Monday, September 12, 2016
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Sometimes I'll say kiddingly, "I've figured out what my thorn in the flesh is. My metabolism." Is that possible? Well, unfortunately, my metabolism just doesn't turn calories into energy fast enough. It seems like the more birthdays you have, the more that's true. In other words, I could get heavy pretty easily. Years ago, my not-very-tall body weighed in at 210 pounds. Yeah, well, I lost 40 or 50 pounds less, you know, and kept most of that off over the years. I want to stay that way. But I still have the same metabolism that got me to 210, and the bakery, and the candy store, and the ice cream place. They still look just as tempting, but I've got to remember what a battle it was to get that weight off! I mean, it is worth saying no to some temptations to avoid the struggle of having to get back in shape!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Keeping the Weight Off."
Okay, this isn't really about physical weight. No, 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. He says, "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, you know – me? 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 way too long. Look back for a moment. Look at the spiritual weight that you used to carry – the impatience that caused you grief because you would not wait for man and you wouldn't wait for God. Or remember that destructive habit that mastered you for so long and how hard it was to get past it? That attitude that made you feel so dark inside and poisoned your relationships, and that selfishness or that anger that hurt most the people you love most? Remember the lust that used to take over so much of your thought life or the wrong use of sex that left you with scars and guilt and regrets?
You remember the weight and you remember how it made you feel, and you remember 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 what I used to weigh, but I could be back there pretty fast if I didn't fight the early weight gains. I have to do it all the time.
If you're going to keep from carrying that sin-weight again, you'll have to fight it at the first thought when it hits, the first time the temptation comes up, the first weakening, the erosion, that first little compromise, "Just this once. Not very much. Not for long." 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! It's only going to get tougher to stop.
Jesus gloriously liberated you from the sinful weight of that ugly old way of living, that old way of thinking, that old way of meeting your needs, of treating people. But it was painful getting the 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, the first weakening in your resolve!
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!