Another milestone in the zipper club (heart bypass) journal was the completion of my first week of cardiac rehab. Also another reality check on the lack of care for myself over the last several years of life. Following my decision to stop smoking on May 26th, 1997 (with the prompting of the Holy Spirit after a year of salvation) I traded my addiction to tobacco for an addiction to all things tasty. Gradually I blossomed into the well-rounded person I am today both spiritually and figuratively.
The criticism and judgement of sometimes well-meaning people (sometimes not) served me well in the department of discouragement and depression. The added pressure added extra weight. However, before anyone thinks I blame others for my blessed figure status, the answer is no. I’m the one who lost her will power. And so today as I read Ezekiel 18, I remembered my week at cardiac rehab. The struggles that I had as I pushed through each piece of equipment and so did not enjoy it. As I tried to clean up the mess I had created over the past 21 years.
“Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?”
I believe Israel had gotten on God’s last nerve. They’d sinned, worshiped idols and used their children as sacrifices. What a mess they’d gotten themselves into because they’d gotten their eyes off the Lord and put them onto the things around them. I won’t throw any stones in that department either.
But the end result of a life without God, is always death. And no matter what I try to do in life without God as the central focus, it will surely die, because I am His, and He is mine and He expects to be a part of my life.
So how do I make sure that’s the case when living everyday life and making decisions that can change my future? And how many times have I gotten on God’s last nerve by not listening to Him.
The Word tells me.
Cast away from you, all your transgressions.
Easier said than done, right? Well, yes and no. We know that nothing is impossible for God! But we must first allow Him to have it. For me and my transgressions… there were many. The overeating and desire for food replaced an addition that had begun when I was a child. I smoked my first cigarette at 13 years of age. I had been addicted a very, very long time. But when God got involved the desire for that substance was replaced with a desire to be better for Him. But the cigarettes had also come with a stigma of non-acceptance by the world, both saved and unsaved people alike. So it wasn’t hard to not desire it. But everyone loved food! It was acceptable.
But the weight gain was not.
Add to that the fact that God had called me into ministry work and I was now standing before people every week, I became very weak emotionally.
I allowed the pressure of that judgment, whether real or not to get the best of me and I ate all the more because it made me feel better.
So what did I need to cast off?
Addiction. Self-Condemnation. Irresponsibility.
If Jesus had cast my sins as far as the east is from the west, I needed to cast my transgression to Him so He could take care of them. Because when I threw them down, they never failed to land out of arms reach and I would pick them up again
As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
…and make you a new heart and a new spirit:
So how do I do that?
I have to change somethings about my life. Beginning with my mindset. Your brain tells your heart when to beat.
In the course of the day, your heart will beat somewhere around 100,000 times and over a calendar year might beat up to 35 million times. Over the course of a lifetime then, your brain and your heart have to work together to engineer 3 billion heartbeats.
However there’s something in the heart called automaticity.
Meaning that the heart, even if it’s disconnected from the brain, will continue to beat at a set rate.
For me that shows that there’s a thought controlled side of the heart and a God controlled side of the heart. Praise God! He knows when to kick His side in.
But when it comes to decision making He leaves that to me for the most part. So I need to create within myself a new heart and spirit. Basically new desires and passions that align with God.
I can only do that if I focus on godly things casting those things that are unhealthy to Christ so that He can help me get them out of my life.
…for why will ye die,
Commitment was something that Israel didn’t have. They’d make and break promises as fast as the ink would dry on the paper.
I’m not any different. I yo yo diet, and I yo yo commit to the promises that I make God that “I’ll do better.”
We take commitment too lightly. Forgetting that God doesn’t take it lightly. Over time, God allowed many of His chosen people to be killed because they couldn’t keep their commitment to live for Him.
When I quit smoking, I partially did so because I believed God was going to allow me to die a dreadful death because of the effect of smoking. He warned me to quit… and so I did.
The transgression of poor health was not so easy for me to commit to overcome. I allowed emotions and lack of self-respect to play the major role in controlling my diet. Scroll forward to May of 2018, three heart attacks, open heart surgery and now cardia rehab and I am beginning to think I should have listened sooner.
Duh. I’m a Slow learner. Israel and I have a lot in common. Most of all, and Hallelujah, we have God’s grace in common.
But eventually God’s patience runs thin and we get on God’s last nerve. Before that happens, it would be much better to give those transgressions to Jesus. Everyone has them, and their personal to them.
There’s a 3 step plan for it. Cast. Create. Commit.
God’s final verse in chapter 18 was For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.
There is life in Christ! And a much better, more rewarding life. Live it! And live it well.