believers not as a fact about the world they live in but as an excuse to sin. After all, all have sinned. I fit in that category.

Here is where we seem to fall short as we exegete Romans 3.23. We offer the conclusion that based on Romans 3.23 that of us have sinned and will sin. However, when you study Romans 3.23 in the Greek, one will find that the phrase have sinned was originally written in the aorist tense. It is looking back at sin as something that took place historically in the past. The discussion of Romans 3.23 in regards to salvation isn’t to bring about whether or not someone is sinning now or will sin in the future but to say you have sinned in the past and therefore are guilty of God’s judgment. This verse does not give license to sin but establishes what condition we were living in before we acknowledged Christ as our Savior.

Time and time again the Apostle Paul compares the past lives of believers with their current lives. He also states in Romans 8.12 that we are no longer under obligation to the flesh. In other words, we do not have to sin. Rather in studying chapter 8 of Romans, one will be overcome with the realization that sin always is a result of ignoring the Spirit. Sin will forever be a choice. We do not need to sin. What we need to do is yield ourselves to the Spirit and live with integrity as believers. Let’ not confuse the world with what a Christian ought to look like. Let’s tell them with our lips and show them with our lives.