Core scripture: Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6: 19-20).
Message: The holidays were rough on me. I stepped on the scale last Monday. The scale laughed at me. It mocked me. I’m pretty sure it may have even said something like, “Wassup, big boy! Please get off me before you knock the wind outa me.” How’s that for personification? Sorry, but 197 on a 5’8’’ frame does not look so appealing. I scowled down at that number. I hated that number. I wanted to go to war with that number. Gritting my teeth, I mouthed off to that scale, trash-talking like Richard Sherman defacing Michael Crabtree. “Oh, you think you’re all that, Mr. Scale? You think you’re better than me? You just wait and see. Just wait and see!” Alright, so my smack talk aint that great, buy you get the point.
Anyone feeling my pain? I entered Thanksgiving Break at a somewhat respectable 186. After four days of my mother-in-law’s cooking and no exercise, I had ballooned past 190. It was game on then. Christmas cookies. Bring a snack to work day. And pizza. My boys love pizza! How could I not deprive them of their passion? Especially after my oldest son won a Book It award for reading through Pizza Hut. I dominated that buffet! Crushed it! I’m talking meat-lovers, barbecue, you name it! I inhaled it like a vacuum. Oh, and I did eat a salad too, WITH low fat ranch dressing to make me feel better. Problem was, I didn’t feel better. As a matter of fact, laying down for bed that night, I felt downright disgusted, lethargically drifting off to a slumber.
Of course, January arrives, and after the scale showdown, I went to war. Under Armour calorie counter? Downloaded. Trips to the gym? Charted into my schedule. Grazing on food all day? Eliminated! Well, kinda. Sorta. Alright, so there was that day I found the boys’ Goldfish box. Then there was the day I decided to munch on the Jack Snack mix. I mean, I had no choice but to eat it, right? Yeah, charting that one on the calorie counter made me toss the rest. Over 300 calories for a small cup; are you kidding me? Pathetic, I know, but I powered on. I found time to take my boys to the indoor pool at our gym, tossing them into the water and racing them from side to side. I lifted weights. I hopped on the elliptical. And I kept up my Monday morning kickboxing routine.
It aint the most fun thing in the world to roll out of bed at 4:30 am on Mondays, but I do it. Religiously. It takes me a full hour to stretch out my back, sip my coffee, get into the Word to get my mind right, and kiss my wife and kids goodbye. Then Ann takes over. Ann is my kickboxing instructor. She kicks my butt. She kicks everyone’s butt. But she encourages, she challenges, and she never fails to deliver a powerful full-body workout. Her catch phrases make the group feel like a community. Your hair looks so much better now! I know, right? Give someone near you a high five and say, “This is my favorite part!” She makes cardio fun, and she always ends each session with positive, spiritual thoughts. Think of how lucky you are to be here. Think of all those that care about you. Be positive today! Know that God loves you.
It is so easy for a teacher to fall into temptation and let their body go. There’s always food in the teacher’s lounge. There’s always more papers to grade, making trips to the gym less frequent. There’s always extra-curricular activities to go see that interfere as well, allowing you to say, “Oh, how bout we hit McDonald’s on the way home to save us time.” Yeah, it isn’t easy, but if you dig into God’s Word, He doesn’t allow excuses like that. 1 Corinthians 10: 31 states, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” How about 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” Or how about good old Daniel who challenged his authorities in Daniel 1: 12 saying, “Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink.” Daniel crushed it! His diet plan actually worked! The proof is right there in Daniel 1: 15 which states, “At the end of ten days their appearance seemed better and they were fatter than all the youths who had been eating the king’s choice food.”
Alright, gotta say, my sweet wifey tried the Daniel Plan last year, and although it worked, let’s just say it made her slightly … grumpy? Just slightly. But I challenge you all, how will 2017 be different? Will you actually make the changes that might reflect what God asks you to do with your body? Can you be that change? Darn, I feel a little like Tony Little. Through it all, I wish you all good luck in your quest to accomplish whatever goals you make for yourself, but please realize this core truth as well: “For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Timothy 4: 8). Translation: You better pepper your days with as much if not MORE time in the Word as you do time at the gym.
I stepped on the scale THIS Monday. I liked the scale. The scale and I are now friends. It smiled back at me, saying, “Hey, 191 is something to be proud of!” I smiled back. One day at a time, Mr. Scale. One day at a time.
(Would you please pray for my kickboxing instructor, Ann Miller? She recently lost her son over the holidays suddenly and took a few weeks off. I missed her presence, and I know the rest of the class did too. But I already have seen God work in her life since as her finance proposed to her on Christmas Day, and he has been a loving support to pull her through. God is using Ann in so many wonderful ways, but prayers for continued peace and healing would be much appreciated.)
Challenge: Get on board with your diet and exercise this new year! Download a calorie tracker. Set goals for yourself. Schedule workouts at the gym on your calendar. Take advantage of a warm day to go for a walk. Chart your progress. And through it all, watch the pounds melt away like butter on a hot stove.
Song to bring it home: One of my favorite new songs is Danny Gokey’s “Rise.” Talk about empowering! The theme, all too powerful, is that we can indeed rise up to conquer whatever lies before us. I am pretty sure that includes the holiday weight I put on!
Prayer: Lord, let my diet and exercise routine replicate scripture. May my body be a temple full of purity and righteousness that reflect Your glory. Amen.