Lasting change in our lives comes first from within before lasting change is seen outwardly. There has to be a heart and mind transformation or the changes we make will not last. This is true even as we try to lose weight. In January every year, many make it their New Year’s resolution to lose weight or to get “healthy”. We start out great . We may lose weight and even start exercising but as a Physician Assistant who has counselled 1000s on how to lose weight, very few lose the weight and keep it off. Why? The answer is that they lost the weight in their own strength but the underlying reason they where over weight in the first place was not addressed. Many of us use food as a way to deal with unhealthy emotions or unresolved hurts from the past. Food , particularly sugar , stimulates the pleasure center of the brain and has a calming effect. Yes, we can become addicted to food just like one can be addicted to alcohol, drugs, and pornography. Addiction is simply trying to fill a void in our lives that can only be filled or healed by God.
I can teach you about a healthy diet and how exercise promotes new neurons in the brain and decrease your risk of Alzheimer’s but without a change in our mindset (or coming to a place where we are tired of living the way we have been) it won’t make a difference. For true change to happen, we must set out hearts and minds to pursue those things we long for. The secret to lasting change is found in Psalms 91:1.
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty (Whose power no foe can withstand).
Lasting change comes with intimacy with the Father. You may have heard as Christians we are to “die to self” but I am here to tell you that “dying to self” is done in relationship to the Father. It is not something we do but something He does as we fellowship with Him. His love transforms us. Trying to kill our flesh on our own becomes a religious work similar to those who were mutilating their flesh to make themselves more holy (Philippians 3:2) or those in Colossians 2 who were promoting “self-humiliation and severity of discipline of the body” as a means of “honoring God”.
Colossians 2:23 Such (practices) have indeed the outward appearance (that popularly passes) for wisdom, in promoting self-imposed rigor of devotion and delight in self-humiliation and severity of disciple of the body, but they are of no value in checking the indulgence of the flesh (the lower nature). (Instead, they do not honor God but serve only to indulge the flesh.)
It is in relationship with the Father, made possible through His son Jesus, that His love transforms and heals us. It may be painful at times but it will be worth it. The journey to health begins in relationship to the Father. It is spending time with Him on a daily basis, seeking Him in prayer and reading His words that we are changed. Lasting change requires a heart and mind transformation which comes as we “dwell in the secret place” with Him. We must seek Wisdom from above. Many of us are seeking the right diet, the right supplement, or the right pill to extend life but the answer to long life is in seeking Him. I will leave you with these thoughts from Proverbs 3. As you ponder this proverb, remember that the New Testament gave us a new commandment-to walk in love (2 John 1:6).
Proverbs 3: 1-8
Wisdom Bestows Well-Being
My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
2 for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you peace and prosperity.
3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.[a]
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord and shun evil.
8 This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.