I'm down 23 lbs. Aaron... He's down 54. Pretty incredible, huh? Yeah... I'd be fooling if I acted like I wasn't super proud of this accomplishment. It's been rough! Hitting it hard at the gym, chugging down the water, and changing the diet plan.
It was the norm to pack a sandwich, some chips, a Little Debbie snack, sweet tea or a can of soda. If we weren't really digging the ham and cheese (and tons of mayo), I'd throw in some pizza rolls or bagel bites. Of course, a couple times a week, it just felt necessary to go out for a juicy burger and fries. Needless to say, sticking to veggies and baked chicken... Well, you know. Yes, it's paid off immensely. No, I wouldn't go back to processed foods and pounds of preservatives and hidden chemicals. Still, sometimes, I just want McDonald's!
That's how I was feeling today. The classic PB&J, the delicious goodness that it is, just wasn't cutting it for me. I wanted beef. I wanted substance. I wanted something a little more satisfying. So, what did I do? I decided to go to Toast on Market and get an absolutely scrumptious California Club. The roasted turkey and fresh avocado smothered in their very own aioli sauce... You just can't match that, PB&J! It was like heaven nestled between two pieces of warm, melt-in-your-mouth, ciabatta bread.
Yep. I'm a foodie. I can't do the same dish everyday.
And with that comment, I shall move on to deeper things.
How is it that we are so quick to give in to the wants of our appetites and needs of our flesh, yet we forever stay hungry for the things of God? I know that there will always be more of Him to experience, so we should never stop hungering for new things, but I'm referring to the state of hunger we remain in for long periods of time. We never go to the table to fill up, if you will. We eat that PB&J every single day for every single meal. No, we don't enjoy it. Yes, we're burnt out. Our spiritual man is screaming out for some nutrition, but we don't take the time to place the order. Why do we do this?
I'm not just pointing fingers, believe me. I'm asking myself these same questions. We do our same devotions, we pray over the same needs, we attend church on Sunday... but aren't we hungry for more? I am! When will we decide we don't want to eat that sandwich anymore? Will we ever take advantage of the many different things He's placed at our fingertips? Are we willing to put a little more effort into what provides us the strength and energy we need to be healthy?
In light of the recent issues that have swept across our nation, I am broken. I am compelled to do something. There is an urgency inside me that I can't even begin to explain, and I refuse to put out. I've realized that whatever we were "eating" before... It wasn't enough. The "entrees" we were offering those around us, they weren't filling them up. They were hungry... but we couldn't feed them what they needed, because we weren't completely satisfied with it ourselves. Why? Because we settled for the easy, convenient, affordable PB&J day after day! There's so much more than that!
I want to dig so deep into the things of God that I get served something different every day. I want to be smothered in satisfaction and filled to the brim. Every morning His mercies are new... so why do we live on the leftovers? I refuse to do that anymore! He's got too much in store for me to reach for the easy. Sure, it may cost more to get something better, but anything with quality usually requires a little more. It's probably going to take a little more of my time, but just like this weight loss journey... it will be well worth it!
I've just been convicted today. Everything around us is "progressing," because the people of God aren't allowing Him to. We have to discover Who Jesus really was and is. How did He act? How did He respond? In what way did He handle controversial issues? Push your plate back... Your PB&J hasn't worked, remember? We have to change what we're feeding ourselves.
I've seen so many harsh words and condemning judgments splattered all over social media... from all sides. There's been an uproar of opinions and beliefs, a vast amount of debating on what is constitutionally right vs biblically sound, and a lot of mass chaos and confusion. What's been most obvious? The lack of and longing for love.
I have something deep to share right now... Hang on to your hats, folks. Non-Christians will not act like Christians. It's true. They will not share our values. They could care less about our beliefs. Our morals are nothing but a "conservative's way of life," in their eyes. They don't understand why we do what we do, and they don't uphold God's Word as THE authority like we do. Therefore, we cannot throw scriptures at them and expect them to feel guilty. We should not act like they're ignorant for not seeing things like we do. We can't get angry at them for disagreeing with us. People have been trying this tactic for years, and where has it gotten us?
No, you can't blame everything on the devil, and you can't push it all off on "Well, we're just in the last days." Both may have a factor, but that does not in any way change your calling. We were commanded to "Go, into all the world and preach the Gospel." What is the Gospel? The dictionary defines is as "glad tidings; especially concerning salvation... as announced to the world by Christ." The Gospel is not our doctrine. It is not our list of do's and don'ts. It is GLAD tidings... concerning salvation... by Christ! HE is what saves. We have to get that in our heads and hearts! Quit spending so much time talking about everything else. Stop pointing out everyone's wrongs. Without Him... we ALL are! In no way am I saying that we need to stop preaching against sin or keep silent what God commands. I'm just saying, I did not change my life because I was scared or because I felt guilty. I wanted Jesus because I heard that He loved me even though I had problems, and He was going to help me overcome them.
In case you're still not understanding what I'm trying to say, think about this:
A man that does not love his wife will not care to cheat on her. There will be no guilt or remorse. There will probably not even be any trying to hide it. But, a man that adores his wife and has committed himself to her would not think twice about doing such a thing. Right? Point being, if someone hasn't fallen in love with Christ, they will not want to dedicate their lifestyle or behavior to Him. You have to show them how easy and wonderful it is to love Him and He will take care of what they need.
When HE is lifted up, what did He say He'd do? Draw all men to Him.
Maybe we're spending too much time putting others down... because our country is further away from Him than ever before.
Take a look inside and ask yourself if your words and behavior are really reflecting His life. Jesus didn't focus His attention on what He did or didn't do. He didn't have to. He was perfect. When we get saved, He lives in us, so we shouldn't have to put all of our energy into constantly "perfecting" ourselves. That work was completed through Him on the cross. We need to follow His example by reaching out to the ones others have rejected. THAT is who my Jesus is. We need to show them love and acceptance as a soul that He loves. Only then will they want to put down the sin.
I've decided, my diet is changing. No more settling. PB&J isn't satisfying. I'm not supposed to live on this same thing for the rest of my life. My appetite craves more. Why? Because there is more. We just have to get it. So, I am. And, I hope you do, too. We need to do this together. God's got too much more for us.
God's got too much for America.