Everywhere I turn, I hear about failure. I totally understand. I felt like a failure when I weighed 430 pounds. I mean all I had to do was look down and not be able to see my feet and feel like a failure. I couldn’t believe there was anything about me that said, “You are a success,” but God did.
It doesn’t matter if you are 5 pounds overweight or 350 pounds overweight, there is this built-in cultural identity of smaller is better that makes us judge ourselves by our outward appearance.
God Looks at the Heart
God doesn’t see things that way, though. He doesn’t just by outward appearances. He looks only at your heart.1 David is a prime example. Even the great prophet Samuel didn’t expect God to anoint a smelly shepherd boy when there were so many other fine specimens before him. Tall, handsome, well-built young men.
God, though, saw something special in David. He knew his future because God stands outside of time. He’s a cosmic time traveler who can go to any point on our limited timeline and see what’s going on with us.
What Does He See?
If the Bible is true when it says, “People look at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart,”1 then whatever is in your heart the seat of your emotions is of utmost importance.
“The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the hear and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things”2
The Root of Things
The root of things is where everything happens. We know if the root is good, the plant will grow and thrive. If something like root rot creeps in, it causes plants to wither and die unless precautionary steps are taken to prevent it.
It’s interesting to me that most of these are environmental. Roots can’t set in water or they will rot. They have to have the right climate and be fed the right nutrients.
In humans we have to do the same. We can’t stay where we are and expect different results. If we are drowning in a sea of unhealthy food items, we will wither and yes, eventually die. If we don’t have the right nutrients we can’t be all that God has called us to be.
Our roots have to be cleansed much like a gardener would use some kind of special chemical to kill root rot, we must use God’s special ingredient of forgiveness to cleanse our roots.
Our root rot appears as extra weight on our bodies. We have to learn how to dig out the root causes and apply God’s cleansing ingredients. All of this means
instead of focusing our attention at changing our outside symptoms as quickly as possible, we must start with our hearts. The motivations inside us have to change in order for our emotional roots to become healthy.
Change Begins Inside
He gives us the method to do this. Listen carefully to what He says. There are living keys in these next verses. Mainly He’s telling us we must fix our attention on Him, not on the earthly things we crave. When we do that He will begin to eradicate our root rot and we will be changed from the inside out.
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.
“Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”3
God Wants Your Success
God knows this. He wants your success even more than you do. Not because He doesn’t like the way you look, but because He wants you to be healthy to fulfill your future destiny. You know, that thing He placed inside of you that only you can do?
“We are God’s poetry, a recreated people who will fulfill the destiny He has given each of us for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born He planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it.”4
I Want You To Be Successful
More than three years ago there was a Christian writer’s conference being offered near where I live. I was working on writing Sweet Grace at the time. I didn’t know the title, I only knew God had placed it on my heart to write about how I had lost 250 pounds.
As a journalist by trade, I figured I knew everything about how to write the book, so I dismissed several good friends who told me I needed to go to this conference with a woman I’d never heard of.
One day after yet another friend had told me God told her I should go, I was doing my daily exercise jogging in the water when God spoke to me so clearly I looked around to see if anyone else heard.
He said, “What if I planned a writer’s conference 10 miles from where you live and you aren’t going because of pride.” I wasn’t even praying or thinking about the conference, but right then I decided no matter what the cost, and it was significant, I was going.
I did and the result was two months later I completed manuscript for Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds. This book is now the #1 Christian Weight Loss Memoir on Amazon all because I listened to what God said.
I also made an amazing new friend and mentor, Wendy K. Walters, who has been instrumental in my life on a number of fronts. Yes, I have mentors too. We all need people in our lives who believe we can be successful on many different fronts.
What Has God Planned for You
What has God planned for you? My life is an open book, literally. I share how God led me using key principles I have discovered necessary to go on a total transformation journey.
See, that’s what we need to do. We don’t need another diet. We’ve been on way too many. We need His plan, His guidance, His principles to get us out of bondage to the foods we crave.
P.S. Remember, God wants your success even more than you do.
1 1 Samuel 16:7 NLT
2 Jeremiah 17:9-10 MSG
3Romans 12:1-2 MSG
4Ephesians 2:10 TPT
Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss author, coach, podcaster, and speaker, who has lost 250 pounds and kept it off since 2013. Her books include: “Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God’s Favor,” “Sweet Grace Study Guide,” “Sweet Victory: Winning the Battle,” “Sweet Surrender: Breaking Strongholds,” “Sweet Journey to Transformation: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Live Healthy”, “Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God’s Help,” “Sweet Freedom Study Guide,” “Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation,” “Sweet Hunger: Developing an Appetite for God,” and “Sweet Excuses: Stop Lying to Yourself & Start Losing Weight.” She also offers Overcomers Christian Weight Loss Academy and VIP intensive coaching. Don’t miss her weekly podcast, Sweet Grace for Your Journey, where she shares tips from her personal journey of losing weight and discovering healthy living. Contact her at [email protected].