Sometimes I'll say kiddingly, "I've figured out what my thorn in the flesh is. My metabolism." It's true. It just doesn't turn calories into energy fast enough. Translation: I get fat easily. Years ago, my not-very-tall body weighed in at 210 - I've been about 40 or 50 pounds less than that for a long time now. And I want to stay that way. But I still have the same metabolism that got me to 210 - and the bakery, candy store, ice cream place look just as tempting - but I have to remember how hard it was to get that weight off! It's worth saying no to some temptations to avoid the struggle of getting back in shape!

Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Keeping the Weight Off."

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Galatians 5:1. Paul is addressing the issue of bondage - the bondage of legalism, but also the bondage of sin. "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Or, like this goodies-loving, slow metabolism guy I know, why would you go back to a way that you hated, that you were hooked on, and that was very hard to get out of? You know how hard it is to get rid of that weight - why would you go back to it?

Maybe you're facing the temptation, right now, to slip back to a sin that once enslaved you - weight you carried spiritually for much too long. Look back for a moment at the spiritual weight that used to be there - the impatience that caused you grief because you would not wait for man and you wouldn't wait for God, or that destructive habit that mastered you for so long, that attitude that made you feel so dark inside, that selfishness or that anger that poisoned your relationships, remember the lust that used to take over so much of your thought life, or the wrong use of sex.

You remember the weight and how it made you feel, how hard it was to get that weight off of you. But now maybe there's a slow drift back toward that burden. You have no intention of going back to where you were. I have no intention of going back to 210 pounds - but I could be back there pretty fast if I didn't fight those first weight gains.

If you're going to keep from carrying that sin-weight again, you'll have to fight it at the first thought, the first time the temptation comes up, the first weakening, the first compromise. Notice God's words here are, "Stand firm! Do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." In other words, stop it now! Fight it when it's small! When it's easier to beat!

Jesus gloriously liberated you from the sinful weight of that ugly old way of living, that old way of thinking, of meeting your needs, of treating people. But it was painful getting that weight off, wasn't it? You can't afford to let it start coming back. Say no now to the first signs of that burden returning! Why revisit the burdens of the past? Why repeat the struggle of beating that sin again! You've got the weight off - now with the strength of Jesus, keep it off!