Have you ever tried to gain traction on ice? I once was the passenger with a friend who had a sporty car and bald tires. As he was trying to impress me by letting his car do donuts in a snow storm, we ended up firmly planted in a snow bank on the side of the road. The laughter ended, though, when he tried to pull out and his tires simply spun and spun on the ice beneath. It was after midnight on Christmas Eve, and getting the car moving was going to be no easy task…
When someone who struggles with addiction or losing weight thinks about a major life change like being free and healthy, it often feels like my friend and I did that night. We try something small (with our own power) and our tires just spin, unable to gain traction and really break free and move forward. At this point, most of us give up.
But, Luke 18 begins “Then Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Let me pause here and say if you’ve struggled with your weight or changing your life style in any way, I believe this is one of the keys to start gaining traction.
Going back, picking up in verse 2, Luke 18 continues “He said: ‘In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, “Grant me justice against my adversary.” 4 For some time he refused. But finally, he said to himself, “Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!” 6 “And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night? Will He keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, He will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?'”
So, here’s the key: be persistent in prayer. For awhile, I thought “Is it really justice to ask God to help me be healthy or is it His mercy since I’ve done this to myself?” Either way, ask God to make you healthy and thin. Every day! I often wondered what the last verse had to do with the rest of the story – does it seem strange to you to ask about the Son of Man finding faith on earth to end the parable of the persistent widow? I no longer think it a weird ending. Will God find us faithful in prayer? Will God see faith within us, true faith that HE can change us even if we have no ability to gain traction on our own?
For the average overweight person, even if you think that you have no will on your own to eat healthier or stop overindulging and no energy or time to work out, you still believe that you can pray. Start there! Commit to praying everyday to being healthier. Don’t fear asking God for help. After all, if He wanted to, I believe He could make us all wake up healthy and thin overnight. But, if you don’t wake up looking like you want to, don’t give up praying! That’s the whole point of this parable. Keep asking. Be persistent.
The start to any successful life change is consistent, persistent prayer. Ask God, and let Him give you traction as He fulfills your desires. If, over subsequent days, you find a moment to work out or are able to say no to an overindulgence, make sure to give Him credit for enabling you to make good choices. So often we ask God, He answers, and we forget to praise Him rather than ourselves for what’s happened. May it never be! As God answers your prayers, make a mental note to share your testimony with others. May God be glorified in our life changes!
To end my story from above, my risk-taking friend and I prayed that we’d make it home that night without having to walk in the freezing cold temperatures, and a family who was just coming home from their Christmas Eve festivities saw our stuck car and came down to help us push the car out and also put something under the tires to help them grip. It was enough to get us rolling. They wouldn’t accept our offer of money and simply smiled and waved as they went inside. They seemed like angels that night.
God will send the help. He will provide the traction. Don’t sit and spin your wheels and give up! Ask God and see how He delivers you.
Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You for being amazing, all powerful, righteous and merciful. We confess, Lord, that we are in a place that we don’t want to be yet can’t seem to get traction in moving from here. Father God, in Your gracious mercy, with the blood of Jesus covering our sins, we ask that You would set us free from our habits, enable us to make wise choices, and You would provide the traction we need. Give us that push, put something under our tires, help us in any way you see fit. May we glorify You, God, with our bodies. Please make us healthy and thin, to serve You and to honor You, in the very temple where You live. We praise You, God, for answering our prayers. We believe, we trust You, and we KNOW You are faithful. Help us remain in You today. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!