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
Website design by Blythe Data Recovery & Computer Repair, LLC
I Think I Can I Think I Can I Think I Can…

The Light
Volume 4 Issue 29