Struggling with weight? Here's some help.

Margaret Nathaniel is the Shepherdess Coordinator for the Southern Asia Division. Used with permission.

When we were sweet sixteen most of us were slim, trim and good-looking, but what hap­pened when we turned 40? We gained excess weight in odd places and didn't look as good as before. Right?

Well, this happened to me as, I presume, it does to most everyone else. And recently the scales have been bothering me for I have reached 132 lbs and though I have tried, I cannot seem to shed those 10 pounds 1 need to lose to make me feel comfortable.

At about the same time as I began worrying about my weight, my husband, who was also fighting against weight, went on a very strict diet and exercise program for a whole month and shed more than five pounds. He felt so much better. After a couple of months when he lost another five pounds he re­marked, "I feel so good these days. It was as if I was carrying a bag with 10 pounds of grain all this while and now I don't have that extra weight to deal with and it sure does feel good."

His statement made me think. Weights. What does the Bible have to say about weights? I looked in the concordance and found one verse that fit what 1 had on my mind. Hebrews 12:1 says, "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us.. ."

Along our Christian pathway we pick up weights—weights of fear, depression, doubt, failure, discouragement and discontentment. We need to lay them aside. How do we accomplish that? We use the same tools to rid ourselves of spiritual weights as we do to rid ourselves of physical weights. First is Diet. We need to enrich our spiritual diet by spending more time reading God's Holy Word.

Some good food is found in Psalm 103:3-5, 10, 13.

1.  "Who forgiveth all thine iniquities."His forgiveness includes all our iniquities and not just some.

2.  "Who healeth all thy diseases." Spurgeon, quoting on Psalm 103:3, says, "What is pride, but lunacy; what is anger, but a fever; what is avarice, but a dropsy; what is lust, but a leprosy; what is sloth, but a dead palsy. But the healing balm of God's love casts out fear, envy, lust, hate and every other evil infection." "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love, and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7).

3.  "Who redeemeth thy life from destruction." Sin destroys. God restores. Sin leads to the grave but God redeems our life from the grave. Desire of Ages, page 311 says, "The plan of redemption con­templates our complete recovery from the power of Satan."

4. "Who crowneth thee with loving-kindness." The Hebrew word for "to crown" may also mean "to surround" as in Psalm 103:4. You surround them with your favour as with a shield.

5.  "Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things." "O taste and see that the Lord is good." The Hebrew word here means to "try the flavor of, experience for yourself."

6.  "So that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's." Sin accelerates the aging process. "Grief, anxiety, dis­content, remorse, guilt, distrust, all tend to break down the life forces and to invite decay and death. God offers a fountain of youth at a bargain price." Isaiah 40:31 says, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength." Positive emotions in a vital connection with God actually stimulates the nerv­ous system and energizes the whole person.

7. "He hath not dealt with us after our sins." He carried the responsi­bility for our sins and carried the load and let us go free.

8. "Like as a father pitieth His children .."Jesus'parable of the prodigal son illustrates the restless spirit of the sinner who sees God as stern and severe and desires to escape His restrains. Only when the prodigal returned, broken in spirit, miserable in body, and totally disillusioned with the glamour of sin, did he begin to realize how much his father had cared for him all along.

The second step is to Exercise. This exercise comes only with faith. Exercising our faith in God comes when we commune with God in prayer more and more each day. Our faith grows stronger as we talk to Him and tell Him al] our joys and sorrows and allow Him to lead by letting go and letting Him have His way in us.

If these two points are con­sidered and put into practice, we will surely lose all the weights which hinder our spiritual growth. We will feel much lighter and be able to witness more for Him without getting tired with those extra weights that weigh us down.

May God help us during this New Year, 1996, to prosper and be in health, both physically and spiritually.