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The Devil made me do it!!! It’s his fault I’m FAT!

A co-worker brought up a Bible passage I haven’t thought of in a while:

…The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate […] I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong […] there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?   – Romans 7:14b-15, 21,23-24

I’ve considered this passage before in my weight loss journey – but I can’t say I have ever been able to connect the passage to a solution. Last night I was working late and a vendor invited me to dinner. My original plan was to leave from work and go to the gym, but in the face of temptation, I quickly abandoned what I knew was right for what I hate.

After overeating, I did go to the gym, but the damage was done. I’ve ridden my bicycle thousands of miles, I’ve run for hundreds of miles, I have swam for tens of feet (ok, I’m not that much of a swimmer) – the point is, I can and do exercise, but I don’t lose weight because of my diet. Going to the gym is important but not saying no to overeating and eating things I shouldn’t is why I’m not losing weight – and lately why I’m gaining.

I want to SCREAM! Why do I do the things I do not want to do? ARGGHHH!!!! The Apostle Paul goes on to say the answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord (7:25). While I accept that as the solution, I’m pressed to figure out how to apply the cure to my aliment… No disrespect to JC – I’m the human failing here, not HIM.

One thought on “The Devil made me do it!!! It’s his fault I’m FAT!

  1. I love this passage (In a twisted way I suppose) because it speaks so poignantly of the human condition. Whether believer or not, everyone to some degree can resonate with the angst of what we ought to do vis-a-vis what we actually do.

    Psychologically: I find that when I do what I ought, then my psychological health is improved. Conversely, when I do not do what I ought, cognitive dissonance is increased and the associated guilt and shame require my attention. So really, whether over eating or over-spending, I have to choose how much guilt and shame I am willing to manage. As with every habituation, if I continue doing what I ought not do, then managing my guilt and shame becomes an every-day affair and, the more I do something, the better I get at it. Ultimately, I become a master at manipulating my negative feelings and end up embracing denial in all its splendid variations. Indeed, I’ve known folks who seemingly are addicted to managing their negative feelings, gauging their well-being on how much guilt or shame they have reduced from one crisis to another! In my estimation, THAT is flying upside down, missing out on the abundant life Jesus calls us to and has enabled!!

    Socially: Could it be that our cultural eating (and drinking) habits are as much or more about the social gathering as eating itself? Put differently, if we had opportunity to go to the same restaurant by ourselves, would we order the same thing and eat the same amount? Similarly, I hardly drink alone. If my wife does not join me in a glass of wine/cocktail, it’s just no fun on my own. Some habits are socially reinforced; take away the influence of others (whether intentional or not) and who would we be on our own? This awareness may help lift our guard at the right times. It is possible to cherish the presence of others AND enjoy a light dinner with them.

    Biblically: The taxonomy of the passage speaks of the 1) human will, 2) Law or principle of God that is “good”, 3) human action, 4) human mind, 5) law or principle of sin in us, and 6) tension between them all. The goal is to get 1-4 into sync. Interestingly, even the unbeliever (read “Gentile”) knows the good and, though occasionally does it, has conflicting thoughts (see Rom. 2:14-15). Nevertheless, without Christ we will continue living a disjointed, angst-filled existence (Pascal calls this our “existential crisis”) and end with anguish, defeat, and self-destruction. With Christ there is hope to live an integrated life where our beliefs and behavior are in concert. To this we are called. To this we are enabled (Eph 1:18-19). The goal is to reduce, rather than eliminate, the distance between what we do and what we know we should do. I cannot think of a better virtue to leave behind for family than integrity (read ‘integrated life wrought by syncing God’s Law with our beliefs and behavior’).

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