Too often too many people find themselves falling off the ‘diet wagon’.  When asked why people have a hard time staying on their diets, many nutritionists and dietitians would agree.  Most people have a difficult time staying on a diet because of how they understand the changes in the foods they eat.  There are two basic misunderstandings that can trip us up. 

The first one has to do with our access to certain kinds of food.  If we begin a diet without letting go of the idea that we can eat any food at any time, then a diet merely becomes a system of withholding food.  Instead of thinking of a diet as withholding certain foods, maybe we should finally admit that certain kinds of foods are just not good for us.  The second belief has to do with the overall idea of a what we’re doing when going on a diet.  We call it a diet because it has a starting and a stopping point.  Instead of thinking “diet”, perhaps we should think of food changes as if we’re making a life long, lifestyle change for our benefit and the benefit of those we love.  This way, we’re not hopping on and off anything, rather making a change for good simply because it’s good. 

Perhaps the same could be said for those who have become born-again Christians.  It is easy to come to the Lord without counting the cost.  There is definitely a cost in becoming a Christian.  But once we count the cost, too many tend to look at this new life much like a diet instead of a life long, ‘lifestyle’ change.  Christianity isn’t a diet.  Christ isn’t asking us to withhold certain actions and attitudes as if we’re some kind of hero to God for giving up our sinfulness.  “Look God,” we sometimes think.  “Look at all I’m giving up for You!.”  Really?  If we’re honest God isn’t asking us to give up anything of value.  All that we have before coming to Christ is temporal and fleshly.  All of it will burn.  If we are truly willing to allow the Holy Spirit to open our eyes, all that we held so tightly to- the world, the flesh, and the devil, was only keeping us from our blessed Redeemer.  And again, it will all perish some day.  To the Christian, we were not holding onto anything of ‘nutritional’ value, rather bags of rotten potatoes, rancid meat, and moldy bread at best.   We are not called to enter into some kind of straight-laced, narrow-minded way of living that we have to white knuckle through, gritting our teeth until one day we finally get to Heaven.  That isn’t Christianity, that’s just religion.  Jesus said, “Be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

Christianity should not be like a diet because it does not start and stop when we feel like it, giving ourselves permission to go back to our old ways of ‘eating’.  Rather, we are called to reckon ourselves dead that we might fully live in Christ.  This new life is eternal and has no stopping point.  May we beware of putting our relationship with Christ into compartments, only allowing our Lord access at certain places and times.  May Jesus truly be our All in All, no matter the cost because we know that any cost on our end is nothing compared to the cost He already paid to redeem this rotten sinner from the chains of the flesh.  God is good all the time.  Nothing He asks us to do is for anything but the eternal good for both us and those we love.  

Let us not think we are dieting from this world, rather died from it, letting Christ renew our minds daily in His Word so that we may grow in Him, bearing much eternal fruit to feed to those who are starving around us.

“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Romans 6:11-14