Each year hundreds of thousands of people try to diet. People seek to modify what they eat, how they look and feel about themselves. People diet seeking transformation. Some are trying to transform their self-esteem, that if they lost some weight they would feel more confident. Some want to diet to transform their health. They have been to far too many doctor’s appointments where they were scolded by the doctor and warned of negative effects of their current health. But at the core when people diet they are seeking transformation and change, and that comes at a cost. One struggle that comes with dieting though is that you cannot just remove a bad habit (eating unhealthy, smoking, etc) from your life. There will be a void left that needs to be filled, a void that will fill up with something, and too often people backslide after a short time to the bad habits they were seeking to lose. A central part that most diets leave out is the importance of replacing your bad habits with meaningful good habits. Out of that culture the show Biggest Loser was created. Each season the show invites a number of dangerously overweight individuals to change their lives through losing weight and adopting healthy habits for physical, emotional, and spiritual health. But a central part of the show is that for them to gain a better life, and to see transformation, they have to lose, to lose weight, bad habits, and bad attitudes.
In Matthew 16 Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25, ESV) So part of becoming a follower of Jesus is losing. Losing habits, behaviors, attitudes and more so that we can be used by God. To be transformed by God, we will experience change and loss, but as with any diet it is not just losing that matters, but what you fill those voids with. Throughout scripture God does not just tell us to lose, or to avoid, but asks for us to adopt different behaviors, different attitudes, and a different lifestyle. For the next three weeks we are going to look at a number of things that we are called to lose as we seek to become followers of Jesus, things that we are called to give up so that God can transform our lives, but also new things that we are called to embody as Christians. We are going to look at the transformation that God calls us to in scripture, both through losing, and changing.
September 12th- Lose Fear – 1 Corinthians 5:6-13, Matthew 7:1-5
September 19th- Lose Selfishness- Psalm 119: 9-24
September 26th- Lose Doing it Alone- Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, Galatians 5:22-6:5
So what is it in your life that you need to lose so that you can grow? As we seek to continue growing in our relationship with God, and to grow closer to Jesus, are we willing and ready to change, to lose, so that we can gain and grow? Are we ready to be the biggest loser as Jesus suggests in Matthew 16?