“For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again…” Proverbs 24:16a
Something I read yesterday really struck me. In a Bible study I was reading yesterday, the Bible passage from Matthew 22:15-33 was discussed. In it, the Bible says that the religious leaders at the time (Pharisees and Sadducees) had evil intent and that they “didn’t know the Scripture or the power of God.” Jesus told us that they were more interested in the externals – how they looked or appeared – rather than their heart.
As a church, I think we’ve gotten this point. That’s why we tend to not think about the sin of being obese. It doesn’t matter if we have soft bellies so long as we have soft hearts. But, I think that we fail to see that sometimes our outward appearance is a reflection of what’s going on inside of us.
That wasn’t at all the point made by the study, though. Dee Brestin in her book “A Woman of Moderation” (which I’m not very far into but would recommend at this point) noted that we must pray that we don’t fall into the trap of religious leaders. We can LOOK like women of moderation without actually being women of moderation.
I thought about it all day yesterday. Some people don’t struggle to lose weight. They can deny themselves and TEMPORARILY lose weight and look like everything is going well. BUT, eventually, somehow we fall back into the same old patterns. How many of you have tried different diets and then failed? I lost a good bit on the South Beach Diet, but then I gained it back again when I got a new job. I lost a lot right before I got pregnant with my third son, and I would even venture to say that I was doing it the right way, in following God’s lead. But, something in me turned right back into the bondage of food idolatry. Eating for two became part of my mantra, and I started eating for 12.
We can exercise and eat right for a time on our own, and we may have the false appearance of being committed to a healthier lifestyle. But, only God can change our hearts, transform our minds through His Word, and make us the person He designed us to be.
So many times when we fall back into the same old traps, we get discouraged and think “I’ll never change.” I’m right there with you if you’ve ever thought that! But, I heard on the radio this morning that very thought come over the airwaves with a reminder right after it that noted “The Holy Spirit can change you from the inside out. That is the work of Jesus and the cross! Don’t think you can’t change – know that He can change you!”
I don’t want just physical or external change (oh, I do want to be healthy and smokin’ hot!). I also want an internal change that where my heart is, there my treasure will be. I want to be immoderate in my love for God so that I can live in moderation in all other areas of my life.
Though the righteous may fall (off the wagon) seven times, they rise again… this is the power of God in our lives!!! Let’s rise together!
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being holy. Thank You for enabling the righteous to rise after they fall. God, thank You that You can bring true change in our lives. May we not be like the old religious leaders who were only concerned about external appearances. Help us change from the inside out. Transform our hearts so that our bodies are a reflection of what You are doing inside of us. Help us live lives of moderation for Your ultimate glory. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!