I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2 ESV)
I glanced in the mirror, lowered my eyes and walked away. I’m overweight. My clothes stretch across me and left ripples at the bra and pant waist lines. My jeans feel like a growing vise grip. Yet I refuse to go spend money on new clothes that upped in size one more time.
I hated that Letter to the Romans verse. I admit it. The “present my body” part of the verse was my stumbling block. How could I present my body in its current state? I was anything but a holy, good, acceptable or perfect offering. I’ve been overweight since childhood and the more I diet, the more I gain it all back as soon as I get off the diet. And lately, the diets just have not been working now that I am older. I’ve lost the gumption to even try to lose weight, and now the inches and pounds have crept on month after month, year after year.
Then I stopped and returned to the mirror to look beyond the fat into my soul. I mouthed the verse again. The revelation smacked me in the face like a spray of cold water. I’d felt helpless and hopeless, but most of all I’d been chastizing myself for not taking better care of this temple called my body.
I’ve looked to God for strength in times of trouble, doubt and sorrow. Why have I determined my weight was my battle alone? I knew the answer. Because gluttony is a sin and I felt ashamed. Even though my faith-voice knew better, I’d slipped into the “I have to win His favor for Him to be pleased with me ” mode—a lesson I learned from my earthly father, not my Heavenly one.
Then, when I read the next verse, two words leaped out. Renew my mind. That was the key to transforming my resolve, and my body, to become a healthier witness so God could use me to His glory. My attitude needs to be renewed. If I adjust my attitude and look to Him for strength instead of approval, I can learn to crawl, then walk, and eventually run this race towards a healthier body and more importantly, a healthier body image. He will transform me, if I let Him. But, renewal had to come first.
And, here is the best part. I don’t have to undertake the renewing alone. Our Lord is in the renewal business. All I need to do I hand Him this part of my life. Easier said than done. It means confessing my weaknesses and failures to do it on my own. But I know my loving God will embrace me. I don’t have to please Him by becoming more perfect, I just need to be willing to let Him do the transforming. He’ll give me the strength and determination to make the life-style changes, starting from the inside out.
What are you battling alone? Consider why that is. It just may be an old learned behavior that you must first un-learn. God is calling you to renew your mind so it can be transformed. That may mean coming to Him as you are, broken and weak. But you come, not a s a child facing the whipping belt or time out in the corner, but as a child of the Creator of the Universe who loves you whole heartedly and sees what is good and acceptable and can be made perfect in you. He is waiting for you to bend your will to His so He can help you in that renewal process. He is standing there, sleeves rolled up and ready to begin the transformation. All you need to do is whisper, “Okay. I am ready. Help me do this.”