January 3, 2017

So then, 2017 has begun and we are off to the race of another year. In this year, some of us have made New Year’s resolutions. I have carried over a desire from last year to get down to what I think would be a healthy weight of 200 pounds. As I expressed in the previous blog, I do not think I will make it by focusing on my failures or even on my weight. I believe best practice in any area or struggle in our lives is by staying close to Jesus.

Have you noticed the marketplace revels in the opportunity to sell products or programs to us when the price for our success has already been paid? Years ago, a man came to me excited because he had quit smoking cigarettes. “Wow, that’s great;” I said. “How did you do it?” “I went to my doctor,” He replied, “and he gave me a prescription for a nicotine patch. Since I have been using the patch I have not had a cigarette in three weeks.” “Friend,” I said, “I am no doctor, but if all you have done is replace one nicotine delivery system for another and have no further support than that, I predict you will go back to cigs when your prescription runs out.” He was confident he would succeed and was a little put out by me that I did not believe him. Needless to say, I saw him after a month with a cigarette in his mouth. The Scriptures speak to this problem.

“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41). 

Another man came to me after this and told me he had quit smoking. “Pastor, I wanted to make sure it was for real so I waited for three months before I came to tell you.” “Wow, that is great,” I replied. “How did you do it?” “I was just getting so sick of myself and this habit. I know it was not pleasing to God but I was not able to quit until I confessed to him my sin and my need for Him to help me to quit. So, I started carrying a New Testament in my pocket where my cigarettes used to be and every time I got the urge to smoke I would pull out my NT and start to read until the desire went away. When I was working with my hands and couldn’t read my Bible, I would pray through the urge to smoke until it went away. And now I have come to you to tell you Jesus has delivered me from smoking.”

Do you see the difference? One man put his trust in a doctor and a drug for deliverance, and another man put his trust in God and His Word for help. One man saw he had a medical problem, and another man confessed he had a sin problem and there was a God greater than his sin. Medicine is wonderful when properly practiced, but it has no power over the root of sin in the human heart. To treat the symptoms and not the cause is to miss the cure and to enhance the curse. This is malpractice. Of course, for me to say this, I am politically, medically, and religiously incorrect. But I do believe I am Biblically correct.

This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (Galatians5:16). 

Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and other such programs may provide hope and help for some, maybe even many people. I am thankful for each one who has embraced a healthier diet and lifestyle. Having said this, what if you are like me and cannot afford such a prescription? What if a price has already been paid for the root cause of our problem and all we need to do is be willing to own up to our personal failure and stewardship in this area of our lives and embrace the One who died for sin, and then with His power make proactive healthy choices?  What if freedom in this area of our lives resides in a close relationship to a person rather than a man-invented program?

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”      (James 5:16).

Resolving to go to Christ,

Pastor John Schofield