I love my Study Bible. For those of you who don’t know what a study Bible is, it’s a Bible with verses on part of the page and then a commentary, or explanation of the verses on the other part of the page. I find it so helpful. Another great thing about a study Bible is it has extra information to help bring the Bible to life. It might include a biography of someone you are reading about, or a map so you can visualize the area they are talking about or just interesting additional information.
So…. this brings me to our topic of overcoming sin. I was reading 1 John 3 and my commentary section of my study Bible talked about overcoming sin. We know we are supposed to “repent” or turn away from sin but doing it can be super challenging.
I didn’t become a believer until I was 40 years old so I had a lot of old habits (sin) that were tough to break. Some of my sins were easy to walk away from because God changed my desires. Other habits took a lot longer to break free from and some still challenge me. So when I was reading my commentary and it talked about how to be victorious over sin, I paid attention.
It listed out three things to do:
- Seek the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s word
- Stay away from tempting situations
- Seek the help of the body of Christ (Christian friends) and be open to their willingness to hold you accountable and pray for you
If you struggle with gluttony, drinking too much, laziness, turning to food for comfort instead of God, lack of self-control… let’s talk about how we can use these three suggestions to help us stay on the path towards better health.
Seek the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s word. Jesus promises you the Holy Spirit in John 14:15-17, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” The Bible also uses the words counselor, comforter, healer, spirit of understanding… to describe the Holy Spirt.
Think how amazing that is we have the Holy Spirit in us to help us to turn away from our sins!! How awesome is that.
The Holy Spirit works a bit differently in each of us. For me, when I do something outside of God’s will I feel it. Sometimes I even hear that voice saying, “Come on Michelle, you know there’s a better way to go about this.” That is how the Holy Spirit works in me - he is nudging me back onto God’s path.
Pray and ask God’s Sprit to help you change, to help you turn away from the sin in your life. Ask Him to give you the encouragement you need.
God’s Word also helps us turn from sin. I am amazed how God gets my attention when I read the Bible. I remember when I first started going to church I remember thinking how do people read the Bible for their whole life?? Now I get it. I can read the same chapter several times and get something different from it each time.
Hebrew 4:12 tells us this, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” His Word really does speak to us right where we are in life. The more you get into God’s Word the more He can speak to you.
Study God’s Word and you will be amazed at how it helps you turn away from you sin.
Stay away from tempting situations. When I’m talking with someone who is struggling with turning away from eating unhealthy foods I often ask them, “Who brings the unhealthy foods into the house.” They often respond with something like, “Well I do the shopping but I have to have sweets and snacks for my kids/husband.” Really?? Do you have to?
I’m not saying you should never bring anything unhealthy into your home but it definitely shouldn’t be the norm. Don’t bring the foods that tempt you most into your home. It’s a lot easier to avoid eating something if it isn’t handy.
Don’t go to restaurants where they serve unhealthy foods that you can’t control yourself around. If ice cream is your downfall then don’t go to your favorite ice cream shop. If you can’t stop eating the unlimited bread supply at your favorite Italian restaurant then don’t go there.
If you tend to drink too much when you are around certain friends, let them know that you are trying to break free from that and if they aren’t willing to help you, you might need to limit your relationship to over the phone for a while.
Did you know that one of the best predictors of your health is the health of your closest friends. If your three best friends are obese, there's a 150% better chance you'll be overweight. Of course I’m not saying don’t hang out with people who aren’t fit, but you do need to be careful about who you spend most of your time with.
Seek the help of the body of Christ. Another way God speaks to us is through other believers. When you we going through a challenging situation and need advice we are told to seek wise council. When trying to turn away from sin ask for help.
Some don’t like the word, “accountability” but the truth is when we have people in our life who check in with us and ask us how we are doing we are more likely to make a change. Partner up with someone who also wants to turn away from unhealthy ways. Exercise together, exchange recipes, pray together. Studies show that when we meet with others we have a 50% greater chance of achieving our goals.
How about starting a Faithful Workouts’ Group at your church. What a great way to not only get together and exercise, but to also pray for each other and learn from each others successes and failures. It can also be a great way to share God’s love and truth with those that don’t know him. We are here to help you launch your group and will supply you with all you need. If you want to learn more about starting a group email me, firstname.lastname@example.org
**Are there any sins in your life that you are struggling to turn away from? Have you tried asking the Holy Spirit to help you? Have you been consistently reading your Bible so God can speak to you? Are you staying away from the temptations? Have you reached out to other believers and asked for their help?
People often ask me questions like, “How can I lose my belly fat”, “What exercises will make my thighs thinner”. The truth is there is no way to lose fat in one certain spot of your body. Body fat has a mind of its own. It appears and disappears from where it wants to. I think to better understand why this is, you need to learn a bit about fat distribution.
Remember you need fat on your body. You need fat in your diet for your body to function properly. Everyone has adipose (fat) tissue all over their body. This tissue is made of adipocytes (fat cells) whose sole job is to store energy in the form of fat. Body fat distribution differs from person to person. There are generally two types of fat storage: visceral (surrounding organs), or subcutaneous (beneath the skin - about 80% of all body fat).
Many people compare subcutaneous fat to the layers of an onion. Rather than disappearing from a particular place, it comes off layer by layer from the whole body. For others fat is lost from the most recent place it was gained.
During weight loss, obese men tend to lose more visceral (internal, around your organs) fat while obese women lose more subcutaneous (under the skin) fat. Typically, not always, exercise seems to result in more subcutaneous fat loss. Diet alone results in more visceral fat loss.
The reality is there is very little you can do to influence where you would like your fat to leave from. You can’t exercise or diet away fat from one certain part of your body. Does this mean it’s worthless to exercise – absolutely not!!! You need to first remember that exercise is about getting your body healthier. You need to take the focus off exercising only because you want to look better. Secondly, exercise burns calories, increases your metabolism and so much more.
In order to lose body fat you need to have your calorie intake less than your calorie output. Exercise burns calories so it will speed the process of losing fat. Exercising vigorously on a specific body part will not take fat away from just that area. You can tone the muscles in that area but it won’t have any effect on the fat.
This is important to know because too often people will focus their exercise efforts on one area which can produce muscle imbalance. Try and exercise your entire body with a mixture of cardio and strength training and eat healthy and you are doing the best you can to get your body to a healthy place!
Each week you will be asked to set goals. Your goals can be about faith, fitness or food (or all 3). I highly recommend that you write them down and post them on your mirror or someplace you will see them often. When setting goals make them action oriented goals, not result goals. Stay focused on doing the next right thing and be patient with the results.