So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” — Hebrews 3:7-8a
Thought for the Day: I can’t keep driving through the dangerous intersection of reality and think it won’t ever affect me.
My pastor made a statement recently we’ve all heard: Over 50 percent of marriages are ending in divorce today. But then he added a question that really made me think. “If you knew there was an intersection where 50 percent of the people who drove through it were killed, wouldn’t you find a different route home?”
I sat back. This question snagged on the edge of my mind and lingered. Yes, certainly it applies to the marriage statistic, but it applies to my food issues as well.
Here are the statistics (Source: Dr. Ski Chilton)
- Current figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put the prevalence of obesity among adults at about 66 percent.
- Inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, asthma, allergies, depression, and Alzheimer’s are increasing at dramatic rates.
- Alarming trends in obesity and inflammatory diseases are significant contributors to our nation’s escalating health care costs. Health care accounts for $1 in every $6 spent in the United States.
- Nearly 24 million Americans — 8 percent of the population — have diabetes, according to statistics released by the CDC in 2008. Even more shocking have been the data from individual states. In 1991, only nine states had diabetes rates of 7 to 8 percent, with none higher. By 2001, 43 states had diabetes rates of at least 7 to 8 percent, with Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida exceeding 10 percent. Estimates are that by 2025, the number of Americans with the disease will be close to 50 million.
- Arthritis and joint disease affect 43 million people in the United States, almost 20 percent of the population. This number is expected to surpass 60 million by 2020
So, here’s where I had to stop denying issues and start paying attention to the dangerous intersection between my choices and my health. My medical chart was labeled “obese.” I know — I was shocked that only thirty pounds overweight had pushed me into the obese category. But what’s important to remember is I had a high body fat to lean tissue ratio. I knew my poor food choices were only making things worse. My body felt the pain of carrying too much weight. And my defeated spirit felt the weight of carrying too much pain. Yet, for years, I refused to find another way. A healthy way. A better way home.
“So, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts’” Hebrews 3:7–8a. This verse refers to the Old Testament story of the Israelites becoming hard-hearted by disobeying God and refusing to conquer the Promised Land. The Greek word for “hear” in this verse is akouoa (ak-oo´-o), meaning “to attend to, consider what is or has been said.” The Greek word for “harden” is skleruno (sklay-roo´-no), meaning “to become obstinate or stubborn.”
It sure does make me stop and consider my own refusals to conquer my issues and embrace a better, healthier future. I can’t be stubborn and refuse to attend to and consider all that I know God has been speaking to me about this issue.
I can’t ignore the statistics. I can’t keep driving through the dangerous intersection of reality and think it won’t ever affect me. Truly, with this issue ignorance is anything but bliss. And sometimes it’s just good to face the gut-honest reality.
I know this isn’t the most fun devotion… So keep reading in Hebrews until you reach this hopeful promise:
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet He did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. — Hebrews 4:15-16
It’s so comforting to know Jesus felt what I sometimes feel — He can empathize with me. And because He does, I can face my issues and not feel so alone. I can be gut-honest with myself and with Jesus and say, “Help me find a better route home.”
Dear Lord, I can’t ignore the statistics any longer. Reveal to me the hope that can only come from You. I need Your hope to get through today. I need to step up and consider the facts. I long to pursue a healthier lifestyle — both physically and spiritually. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Excerpted with permission from Made to Crave Devotional by Lysa Terkeurst, copyright Zondervan.
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Lysa’s right. It’s not fun. Honestly acknowledging the statistics and addressing our hardness of heart in not listening to the Holy Spirit about our health & weight issues is gut-wrenching! We need the Lord’s hope and help to build a healthier lifestyle! How about you? Are you ready to find a better way home? Please share with us your thoughts, comments, and prayer requests on our blog. We would love to hear from you!