Back in college, I had a nutrition professor who railed against fad diets. Almost always, he said, people who use them to lose weight eventually put back on as many pounds as they lost – and often then some. The problem is most people can’t follow these diets for life. At some point the dieters stop dieting, and when they do, they have no new healthy habits in place to keep their weight in check. They simply revert back to the bad habits that made them overweight in the first place.
So instead of dieting, this professor encouraged us to adopt a whole new mindset about food. He wanted us to learn what was good for us and what was not and to use that knowledge to get in the habit of making healthy choices. Then, he said, we would be set to be physically fit for life.
I wonder – how many of us are guilty of a “fad diet” approach to Christianity. We hear a teaching that pumps us up and makes us want to be good. We discover or create a list of dos and don’ts that we believe will keep us on the path to God, and at first, we have enough excitement to follow the plan religiously. But soon we tire of this new “diet,” and we revert back to old lifestyle habits. And after our failure, we feel more discouraged and farther from God than we did when we began.
The good news is God never asked us to find Him by following a bunch of regulations. The Bible says when we come to God and ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell inside of us and gives us a new attitude toward God. He teaches us what is good for our spirits and what is not, and He encourages us to get in the habit of making spiritually healthy choices. With Him as our Helper, we achieve lasting changes to our lives.
“At one time, we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:3-7