For the last three months I have been attending exercise classes to help combat my life long battle against obesity. Here the last couple of years it seems that I was losing more battles that I was winning. While I am not proud to admit my struggles, I am not too proud to not admit them either. For years I ignored the problem. I kept telling myself that there was nothing really wrong with me. My cholesterol was mostly normal. My heart pressure was always average and my blood sugar level never reached into danger zones. While I was not the picture of health, I convinced myself that I had nothing to worry about either. That is of course, until I tried to do exercise. It has never been something that comes easy to me. I hated running. I was not a fan of sports that required great cardio. Even when I wrestled in high school I was in the heavy weight division where I didn’t have to worry about cutting weight.
As my weight spiraled out of control I came to realize that my preaching had been affected. How can I preach lessons on self control and dedication when my weight was the direct result of a lack of self control around sweets and a lack of dedication in regards to exercise and proper diet. While some never struggle with controlling their sweet tooth pornography or alcohol may be something that they are drawn to. But the nature of our struggle was still the same. We had a hard time saying, “I don’t want to give in to my carnal lusts,” be it for the flesh of the opposite sex, a cold beer on a hot day or chocolate chip cookie. No I am not saying that eating a cookie is sinful. However, eating a whole box of cookies in a day is gluttony and gluttony is sinful (Prov. 23:20).
So, as I said, I started these exercise classes. Some days are easier than others. Other days I begin thinking to myself this is too hard. It would be really easy to go home grab a coke and plow though a box of Oreos. However, what message am I then teaching my children? What message am I then teaching others who struggle with sin? That it is okay to quit if it gets hard? That it is okay to sin so long as most of society struggles with the same sin? That my own weaknesses and shortcomings are okay to ignore? Well that was the message I have sent out for years. But what the message that God wants us to be living is one of victory and not defeat. So, over the last several weeks, especially as the classes got harder, I began thinking back to that children’s book “The Little Engine that Could.” As that little engine began chugging along carrying a load up a hill it kept telling itself, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” He didn’t give up. He kept going and he kept going until he finally reached the top of that hill. Sometimes the hill I climb is quite literal as I run of the sledding hill at Arhen’s park or running up a flight of stairs in between my push ups, sit-ups or burpees. Other times, like for most of us, the hill is metaphorical. We face the challenge that seems overwhelming. We sit at the bottom of the hill or perhaps at the bottom of the mountain and we look up and think there is no way I can do this. There is no way I can get this sin out of my life. There is no way I can overcome this trial. There is no way I can make it on my own. This is when we need to start thinking, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” Then we need to turn that “I think I can” into a
”I know I can, I know I can, I know I can.” Remember what Paul said in Phil. 4:13. “I can do all things through Him that strengthens me.” No I do not think Paul meant that we can lift 1000 lbs over our heads because God will grant us superhuman strength. No, God will grant us much more strength than that. He will strengthen you so that you can not only walk through the valley of the shadow of death, but you can climb that mountain and claim your victory. There is no sin that can have such a control of your life that you cannot overcome. There is no trial so looming in your life that you cannot persevere. There is no hardship you can face that you will be just too weak to carry on. At least, not if you keep telling yourself, “I can. I can. I can do all things through Him that strengthens me.”
No, my journey is not yet complete. I have done years of damage to my body and it will take time for the condition of my spiritual heart to change my physical body. However, little bit by little bit I keep climbing that mountain. And I hope that this inspires you to climb your own mountains. I hope that my past failures can be forgiven. I hope that my past failures can serve a as a warning to any who thinks self control doesn’t matter. For at onetime my waistline was in far worse shape than my soul. But now, thanks be to God I have overcome.~WTK
Grinnell church of Christ
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I Think I Can I Think I Can I Think I Can…
Volume 4 Issue 29