Why You Can’t Lose Weight (part two): Insights from the Rich Young Ruler

As I was reflecting on content for today’s post, the Lord brought to mind the story of the rich young ruler found in Luke 18, as there are many similarities between his story and our troubled relationship with food and weight. In the story, the young ruler finds Jesus and asks him what he must do to deserve eternal life. Jesus replies by instructing the man to sell everything he owns and give it all away to the poor. He reports that by doing that, the man will have riches in heaven and he will be able to come and follow Jesus. Unfortunately, Jesus’words were not a welcome message to the ruler’s ears, as it was quite unexpected and disappointing. The ruler was clinging tight to his riches, and was unwilling to let them go for the sake of gaining something in Christ.

While Jesus and the young man are talking about riches, I wonder if the model might be applied to the thing that many recurrent weight strugglers love more than anything: food. For many of us, we have prayed and sought the Lord about how we might be able to change and lose this weight permanently. Unfortunately, part of the message we receive back from Christ requires us to surrender something that we didn’t realize would be part of the bargain. The fact losing weight often requires us to change our relationship with food is often unwelcome news, despite the fact that it makes sense. Oh, sure – we realize that things have to change, and we might even verbally admit that things must be different. However, when we are required to make a sacrifice or surrender behavior or a lifestyle that has been partly beneficial, our tune changes and we retract from our statement.

I remember when I was first asking God to help me lose weight. From as early as I can remember, some of his first messages were asking me to eat less and follow my hunger versus my emotions. To be honest, that just sounded too hard and I was disappointed and turned away, just like the rich young ruler. Many years went by and there were no positive changes with my weight. It was not until I decided to be obedient and surrender exactly what God asked (no more gluttony) that I finally found the road to freedom.

In order for you to be free from your burdens with weight, body image, and troubled relationships with food, you’re going to have to do exactly what the Lord requires of you when he answers your prayers. While I do not know exactly what he will call you to do, I do know that it is likely that he will ask you to give up your little god (food) in order to more fully know the God who has more power than you can even imagine.

As the chapter ends, Jesus tells his disciples that no one who has "sacrificed home, spouse, brothers and sisters, parents, children – whatever – will lose out. It will come back multiplied many times over in your lifetime. And the bonus of eternal life (Luke 18; The Message)." Friends, we must believe that whatever the Lord requires of us and our desire to follow him is worth it. The sacrifice is worth it. Letting go of your "earthly loves" is part of the plan used in order to transform you into a vessel fit for the kingdom and eternal life. We must let go in order to receive. The Lord is waiting on you.

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