Taking Authority Over Your Flesh

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
Romans 6:12

Since this is a week when you’re thinking about New Year’s resolutions, I want to go ahead and hit hard on the subject of losing those extra pounds you might think about all the time!

Have you stood in front of the mirror and lamented about the double chin that has appeared under your face in the past few years? Perhaps you spend time each morning despairing over the roll around your waist that bulges over your belt. Instead of enjoying your clothes as you once did, you may find yourself turning this way and that way as you look in the mirror to see if the bulge shows through your clothes. Or you may be one who has shifted to wearing dark colors because you’re trying to hide your real size. How many times have you asked your spouse or someone else whether you look too fat in the outfit you’re wearing?

It is amazing how long human beings will tolerate something before they finally decide to take action. I can personally vouch for what I am writing because I struggled with my weight for many years. Day after day, I’d look in the mirror, feel disgusted with myself, and then ask Denise how I looked — expecting her to confirm how terrible I felt about my appearance. When I got out of bed in the mornings, I’d run to the bathroom to step on the scales to see if I was bigger or smaller than the day before.

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This fixation on weight completely controlled me. I felt trapped. Instead of exercising restraint, I felt hopeless to overcome. So when it was time to eat, I’d eat anything I wanted, which resulted in gaining more weight and feeling even more down in the dumps about my physical appearance. The truth is, I was in a prison in this area of my weight, like so many others are in today, and I didn’t know how to get out.

Instead of accepting responsibility for my condition, I’d blame my weight gain on pastors who wanted to take me out to eat and enjoy a time of fellowship after evening church services. Night after night, I would find myself eating in restaurants late in the evening. But instead of exercising self-control, I’d order hamburgers with extra mayonnaise, French fries with “tons” of ketchup, and a large-size Coke, topped off with a dessert — and then I’d head to my hotel to go to bed. Then before I fell asleep, I’d mentally beat myself up for eating so badly and would swear before God that I was going to start doing better and losing weight the next day.

But time after time and year after year, I kept struggling with my weight. It was up and down, up and down! And when people would see me for the first time in a few years, I’d think they were looking me over to see if I was bigger or smaller than the last time they had seen me. It was a tormenting thought that deeply bothered me.

I was totally disgusted with myself regarding this area of my life. I was exhausted with fretting about how my clothes fit or what others thought of my size But at long last, I came to a place where I decided enough was enough!

The big change in me started one day as I was looking in the mirror and thinking about how terrible I looked and how food had been ruling my life. Suddenly the Holy Spirit quickened Romans 6:12 to my heart: “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”

It was like a bolt of divine revelation shot through me — and in that split second, I knew that my allowing food to control me and to lord itself over my life was a sin. Until that day, I had called it a personal problem, a hang-up, and a struggle. But in that moment, I saw it as God saw it. It was much more than a personal hang-up — it was sin calling the shots in my life. The day I recognized this truth was a landmark day in my spiritual walk, for I realized God was calling me to repent and to change. He didn’t want me to feel badly about myself — but, most importantly, He didn’t want anything ruling my life other than the Lord Jesus Christ. That day I repented — and when I did, those wrong eating habits immediately began to lose lordship over my life.

I’m so thankful the Holy Spirit reminded me of Romans 6:12, where it says, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof,” the word “reign” is the Greek word basileuo, which is the very old Greek word for a king or one who rules supreme. It is the picture of a mighty ruler who makes all the decisions, calls all the shots, and controls and completely governs his subjects. This verse described my situation well, for I was definitely being ruled by food. Even though I loved Jesus with all my heart, it was simply a fact that He was not Lord over my eating habits!

But in Romans 6:12, God tells us, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body.…” Notice it says, “Let not.…” The Greek tense used for “Let not” is an authoritative prohibition ordering us to put an end to something immediately. A correct interpretive translation could read, “I want you to stop this and stop it right now!”

When I understood that God was saying, “Stop it and stop it right now,I knew I had the power to change my behavior. God wouldn’t tell me to stop something if I didn’t have the power to stop it. Therefore, He was making me responsible to do something about food ruling as a king in my life. It was time for me to quit complaining, moaning, fretting, and condemning myself about how I looked and to finally take action.

Instead of listening to the commands of my flesh to overeat and to eat the wrong types of food, it was time for my flesh to listen to me! It was up to me to make a firm, heartfelt decision to repent from this wrong lordship in my life and allow Jesus to step back on the throne of my life to rule my flesh in the area of food. As I did my part, the Holy Spirit would rise up inside me, and His grace would enable me to make sure this sin never ruled me or called the shots in my life again!

How about you? Does this discussion sound personally familiar to you? If it does, I’m wondering if you are weary of feeling badly about yourself or being constantly fixated on your weight. If so, it’s time to ask yourself, Am I ready to put an end to the way food has ruled me physically and emotionally?

Yes, that’s me! I’m ready for a real change!” If that’s your answer, today Jesus wants to assume His position over your appetite and physique. He wants to be Lord in this area of your life. If you’ll confess that you’ve allowed this sin to rule your flesh — and then genuinely repent of it — I assure you that the Holy Spirit will help you carry out that decision. And as Jesus takes control, it won’t be long until your body will begin to return to its God-ordained size and you’ll begin to feel good about yourself again. It makes such a huge difference in our lives when we allow Jesus to rule our mortal flesh!

I shared my personal experience with you today because I know many people are making New Year’s resolutions at this time of year about losing weight. Jesus can give you the same victory He has given to so many others. All it takes is a decision to turn from what you have been doing and let Jesus be Lord in this area of your life. You may have to follow a diet or learn to eat the right kinds of foods, but it all starts with a decision.

Just determine today that you are going to willingly obey, step by step, whatever Jesus asks you to do to get your appetite and your physical condition back under His control. If you’ll make that heartfelt, sincere, and firm decision today, the Holy Spirit will empower you to eat right and to take the right steps on the road to a healthier lifestyle in your walk with God!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY


Father, today I repent for allowing food to control so much of my life. It really has affected me in so many ways — in my thinking, my self-image, my appearance, and even my self-respect. I have lived in condemnation for too long, and I’m ready for a real change in my life. Forgive me for tolerating gluttony and calling it everything else except sin. Today I confess that I have permitted sin to rule in my mortal flesh, and I ask You to forgive me and cleanse me from this unrighteousness. Holy Spirit, I am depending on You to help me walk free of this wrong habit and make Jesus the Lord of my appetite.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY


I boldly declare that Jesus is the Lord of my life and that nothing else may rule over me! My appetite for food does not lord itself over me any longer. Overeating is sin and a tool that Satan wants to use to hurt my health, my self-image, and my self-respect. I have lived in this mental prison long enough, and I refuse to live there any longer. From this day forward, I am giving Jesus the throne in every part of my life — and that includes my physical appetite and my eating habits!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Has it been a struggle for you to maintain a healthy weight over the years? What has been the main cause of weight gain in your life? How does being overweight affect your life and your self-image?
  2. Have you made New Year’s resolutions in the past to exercise control over your eating habits and to lose weight? Did you follow through on your past commit- ment? If not, why didn’t you? Is it possible that your appetite has been giving the ultimate orders in your life?
  3. Have you ever taken time to let the Holy Spirit show you that overeating is not just a personal hang-up or a health risk, but rather sin ruling in your mortal flesh? Have you ever seen it the way that God sees it? Don’t you think it would be wise to let the Holy Spirit open your eyes to help you see that your desire for food — more than Jesus — is ruling this area of your life? If you’ll let the Holy Spirit speak to your heart and if you’ll truly repent of letting your flesh rule in this area, Jesus will take His place on the throne of your appetite and set you free from this prison you’ve been incarcerated in and held captive by for so long!