The knot in my stomach started a number of days ago.
It came because God was convicting me, and I was busy trying to ignore His gentle confrontation of a sin in my life.
Most people wouldn’t even call it sin.
Joining a health club?
God reminded me of a firm instruction He had given me years ago: “Stop spending money on trying to lose weight.”
The day I joined the health club in June, I remembered the Lord’s instruction but made excuses along the way to justify my actions:
-That was then; this is now.
-It’s not that much money a month, and besides my insurance payment at work is lower than before, so the money can come from what I’m saving there.
-I see people from my church here, so joining must be fine.
-I’m going to wear Christian t-shirts every time I come here and be a witness.
-If I’m exercising more, I’ll lose weight, and I can serve God better.
As I reviewed my excuses, I thought of King Saul in 1 Samuel 15 when He ignored God’s instruction of “Now go and strike Amalek and completely destroy everything that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’” (Verse 3)
He told God that the reason he kept some of the livestock back (He also spared King Agag) is that he was going to use the sheep and oxen to sacrifice to the Lord at Gilgal (see verse 21) . The bottom line is that he said that his disobedience (he didn’t call it that) was going to honor God.
I realized that was my spin as well.
My circumstance may not have been as dire as King Saul’s, and the consequences not as serious, but I’ve learned any kind of disobedience has consequences and hurts my relationship with the Lord.
My disobedience became clear in the midst of my looking at my “fast spending” and God calling me to a spending fast. (See last week’s blog).
I knew then that I was throwing money away as I had the other times I had joined health clubs. This time I had convinced myself that things would be different. This “special” lower cost health club was going to be the cure to my bad eating habits and weight issues.
Since I had joined the health club, I had gained weight. It dawned on me that it was because God couldn’t bless disobedience. I knew I couldn’t eat right without His help, and I had forfeited his help because of my prideful, “I know better” attitude.
The day my straying from God’s plan for me and healthy living was made clear, I was tempted to wait a while before quitting, even though I had lost interest in going there. (just like all the other times). I felt embarrassed to have made the same mistake again and to have to admit it to someone.
As I drove to the health club, these three words came to mind, “Tell the truth.”
When I arrived, the young man at the desk was the same one who had signed me up in June. I remembered that he said he liked my T-shirt which said, “Jesus is the anchor of my soul.” If I remember correctly, he had confirmed that he was a Christian.
“What is the reason for quitting?” he asked.
I wanted to tell a partial truth like, “I was wrong in joining.”
But inside I felt an urgency to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
“Years ago, God told me to stop wasting money on trying to lose weight,” I said. “And I disobeyed him.”
He gave a quizzical look at first, and then communicated, “I understand.”
I found myself praying silently that if he was justifying disobedience anywhere in his life, he would deal with it.
Then he handed me a piece of paper to sign which also had a blank after the word “reason.”
“You can just write, ‘it wasn’t right for me,’” he said.
I did write that, and then as I let go of fear of the man or woman after him who would read the paper and label me “one of those Christian nut jobs,” I put down the whole truth I had just spoken out loud.
I lost weight as I walked out of the health club that day—the increasing weight that seemed to be pressing on my soul because of my pride and insisting on my own way.
I thank God for opening my eyes to the habit I thought I had conquered– elaborate excuse-making–and for giving me the courage to resolve the issue, so I could save money and have one less thing between Him and me.
God is so good, He knows me so well, and He’s always right. In this season of giving thanks, I’m thanking God for all three.
Song selection: Trust and Obey sung by Big Daddy Weave
This classic hymn was written by John H. Sammis and Daniel B. Towner in 1887.