10/16/2013

Yo-Yo Spirituality

The term yo-yo dieting has been around for a long time.  As you probably know, yo-yo dieting is a common weight loss problem. The dieter follows the strict ABC or XYZ Diet for a period of time and then once the diet is over, proceeds to overeat and gain back the weight. The person usually gains a few more pounds to boot. Studies show that over time, if the person continues this pattern, it puts a strain on the heart and can lead to heart disease. The metabolism slows leading to weight gain and it can damage you emotionally. Yo-yo dieters may become depressed, feeling like failures. Success is always just out of reach.

It's an easy comparison to the Christian who is constantly dealing with the same sin or spiritual growth issue. We decide to finally have a daily quiet time and it will be 30 minutes every day. It starts off well until a missed alarm comes along and we don't have time that morning. Then, one of the kids is sick all night and we're dog tired. We decide to do it at night instead, but our favorite show is on TV. We try again the next day, but it all seems so difficult. Maybe 15 minutes would be better.Then slowly, but surely the quiet time is not part of the daily routine. There's simply no time for it. Maybe when things are less hectic.  It's the same with well-worn sins. We tackle them all at once, trying to clean up our lives, and things are pretty good. But it's so hard to maintain and we slip back into old habits. 

We're the person who wavers, who's tossed back and forth. We wish we could get on track and stay there. James 1:6 says: 

 Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.

We never make real progress because we're always making up lost ground. Instead of standing our ground and staying the course, we give up. It's too hard. Our loyalty is divided between ourselves and God. We forget that He will absolutely help us to grow, but we must remain, or abide with Him. 

Jesus told us in John 15:  Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing."

The process is a team effort. We need to cooperate by staying close to Jesus. Once the branch is detached from the vine, it's not going to grow, have fruit, or be very useful. We're not going to make big changes in two weeks or less as a rule. As the branches grow over the season and mature, so do our lives. We can make progress through small changes in behaviors, in attitudes. One step at a time, one day at a time--never giving up, but focusing on what is possible that day.  Failures along the way will happen, but we don't let those derail us. Stand your ground and go forward. Sick child in the night, no time for that quiet time you're committed to? Been there done that. You can pray while sorting the laundry. You can sing praise songs at the top of your lungs in the car. There are other ways to have a quiet time. Don't let circumstances stop you. I've been there and done that too. Yo-yo spirituality is an easy habit to fall into and not easy to get away from. It will damage us not only spiritually, but emotionally and physically too. Anxiety, depression, and health issues arise from having a divided mind. We all need a firm foundation to build our lives on.

A person who keeps the weight off over a long period of time has made a lifestyle change. They aren't on a diet because it's unsustainable. The growing Christian is making lifestyle changes - allowing Christ to change him or her from the inside out.


Paul told Timothy:

Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”  I Timothy 4:8 NLT

If you want a life full of the good things like peace, joy, love, patience, perseverance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control, and gentleness you must abide/live in the Vine. That one relationship trumps all others, keeps us focused on the right things, and produces some great fruit. That's a sure cure for yo-yo spirituality.








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Positively encouraging

10/16/2013

Yo-Yo Spirituality

The term yo-yo dieting has been around for a long time.  As you probably know, yo-yo dieting is a common weight loss problem. The dieter follows the strict ABC or XYZ Diet for a period of time and then once the diet is over, proceeds to overeat and gain back the weight. The person usually gains a few more pounds to boot. Studies show that over time, if the person continues this pattern, it puts a strain on the heart and can lead to heart disease. The metabolism slows leading to weight gain and it can damage you emotionally. Yo-yo dieters may become depressed, feeling like failures. Success is always just out of reach.

It's an easy comparison to the Christian who is constantly dealing with the same sin or spiritual growth issue. We decide to finally have a daily quiet time and it will be 30 minutes every day. It starts off well until a missed alarm comes along and we don't have time that morning. Then, one of the kids is sick all night and we're dog tired. We decide to do it at night instead, but our favorite show is on TV. We try again the next day, but it all seems so difficult. Maybe 15 minutes would be better.Then slowly, but surely the quiet time is not part of the daily routine. There's simply no time for it. Maybe when things are less hectic.  It's the same with well-worn sins. We tackle them all at once, trying to clean up our lives, and things are pretty good. But it's so hard to maintain and we slip back into old habits. 

We're the person who wavers, who's tossed back and forth. We wish we could get on track and stay there. James 1:6 says: 

 Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.

We never make real progress because we're always making up lost ground. Instead of standing our ground and staying the course, we give up. It's too hard. Our loyalty is divided between ourselves and God. We forget that He will absolutely help us to grow, but we must remain, or abide with Him. 

Jesus told us in John 15:  Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing."

The process is a team effort. We need to cooperate by staying close to Jesus. Once the branch is detached from the vine, it's not going to grow, have fruit, or be very useful. We're not going to make big changes in two weeks or less as a rule. As the branches grow over the season and mature, so do our lives. We can make progress through small changes in behaviors, in attitudes. One step at a time, one day at a time--never giving up, but focusing on what is possible that day.  Failures along the way will happen, but we don't let those derail us. Stand your ground and go forward. Sick child in the night, no time for that quiet time you're committed to? Been there done that. You can pray while sorting the laundry. You can sing praise songs at the top of your lungs in the car. There are other ways to have a quiet time. Don't let circumstances stop you. I've been there and done that too. Yo-yo spirituality is an easy habit to fall into and not easy to get away from. It will damage us not only spiritually, but emotionally and physically too. Anxiety, depression, and health issues arise from having a divided mind. We all need a firm foundation to build our lives on.

A person who keeps the weight off over a long period of time has made a lifestyle change. They aren't on a diet because it's unsustainable. The growing Christian is making lifestyle changes - allowing Christ to change him or her from the inside out.


Paul told Timothy:

Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”  I Timothy 4:8 NLT

If you want a life full of the good things like peace, joy, love, patience, perseverance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control, and gentleness you must abide/live in the Vine. That one relationship trumps all others, keeps us focused on the right things, and produces some great fruit. That's a sure cure for yo-yo spirituality.








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