March-April Union Life Magazine 1895|
Q. I have always tended to be overweight. It is not a gland or health problem; I know it is accentuated by frustration and times of pressure in my life. If self-effort and personal discipline is not the answer, what is? If you want to change a bad habit, whether it is over-eating, or laziness, or smoking, or nail-biting, what should a person do?
A. HOW DOES ONE change a bad habit? Don’t try. But much more radical than that, change your whole negative outlook on yourself. Instead of seeing yourself as a poor, weak human with some distressing habits (over-eating, smoking, or what not), see and delight in yourself as God sees and delights in you—as His precious possession, as His dwelling place, as His holy temple.
You should admit to yourself and to Him that there are certain things you like and to which you are partial. Admit that you are tempted to feel guilty about doing those things, and that it might be better if you were rid of them. But also honestly admit that a main reason for wanting to be rid of them is because they hurt your own self-esteem or reputation in the eyes of others.
Then tell the Lord that since you like them, you will go on with them; it’s no good trying to stop doing them, and you are not going to bother about it. But being His, if He wants you to stop them, then you take the position of faith that He will do it in His own way and in His own time. Meanwhile you are free, refusing the guilt or condemnation of others. You continue to “love God and do as you please!” And God does have His ways of doing things!
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