By Marty Copeland
This is the time of year when many people are making New Year’s resolutions. And no doubt, a number of those resolutions center around losing weight.
That was me a few years ago, before God taught me how to get rid of excess weight. I would resolve to lose weight and keep it off, only to lose it and gain it back again. It became a real struggle.
But through prayer and the Word, God taught me some things. He showed me that He didn’t call me to be skinny and that my goals would have to line up with His Word before He could get involved in my weight loss. Until I got in agreement with His Word, I would continue to fight this war on weight in the arena of the flesh.
The Bible says in James 4:7 that we are to “submit [ourselves] therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from [us].” I was trying to resist the devil, and it wasn’t working because I had not submitted to God’s Word. God wanted to help me, but He couldn’t because I wasn’t playing by His rules—the rules that ensure victory.
I was relying on the strength of my flesh. No wonder I was failing!
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds)” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4).
In Galatians 6:8, the Scripture says, “he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption.” That word corruption means “a worsened state.” Every time I ate food to meet what was really a spiritual need, I was sowing to the flesh. And every time I sowed to the flesh, food was getting a stronger hold on my life. After years of dieting and sporadic cycles of overeating and fasting, followed by continual feelings of guilt and shame, I began to lose hope that I would ever be free. I had tried just about every diet known to man and either exercised excessively, or not at all.
Finally, as I continued in God’s Word, I began to know the truth about how good God is and how much He loved me. God wouldn’t create man to live in and fellowship with, give him an amazing body, provide food for nourishment, and not equip him to have self-control. Self-control is a fruit of the spirit.
God predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). Well, what is that image? It’s the same as the image of God.
Jesus said, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). In Galatians 5, God is described by nine characteristics: Love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, meekness, self-control, patience and faithfulness. So, a part of Jesus is self-control—which includes the ability to eat right and control how much you eat, the ability to exercise and, through faithfulness and endurance, be consistent.
I realized when you try to change something through natural means—like diet and exercise—and it doesn’t work, it’s not a natural problem. It’s a spiritual problem, and it requires a spiritual solution. If you’ve got a yoke or a burden, only God’s anointing will remove or destroy it.
I quit desiring to be thin and started desiring to be like Jesus. I began confessing that what God calls me to do, He anoints me to do. If He called me to be conformed to the image of His Son, then there is an anointing available to help me do that. When I got born again, the Holy Spirit produced the fruit of the spirit in me. These characteristics of God were born into my spirit at the new birth. I realized that God Himself lives in me, and that it wasn’t my job to produce self-control. He does that! It was my job to develop it. Just as we exercise our bodies to make them stronger, when we exercise our faith in God, His presence becomes stronger in us.
Instead of sowing to the flesh by eating food when I wasn’t really hungry, I began sowing to the spirit by exercising my faith in God’s ability to help me eat right and be faithful to exercise. I was no longer hopeless—putting faith in my own ability. My weapons were no longer carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds (2 Corinthians 10:4).
When thoughts of food would come when I wasn’t hungry, I would take those thoughts captive and cast them down with the Word. I’d say, “Self-control is in me and I have dominion over food. In the Name of Jesus, I sow to the spirit by yielding to self-control. I consider myself dead to the urge to overeat. I am not a slave to food, but God gave me dominion over food. I’m called to be like Jesus and what He calls me to do, He anoints me to do. I can do all things through Christ, the Anointed One and His Anointing, which strengthens me.”
Glory to God, today I am totally, 100 percent free and experiencing the joy that comes from total freedom. As a certified personal trainer, nutritional guidance counselor and minister of the gospel, God has given me the opportunity to see many others set free by the power of His Word. The same truths that freed me from the bondage of weight and from the weight of bondage are still operating in my life today.
As you start this new year, I encourage you to resolve to make it the most victorious year you’ve ever experienced. Allow God the opportunity to show Himself strong on your behalf by implementing the following steps into your daily life:
1. Make Jesus Lord over everything (1 John 5:1-4).
From your prayer time to your food choices, this will be the best decision you’ve ever made. It’s also a necessary decision in order to involve God’s Anointing—His burden-removing, yoke-destroying power—in achieving your goals.
2. Identify the problem.
Too many times we put our faith in carnal weapons—diets, pills, certain kinds of exercise—believing those things are going to solve our problems. As we fail to achieve our goals, our faith weakens and we begin to lose hope. We’ve simply been deceived into fighting spiritual warfare in the arena of the flesh instead of trusting God’s Word. Put your hope and faith in God because He is the way to lasting victory.
3. Spend time in the Word.
Often, we allow our mind, will, and emotions to talk us out of God’s best for our lives. The power of God’s Word is vital in empowering your spirit to dominate your flesh. When faced with temptation, a renewed mind will side with your spirit. Transformation comes only through renewing your mind to God’s Word.
4. Walk in the spirit (Galatians 5:16).
Even before you see a change with your natural eyes, continue sowing to the spirit. It’s seedtime and harvest—the more fruit of the spirit that you sow, the more you’ll reap. As you continue to walk in the spirit, you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
5. Stand fast (Galatians 5:1)!
It was God’s responsibility to break the power of sin and death off our lives once and for all. It’s our responsibility to maintain that freedom. Make a quality decision not to be entangled again with the yoke of bondage, stand fast in the liberty that the anointing attained for you, and rejoice in your new found freedom.
Certified by the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research in Dallas, Texas, Marty Copeland is a personal trainer, nutritional guidance counselor and minister of the gospel.