I am finally getting to the end of Jerry Bridges’ The Pursuit of Holiness, after setting it down for about three months. It is a great book—both profound and extremely convicting. I think the most convicting chapter has been related to holiness in the body (chapter 11).
I am a guy who really struggles with his weight. I have a horrible sweet tooth—an unrelenting desire for tasty things made of sugar.
And I hate it.
Back in 2004, I was 310 pounds and decided enough was enough. I started eating rigidly according to the GI diet, and even started eating on a regular schedule (going from one meal to six smaller meals per day). I worked out religiously… and the weight I’d carried most of my life came off.
I dropped 120 pounds in a little over a year. When I got married in 2006, I was just north of 190 pounds, had muscle tone for the first time in my life, and had the start of what might have become a six-pack. It was really cool.
So what happened?
Honestly, I got lazy. I became undisciplined.
I started thinking, “Oh, a sweet here and there can’t hurt. I can handle it.” Only, I couldn’t.
Working out became more difficult when our daughter was born and I cancelled my gym membership; I couldn’t make it out enough to actually get the value I needed from it. I had the skills to exercise at home. Only I didn’t.
Today, I’m somewhere north of 230 pounds. Because I became undisciplined and lazy. Because I have indulged in something which I can honestly say is a sin for me.
Here is what I am learning in the pursuit of holiness: Do not become undisciplined and lazy. When I feel conviction, I must listen to my conviction and not give in to temptation. I must remember that it is the Holy Spirit who will give me the strength to resist temptation whenever it comes, if only I will be obedient.
This morning, I’m going out for a run before anyone in the house wakes up. It might not be long, but it’ll be good. And by God’s grace, I’ll do it again the next day. And the next. I will not succumb to the temptation to indulge my sweet tooth. And while I run, and while I eat, I will remember Paul’s words in 1 Cor. 9:27: No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.