When I was 12 years-old, I called myself ”fat.” Because I saw myself as ”fat,” then I gave myself the natural answer to the problem.
I went on my first diet.
I found a diet in a women’s magazine that told me what to eat. It was practically a starvation diet, allowing me to eat only 800 calories per day.
After about a month, I lost the weight I thought I needed to lose. I felt great!
Problem solved, right?
Not so fast! My 12 year-old mind did not know that I had missed the root of the problem.
So I started back eating the way I did before. Next thing I knew, I had gained the weight back, plus more!
Can you relate?
If you are like I was, you are familiar with diets intimately: lose weight, gain it back. Lose weight, gain back even more.
The permanent solution for weight problems is not to go on another diet.
You need to start with asking yourself a powerful question.
Here is a hint: It is in the way God Himself operates!
Put Off the Old Man
When John’s disciples asked Jesus why His disciples did not practice some habits they and the Pharisees did, Jesus gave them the following reason:
“No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”– Matthew 9:16-17
A motivational speaker once put it this way: ”Sometimes people want the new thing but want to hang on to the old stuff.”
Part of that ”old stuff” is how you see yourself.
- Do you see yourself through someone else’s critical lens?
- Do you see yourself through your own critical lens?
Ephesians 4:20-24 instructs us:
But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
To change, you need to let go of the old man (or old woman) and put on the new man (new woman) to become the person God created you to be.
God does the heavy lifting; we cooperate with Him!
A Powerful Question for Change
You may be thinking about your old self, “But I’ve been this way for years. I’ve tried to change, but I’ve failed over and over again.”
Within that statement is the reason you’ve failed.
You are allowing your old self to reign above who God says that you are now!
Your habits will always line up with the person you believe that you are.
So a powerful question to ask yourself when considering life goals is:
”Who do I need to become?”
For example, your story can’t be “I am a fat person trying to get this excess fat off” if you want permanent weight loss results.
That’s the story I was living as a 12 year old!
Because my identity was a ”fat person” then my habits naturally lined up with the person I believed that I was.
I repeated that same negative cycle for almost 30 years!
Like most people on diets, I focused on “What do I do?” rather than “Who do I need to become?”
But then, I gained a new identity. When I asked myself the ”Who do I need to become?” question, then the answer transformed into:
“I need to become a fit and healthy person.” I needed God’s help for that.
Put on the New Man
Consider Abraham, who began life with the name ‘Abram’. When the Lord told Abram that he would become ”the Father of many nations,” the Lord then changed Abram’s name to Abraham, which means ”Father of a multitude.”
Abraham may have laughed at God’s promise for a moment (see Genesis 17:17) but then the Bible records the faith that rose up in him:
And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
– Romans 4:19-22
Are you limiting God by memories of your old identity and past experience?
That was then; this is NOW.
The Most Powerful Question Ever
Ask the Lord to give you a new vision to see yourself as He sees you. Ask Him in prayer, ”Who is the person you created me to be?” Then be patient as God answers.
Listen to His voice as He leads you to make wiser choices to support your new identity, day-by-day.
The most powerful question Jesus has ever asked anyone is:
How would you answer that question?
Don’t limit God because your eyes are trained on yourself – your failures and your weaknesses.
Instead, magnify Him because He is bigger than your present circumstances, your weaknesses, or your past!
Philippians 1:6 exhorts us:
…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;’
God’s way is to change us from the inside-out, not outside in. When He begins a good work in us, He commits to completing it.
The question then becomes: Will we get out of our own way and let Him do it?