The Abundant Life

abundant
Image borrowed from Sparkpeople.com

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 (NASB)

Jesus came so that you and I may have life, and have it abundantly. I suspect that to understand exactly what Jesus meant by this statement would take years of study. To properly understand, we would have to put His words in the proper context … to have life in abundance would mean to live our lives in the manner prescribed by Scripture, to love others to the fullest, and to love our God with all our might, with all our souls, and with all our strength. We would have to understand that living life in abundance would impact us eternally as well as in the here and now. There’s no doubt no one knew how to live life better, and more abundantly, than Jesus Christ Himself. He stands as the ultimate example of how we should live our lives.

I certainly haven’t mastered the intricacies of living the abundant life, but I have begun to understand that far too often I allow the sin in my life to sabotage it. For all I don’t understand about living life in abundance, I am an expert in screwing my life up! Years of neglect while I pursued my academic interests left me me tired, overweight, and out of shape. In two short years I was forced to have my gallbladder removed, was placed placed on high blood pressure medicine, and learned I was diabetic. To use the words of John “The Penguin” Bingham, I was living a life of sedentary confinement. Such a life is anything but abundant.

So I am pursuing changes. Bingham calls it adult onset athleticism. I simply think of it as pursuing life in abundance. I’ve started a walking program to become more active, I eat less and move more, and I’ve lost about seventy pounds (with more to lose). What I’m doing isn’t simply about diet and exercise. I’m not moving more and eating less simply to lose weight. It is all part of a grander scheme to pursue life in abundance.

What I’ve come to realize is that whatever the abundant life is, it isn’t sitting in front of the television eating pizza and Doritos, gaining weight, and withdrawing from the world. I’ve gone on diets for less noble reasons in the past and I have failed every single time to keep to weight off. The life I’m pursuing now isn’t about diet or even about fitness … it’s about equipping myself to live the life God has planned for me.

You can follow my quest to lose weight and become more fit on my Tumblr blog that compliments this one. But, if you do, please remember it’s not about diet, exercise, or fitness. It’s about pursuing and adapting a new lifestyle. It is about living an abundant life!

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Bringing Gluttony into the Light

gluttony
Pic Found on Pinterest

Over the past couple of years I have slowly lost some weight. The weight has finally started to add up to the point that people are noticing and I keep getting asked how much weight I’ve lost. Well, I really didn’t know because I hadn’t kept track. I was trying to make changes in my diet for health purposes. I had to have my gallbladder taken out a couple of years ago and last year I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. All of this, including high blood pressure, finally prompted me to make some changes. Well … I went through some old medical records to find out what I actually weighed at different points over the last year or so, plus I’ve been doing Weight Watchers with my wife for the past month. So I finally have an answer when someone asks me how much weight I’ve lost.

55 pounds.

I’ve got quite a ways to go before I get down to my goal weight, but I don’t really think just in terms of weight loss. I try to focus more on my overall health and fitness. Plus, I see it all as a way to honor God. I have a problem with eating too much food and that leads to Gluttony. Gluttony is a sin we Christians like to ignore. It is much easier to focus on those sins we don’t entertain in our own lives. If we admit that Gluttony is a sin then we might have to make some changes in our lives … and that’s brings our faith just a little too close for comfort!

The Bible clearly teaches Gluttony is a sin. Proverbs 23:20-21 warns us, “Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags. Proverbs 28:7 adds, “He who keeps the law is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father.” Proverbs 23:2 figuratively declares, “Put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.”

Scripture advocates moderation and temperance. Unfortunately, gluttony reveals a problem with over-indulgence and control. And this presents me with a quandary. I love to eat! Pizza is one of my favorite things in this world. But I am on staff in my local church. I teach Bible Study and am sometimes afforded the opportunity to preach. I have often said that when our lifestyle doesn’t line up with Scripture we are presented with a choice. The onus to change is on us because God’s Word remains constant. Unfortunately, my weight and my gluttony didn’t line up with God’s Word … and I had to make a choice. I could practice what I preach or I could continue to wallow in hypocrisy.

I’ve decided to change.

It isn’t easy … and I don’t consider what I’m doing as a diet. If I want to eat pizza, I’ll eat it and thank God for it … however, I’ll have to eat it in a way that fits into the lifestyle I’m pursuing. I want to honor God with my life. I’m less concerning with my goal weight than I am with living in the manner prescribed by God. My weight will figure itself out as I make these changes.

I know from experience, however, how easy it is to fall off the fitness wagon and into my old ways. So, to hold myself accountable I have created a Weight Loss Blog/Journal. You can follow my pursuit of fitness at the below web address:

Finding Clark

I won’t be posting long essays there. It’s a Tumblr blog, which is new to me, but it works perfectly for pictures and brief posts about my weight loss exploits. Plus, I don’t have to bore my readers here with stories about what I had for dinner! Feel free to follow along as I try to change my lifestyle. And if you are tempted to over indulge and need to lose a few pounds yourself, feel free to join me!

 

Weekly Weigh In: 4/12/15

scaleIf you read any of my twitter posts, you’ll know that I’ve been doing weight watchers for the last few weeks. In an attempt to make myself more accountable, I’m going to start tracking my weekly Weight Watchers weigh-ins here … both good and bad. I’m also going to start writing every once in awhile about weight-loss in general. Not because I’m some kind of expert mind you, but weight-loss, and gain, has occupied a great deal of my time, energy, and thoughts lately. So, I need an outlet.

Normally, I weigh in on Tuesdays, but other commitments necessitated my wife and I go on Saturday this week. As a result, we were actually weighing in for a little more than week, so I had high expectations for a big drop and was expecting somewhere in the range of three pounds.

I didn’t quite get it.

However, I did lose 1.6 pounds. This puts me at a 20 pound loss for the month and one day I’ve been doing weight watchers (and about 66 pounds over the last couple of years). That was the good part of the weigh-in and meeting Saturday. The bad? It seems I broke one the toes on my right foot. Like many people, I weigh-in in my sock feet. I don’t have a clue how much my shoes weigh, but I’m not taking credit for it. Well, clumsy me accidentally kicked a chair with my shoes off. Result, broken toe! It hurts like the dickens, but it could be worse I suppose.

Now I have to decide if I want to go back to Tuesdays for my weigh-in day or stick with Saturday. I’m not sure which direction I’ll go, but I’ll post the results here when I do!