For Lord’s Day, July 27, 2014
Lately, I’ve slowly been losing weight a little more steadily and sustainably. I’ve been motivated by a number of things in my desire to be more sanctified both in body and soul, with which I’d like to encourage you for your own holistic growth in grace and holiness.
First, I am reminded that gluttony is a sin: Westminster Larger Catechism 135, 136, and 139, and Proverb 23:2: … put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. [See also Deuteronomy 21:20 and Proverb 23:21.]
Second, with 1 Corinthians 9:27 in mind, I also am stirred by what Jerry Bridges wrote in his book, The Pursuit of Holiness:
True holiness includes control over our physical bodies and appetites.
Michel Quoist, in his book The Christian Response, says, ‘If your body makes all the decisions and gives all the orders, and if you obey, the physical can effectively destroy every other dimension of your personality. Your emotional life will be blunted and your spiritual life will be stifled and ultimately will become anemic.
As we become soft and lazy in our bodies, we tend to become soft and lazy spiritually … There is no place for laziness and indulgence of the body in a disciplined pursuit of holiness.
One way I’ve been experimenting with Mr. Bridges’ challenge and example (he shares how he overcame his own overindulgence with pies and ice cream) is to simply not put sugar or cream in my coffee — you know this is a BIG change for Rev. Sweet Tooth! For about a month now, I’ve been pleased to find that I can control this craving, and that I have developed a special savor for coffee’s own flavor. Because I made a choice, I chose correct follow-through actions. On this note, Elder Huffmaster’s comment last Sabbath Class rings so true: “I will’s become I did’s.”
Third, I am motivated by the wonderful example of the Maxwell family, who, because of their newer nutrition commitments are not only looking greater but feeling greater, and their doctors confirm their health is much improved. I often think of them when I need to “rebound”, knowing, I can! (Philippians 4:13.)
Fourth, and lastly, baby Isaac and I recently came across a Cookie Monster video produced by Sesame Street that, frankly, is really helpful to remember the basics of self-control and self-denial (the mortification in sanctification that sets up vivification). Take a look:
In terms of applying the moderate use of good things as a spiritual discipline, may we all apply Mr. Cookie Monster’s mantra: “Me want it (but me wait)!” Warning: you will likely struggle to get Cookie Monster’s song out of your head for a while, but that is the idea, isn’t it? Mnemonic devices for learning and training in self-control is not just for kids! And all the covenant children said, Amen!