I Ruined My Body: How Do I Believe My Body is Good When I Messed It Up? [Podcast Transcript]

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Title: I Ruined My Body: How Do I Believe My Body is Good When I Messed It Up?

Podcast Date: May 31, 2024

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Description

What do I do if I feel bad about having ruined my body? How do I believe my body is good even though I feel responsible for having messed it up? Isn't God mad at me because He gave me a good body and then I messed it up by the way I ate (or didn't eat) and exercised (or didn't exercise)? Today, Heather explores the reality that our bodies are made differently and some bodies are more susceptible to issues and disease than others. But, the real answer for this struggle is a theological answer. What do we believe about sin and the consequences of sin? What do we believe about repentance and forgiveness? What do we believe about making bad choices and how God handles that? 

The questions under the question is: Has my sin ruined my life? Have my choices changed my life in such a way that I'm no longer able to live the life God planned for me? Can God still use me even though I feel like I've made bad decisions?

Heather explains how often the sins that we believe we are guilty of around our bodies are not what we think they are. And, how the real sins of pride, envy, lust of the flesh, greed, idolatry are what was under and driving those decisions to eat or exercise in a certain way. So-called food "sins" are often not about the food at all.

Heather also digs into the concept of guilt, worldly remorse, and true repentance. Taking inspiration from Tim Keller's sermon, The Problem With Guilt , Heather explains how these concepts can help us get out of that place where we feel stuck feeling guilty for the ways we've inappropriately cared for (or neglected) our bodies.

This topic is nuanced and tricky, but hopefully the truth of scripture about how God is still good and still has a good plan for your life, no matter how you feel you've "messed things up," will encourage you.

Introduction: How Can I Believe My Body is Good?

[00:00:02]:

This is where the wrestling match begins. Because in order to sin, the sin under every sin is me saying “I know better what's best for me than God does”. It's a rejection of God's goodness, and it's really at the heart of it believing that God doesn't really love me. Oh, friend. I'm glad you're listening today. Heather Creekmore here. Today's topic is tricky and nuanced and complex.

 

[00:00:38]:

And I've gotten the question 4 times in 7 days. And so you've left me no choice. I have to answer it on the podcast. So today, we are talking about this concept of 

“I've ruined my body. Yes. Yes. I know God created my body, and God created good things, and my body is good. Yes. Yes. I know that. But I ruined my body. I did things to my body that have made it the way it is, and it's my fault. And how do I move past that? How can I believe that my body is good when I feel like I ruined the good thing that God made?”

Oh, friends. We're going there. This really came up first in the 40 day reading challenge, which has been amazing. We're about 2 weeks in reading through the 40 day body image workbook with about 60 women.

 

[00:01:37]:

It's an amazing time. Lots of fabulous questions, lots of fabulous connection. If you're sorry you missed the summer version, I hope you will stay tuned because we're gonna do it again in September. But it's been really good. And, hey, you don't have to wait to join a group. You can just go ahead and read the 40 day body image workbook. It's available everywhere books are sold, and it just may help you find the body image freedom you're looking for. 

 

[00:02:52]:

Okay. So I wanna just start off by clarifying, and I say this in the 40 Day Body Image Workbook. A lot of our body image issues, they're theological. They're what we really believe about God and why he made our bodies and the purpose of our bodies and why I'm here on this earth and what my purpose is and how my body fits into that purpose. And things have been muddied up to say the least by the diet culture we live in and even to some degree by the church. So today, I wanna try to break this down.

 

The Reality of Our Choices: Are We Walking a Tightrope?

[00:03:39]:

I'm not a theologian. Y'all, I'm just gonna do the best I can. I've done some research looking to people that I respect who have studied the Bible for decades. And we're just gonna try to break down what is behind this place where so many of us get stuck. We get stuck believing that, okay. Yeah. I I know God made my body good. I see that in scripture.

 

[00:04:08]:

It's in Genesis. Right? I know that my body is a good gift. I know I should appreciate my body, but how do I get over this reality that the things I did, the choices I made might have been bad for my body?

 

Now, how do I accept this body that I feel like I messed up? And that's what I wanna dig into. So the real challenge for us, theologically, I think, is this question of, have I ruined my body and messed things up? Have I messed up God's plan for my body? Have I messed up God's plan for my life in some ways? 

 

Because maybe I have this body now that won't work the way that God designed it to work, and I've gotta live with the consequences of that. It won't work in a way that feels good to me, and I've gotta live with the consequences of that. And so, all this is a big jumbled mess. So let's just start with that first question.

 

[00:05:09]:

Is it possible to mess ourselves up in a way that messes up God's plan? Oh, so tricky. Right? But I think the short story here is that the story of scripture is a story of grace, and we have absolutely no chance of making every decision correctly or perfectly over the course of our lives. So in some ways, we'd like to think about our lives as being, like, maybe this tightrope, right, where you just put one foot in front of the other and you stay on this very narrow tight rope. And that's how you're in God's perfect will for your life because it's good decision after good decision after good decision. But, friend, that's not reality. Most of us make bad decisions every single day. 

 

[00:06:13]:

And what I think is interesting here, and this is a little bit of an aside. But when I speak with women, like, this is their concern. Like, I've made bad decisions about my body, and they're stressing over the bad decisions they've made about their body. I wonder if you spend as much time worrying about the bad decisions you made in your parenting or the bad decisions you made in your career or your marriage. Right? Like, oh, goodness. The number of guys that I knew God told me not to date, and yet, I did. I've taken jobs that I knew God told me not to take, and yet I did. Right? Oh, I've said things. Oh, I've said things when I knew the Holy Spirit was saying, don't say that, Heather.

 

[00:06:53]:

Just back away from the conversation. Don't say it. Don't say it. Don't say it. And instead, I did, and I made a big mess. Friend, we make mistakes all of the time. In fact, we sin pretty regularly. And so if life is this tightrope where we've got to do everything perfectly in order to stay in line, like, we have no chance.

 

[00:07:20]:

We are sunk. And so the reality of the Christian life is that, yes, we don't abuse grace. We do our very best to obey God because we love God. But we have no chance of doing it perfectly. Right? And so the Christian life is really the life of forgiveness. It's the life of understanding what Jesus did. The reality of what Jesus did is he provided a way for our messy, broken, rejected, sinful selves to be viewed as clean and white and guiltless when we stand before the throne of God. But that doesn't mean that I'm not still gonna be broken and messy.

 

Could We Be Hyper Fixated on The Wrong Sin?

[00:08:15]:

So then the second big theological question is, okay. I've sinned. We've all sinned. Has my sin ruined God's plan for my life? And, specifically, some of you are asking, has my sin of not taking care of my body in a way that honors God ruined my life? Now there's so much nuance here. Because I think for so many of my listeners, when you hear this question, what you hear is, has my gluttony ruined it? And maybe gluttony is your deal. Maybe it is. But I think for a lot of us, it's more likely that your dieting or your restriction or you're trying not to eat days led to days of overindulging, and that was a physiological response.

 

[00:09:13]:

And maybe your body is suffering the consequences of it today. And so then the question becomes, most of us think that the quote, unquote sin in there is in that period of eating more because it feels like gluttony when compared to a season of restriction. But I actually think that the sin under the sin, actually, I think the real sin, let me put it like that… it's not about the food at all. The real sin is about the heart posture that got us into the place where we felt like we had to either restrict food, or that food was all we had - our only option, our only resource to turn to. For me, the heart posture was one of envy and maybe even lust or greed. And let me explain what I mean to you by that. And definitely pride, I shouldn't miss pride because I wanted to look better for me.

 

[00:10:14]:

I wanted to please me with the way I looked. I wanted to save myself from rejection, save myself from hurt and pain by having a body that looked a certain way. I wanted to offer myself my own salvation through having a certain body size. And that was my heart motivation for restricting food. That was my heart motivation for dieting. My heart motivation for dieting, I might have told you it was to be healthy. I probably would have told you that. I just wanna be healthier.

 

[00:10:52]:

Right? And thinner is always healthier according to our culture. But the truth is I wanted to look good, and I wanted you to think I looked good. And I wanted to kinda get high. The fact that I looked good, I wanted to feel pride around that So that if I compared myself to you, I could feel like, yeah, I look better than her. I got some pride going, and I wouldn't have called it pride either. I would have called it self confidence. I just need some self confidence.

 

[00:11:22]:

Like, I just wanna feel good about me. And y'all, this is tough stuff. I'm trying to say it lightly. But friend, we worry so much about gluttony. We just panic over gluttony, and we miss the real sins here, which are pride and envy. I wanna look like her. I'm gonna look like her. I hate her because she's skinnier than me.

 

[00:11:41]:

I hate her because of her metabolism. Envy, lust, and I don't mean lust in a, like, sexual, “I want to be with that person” kind of way. I mean, lust like I really feel like I need that thing in my life. And that thing I need is a better body, a skinnier body, to wear that small size, to be able to wear that swimsuit, to have people say “wow, I wish I had her body”. Right? It's lust of the flesh. This is tricky stuff, but stick with me.

 

[00:12:24]:

In some cases, it's greed too. Like, oh, I just want the power that comes, and some of y'all know exactly what I'm talking about, the power that comes with feeling like you've got a body that makes people, like, do a double take. Right? You have power with men in some cases. And in women, sometimes it feels like you get more respect or admiration. There's a power there too. So if the dieting is really about these heart issues of envy and lust and pride, greed. That's the sin we need to be worried about. 

 

[00:13:04]:

And so some of you are saying, Heather, I wasn't a dieter. I didn't diet. In fact, I just ate everything and anything. Then I think the question for you is what was underneath that? What were those underlying factors? Was it “I just can't trust God?” Was it anger with God? Was it circumstances? And my friend Laura Acuna talks about how she would just eat sugar packets when she was a child, and that was a result of trauma. I'm not gonna say that was her sin that brought that on her. 

 

Sometimes we are in a situation where our only coping mechanism, the only thing we have access to is food. And my friend, Char-Lee Cassel, says this - we should be grateful that we had the food there to help us cope. But for others of you, it happened later in life where you just kept going to food, going to food, going to food, instead of digging into the emotions and feelings and processing what was underneath and questioning, is there something going on here spiritually? And, oh, that's that's where I'm gonna go in just a second. I'm gonna tell you what that thing going on spiritually might be. So just brace yourself for that.

 

Have I Messed Up God’s Plan for My Life?

[00:14:22]:

Then we're back to the same theological question. Have I sinned in such a way that I've messed things up? And the answer is no. Most of us have to get to the end of every day and say that we fell short. We fell short of the standard of loving God perfectly today with our heart, our soul, our mind, our strength. We fell short of loving others well. We fell short of loving our neighbor as ourselves. In fact, I would say most of us succeed pretty well at loving ourselves every day, and I don't mean we love our bodies. I just mean we think of ourselves first.

 

[00:15:01]:

Oh, but thinking of others as we think of ourselves? I don't know if there's many days where I do a good job of that. And so our sinful action does result in some loss, while our righteous actions will be rewarded. So then this is where it gets tricky. Right? Because it's like, okay. Well, I cannot make A-plus decisions or even A-minus decisions. In fact, John Piper says he believes every decision he made at his church was, like, a B-Minus decision because we live in a sinful fallen world, and it's just impossible for us as humans to make A-plus decisions every day. So Piper explains that if we get, like, stuck in this mentality of, like, “oh, my life was supposed to be”, back to that tight rope, my life was supposed to be the straight trajectory, you know, plan A, God's plan A.

 

[00:15:54]:

And I made this bad decision, and I made this bad decision. Like, you're not just on, like, plan M or plan X. Like, there's not enough variables in the world to adjust for all the decisions you make that probably are not the best decisions. And that, oh, it's so messy and overwhelming and huge, right, to try to consider. How can God's good plan for your life withstand your free will and all the bad decisions you make? I don't know. I do know that if I could understand that, then that God would be too small. Right? But our God is so big and that concept is, oh, I don't know. It's overwhelming, but it also should be comforting.

 

[00:16:43]:

In fact, somehow God made a way for us to still live out our purpose and accomplish his will even though we make bad decisions all the time. And, again, some of those bad decisions are just mistakes, and some of them are sin. If you invest in your friend's company and it goes belly up, that's not a sin, but it might have been a mistake. Right? So there's sins and there's mistakes. The good news is for the sin, we actually have a course of correction. Right? If we confess our sins, he's faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. But again, every day, we do things that aren't perfect. There's sins and there's regrets.

 

Did The Sins of Peter and Paul Ruin God’s Plan for Them?

[00:17:29]:

Now, when I was asked this in our groups, our 40 day body image workbook groups, the first illustration I used was of Peter. Because Peter walked with Jesus, Jesus tells him, dude, you're gonna deny me 3 times before the cock crows, before the rooster crows. And what happens is Peter does it. He denies Jesus 3 times in a row. And then what did he have to do? He had to repent to see the Lord's forgiveness, and then he went on! And he had, I would say, a sizable ministry after that. So Peter did these big sins, not just mistakes. These were sins.

 

[00:18:05]:

Right? Regret, remorse, shame. He had to have felt all the things, guilt. He's let Jesus just go to the cross and pretend he didn't even know him to save his own hide. He was worried he was gonna get thrown in there and crucified with him, saved his own hide, took the cowardly way out, lied, denied Jesus, and yet God still used him. Here's another one. How about Paul? There's a guy that had kind of a dark past. He used to kill Christians. Okay? But God saves him, and I would say he had a pretty effective ministry too.

 

[00:18:44]:

In fact, 2nd Corinthians 7, 8 through 10, Paul talks about his regrets and how he deals with them. He says, even if I made you grieve with my letter. Right? Because he was kinda hard on the Corinthians because they were sinning and being crazy. But he says, I do not regret it. I rejoice not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 

 

Are We Repentant or Remorseful?

[00:19:24]:

Now let's let's look at that a little bit more carefully. You all know how I love me some Tim Keller. Tim Keller did a podcast. Well, it was a sermon that they turned into a podcast on gospel and life called “The Problem of Guilt”. And I think guilt is really what we're talking about when we talk about this, like, “oh, I feel like I messed my body up. I feel bad. I feel guilty.” We feel condemned. We feel shamed.

 

[00:19:50]:

And Keller talks about this reality that most of us, when we sin, we want to just feel the worldly remorse, but we don't actually want to repent. We might even think we're repenting. But instead we just feel this remorse, this worldly sorrow. Godly sorrow leads to freedom, but worldly sorrow leads to despair and self focus and anger and guilt. And Keller talks about this from the standpoint of he's talking about David's story. So remember, David, man after God's own heart sins, and he sins in a magnificent way. Right? He sees a woman bathing. He decides he must have her.

 

[00:20:41]:

He doesn't care whose wife she is. He must have her. He sleeps with her. He gets her pregnant. He realizes that her husband is one of his most loyal men. He has the guy killed so that he can be with her. And Nathan, the prophet shows David through an illustration just how bad he's been, and David feels awful. And this is what we hear in David's lament in Psalm 51.

 

[00:21:13]:

You may know it. It's a pretty famous passage, but he says, “create in me a clean heart. Renew your spirit in me.” David is talking about this need for repentance. And honestly, y'all, like David should have felt pretty bad about what he did. Right? Like, that's pretty awful. Right? And I don't know, like, on the scale of things, like, you messing up your body through food or exercise choices versus David, you know, sleeping with a married woman, getting her pregnant, and killing someone, You know, like, chances are you haven't done anything, quote, unquote, that bad. Right? But repentance is the answer just the same.

 

[00:21:55]:

In fact, this little aside, but Tim Keller talks about how, like, this is one way that we know the Bible is true because every other story, ancient story, like, the heroes are heroes, and you don't really hear about, like, the bad, awful stuff they do. But in the Bible, like, we know how bad Peter was, we know how bad Paul was, we know how bad David was. Moses, Abraham, they all made lame-o mistakes, and they're right there for us to read. And what did God do? He forgave them. Mary Magdalene. Oh, what a checkered life she had. He forgave her and none of these people would have had an effective ministry had they not received the forgiveness of God after repenting. And Keller talks about how we don't really do a good enough job talking about repentance.

 

[00:22:50]:

In fact, repentance is what changed my body image issues 100%. Because I didn't think I had anything to repent of. I thought my body images were connected to the fact that my body didn't look the way I wanted it to look. And so if I could just get my body to look the way I wanted it to look, I wouldn't have body image issues anymore. And some of you have probably thought that too. But what my real problem was, was I had an idol. My idolatry was sin. 

 

[00:23:16]:

I had envy. I had pride. I had lust. I had greed underneath that idol because I wanted my body to look a certain way and I had to repent. And repentance changed everything for me. Keller puts it like this. The Bible actually says in a sense, until you repent, I have nothing to say to you. Until you repent, I have nothing to offer you. Until you repent, nothing else that I have to say will make any sense.

 

[00:23:49]:

Until you repent, nothing else that I can offer you will you be able to receive. Repent. And, friends this was so true to me. So true. I had thought I had walked with Jesus since I was in elementary school. I went to Christian college. I went to Christian high school. I went to Christian graduate school.

 

[00:24:08]:

I was in church my entire life, sometimes 3 or 4 times a week. But it wasn't until I reached the point where I recognized I had this idolatry, pride, lust, greed, envy problem, and truly repented for the first time, truly felt broken over the magnitude of that sin, that changed everything for me. 

 

And I've told people in my groups, coaching clients before, like, I didn't realize the word idolatry was in the bible so much. But after I repented, I saw it everywhere. I was, like, oh my word, every single day of my bible reading plan has something about idols. I was able to hear from the Lord in a more real way. I was able to actually feel God's love in a way that I couldn't feel it ever before. And that part, I wasn't really sure how to make sense of until my guy, Tim Keller, dug in a little bit more. So listen to this.

 

What Was David’s (and Our) “Sin Behind the Sin”?

[00:25:10]:

So back to Psalm 51, David's lament, verse 4. David says, “against you and you alone have I sinned.” I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. You're the one I violated. You've seen it all. You've seen the full extent of my evil.” And Keller talks about, like, how that's kind of a weird statement.

 

[00:25:35]:

Right? Because it feels like it wasn't just against God that David sinned. I mean, he sinned against Bathsheba. He sinned against Uriah, her husband. Right? Like, there were some other people affected by David's actions. It seems like he sinned against a bunch of people. But what Keller explains is that the sin is not primarily the law of God that David broke. 

 

[00:26:06]:

It's, first of all, an attack, oh that's a big word, on the law giver and the creator. And so for those of you that are stressed out about breaking the law of God, And in most cases, I think you cash it out to gluttony or maybe sloth, maybe the pride. Maybe you do see the pride, the idolatry, the envy. But listen to this, friends. This is where it gets really good. 

 

If you believe that you are a created being, if you believe you're created, it means that the one who created you has authority over you. And Keller likens this to you being a writer and writing a character in your novel. You have authority over that character.

 

[00:26:47]:

You get to decide how that character's story plays out. So if you were created, that means you have an author. You have someone in authority over you. So what muddied up our understanding of that? Well, that's where we have to go all the way back to the garden. And Keller talks about how there's Adam and Eve, say, you know, in paradise, but they're told just don't eat that one tree. The serpent comes along, and the serpent shows us what David is getting at. 

 

The serpent comes and he says, “Adam and Eve, I've been watching you. I'm concerned for you. God doesn't really love you. God wants to keep you back from something good. God doesn't have your best interest in mind, but I do.” And just like Adam and Eve, we listen to that serpent today, don't we? And he tells us the same thing. He says, consciously or subconsciously, he says, God doesn't love you enough. So you have to do something to protect yourself. You have to compensate for the fact that God doesn't love you enough. You have to take things into your own hands.

 

[00:28:01]:

If God really loved you, he'd let you eat of any tree. If God really loved you, he would have allowed you to stay thin. If God really loved you, he would have protected you from getting that disease. If God really loved you, you fill in the blank. And this is where the wrestling match begins. Because in order to sin, the sin under every sin is me saying, “I know better what's best for me than God does”. It's a rejection of God's goodness and it's really at the heart of it. Believing that God doesn't really love me. And friends, every time I work with a client, this is a place we go.

 

Find Forgiveness, Find Freedom

[00:28:50]:

This is a place I was stuck for a long time. It's really hard to believe that God loves us, isn't it? But that is the most egregious sin of all, is doubting the love of God. That's the one we have to repent of the most. And Keller talks about how when you can repent of doubting the love of God, whoo, how that changes everything. Because until we can repent of doubting the love of God, we're not really repenting for sin, we're just kinda feeling sorry for ourselves. Like, man, I wish I hadn't done that. Man, I feel really bad that I ate all these things for 20 years and now my body looks like it does or I didn't eat all these things for 20 years or exercise like this for 20 years. Like, whatever it is, we're focused on the actions and the consequences of the actions, And we don't feel godly repentance.

 

[00:29:49]:

We feel worldly remorse because of the consequences of our actions instead of the actual sin under the sin, which is doubting the goodness of God. And Keller says, if you start to repent that you didn't believe God was good, it's actually the first time that it opens up to you the possibility that he really is good and he really is merciful and he really is there waiting for you with open arms to come to Him and say, “oh God, I have sinned. Please forgive me”. And then you can actually receive His forgiveness and walk in new freedom. And I think, friend, if you are stuck in lamenting the, “oh, I wish I hadn't done this to my body. Oh, I wish I hadn't done this to my body.” I think the sin under the sin is you're doubting that God really loves you or that his love is enough. I don't know if that resonates with you, but it does with me.

 

[00:30:54]:

It does with my story. Because, you know, without repentance, we just have remorse. And remorse, according to Keller, is just an aggravated form of self pity, which is actually the problem that got you into sin in the first place. It's self absorption. It's self centeredness. It's focusing on yourself. And when we don't receive God's forgiveness for our sins, when we stay stuck in that, “yeah, but how could I ever accept this body because I know what I did to it? Oh, woe is me. I messed up my body.”

 

[00:31:33]:

“I can't ever get out of these body image issues because it's all my fault. Me, me, me, me, me.” What we're saying in a way is that God has a standard. We didn't meet the standard. God says, repent. He forgives us and we're clear, But we're stuck because we also have a standard, and we somehow believe that our standard is higher than God's standard. So, okay, God. Thanks for forgiving me.



Stop Looking In, Start Looking Out

[00:32:01]:

That's great and all. But I fell short of my own standard, and now I'm stuck. Friend, your standard is dung. It's not higher than God's. And oftentimes, when we're stuck just beating ourselves up over and over again, “I can't believe I did it. I'm so bad. I hate myself. I'm so awful.”

 

[00:32:22]:

“I wish I hadn't done this. Oh, that was so ridiculous that I did that. I wish I hadn't done that.” Like, it's just self pity. You're looking in. You're just looking in and looking in and looking in, and that's what got you into the mess in the first place. It's the rejection of the goodness of God. When you repent for the real sin, rejecting God's goodness, you stop looking in, Keller says, and you start looking out.

 

[00:32:51]:

You stop feeling guilty, and you have hope. And when you repent and you start to believe that God is good, everything changes. So some of you are still unsatisfied. You're, like, okay, Heather. That's great and all. But I just wanna be really practical here. Like, I made bad choices for X number of years. I mean, bad choices, that's so subjective.

 

[00:33:17]:

Right? But I didn't treat my body in a good way, let me put it that way, for X number of years, and now I feel like I'm facing the consequences of that. Okay. Maybe. Maybe you are. Maybe those consequences would have come anyway. I have clients that have tried to do things as near perfect for their health and still face awful stuff. A friend of mine just told me, and I think I shared this on the show before, but a friend of mine who works at a gym just told me that the woman at the gym that looked the healthiest died of colon cancer at 41. Right? How much control over our health do we really have? We don't know.

 

[00:33:59]:

We don't know. We can try. We can do our best, but we don't know if our genetics and epigenetics are gonna make that diabetes come anyway. And we have a choice. Right? We can either be like, “oh, woe is me, I've brought this on myself. Now I face the consequences of this. Oh, woe is me, woe is me, woe is me.” Or we can repent and believe that God is good anyway, that God loves me anyway, even though most of my decisions every day, back to that John Piper quote, are B-minus decisions at best.

 

Your Best Chance is For a “B-Minus”

[00:34:39]:

Friend, we'd like to think, like, if we'd have done things different, we would have made all A-plus decisions that would have led to this perfect health and perfect body. But that's fantasy land. That's ideal land. None of us live in ideal land. The best shot we had was making B-minus decisions. And so you made a lot of B-minus decisions. Repent for the sin, receive God's forgiveness, and move forward. You know, Keller talks about one more thing.

 

[00:35:11]:

He talks about how repentance is really what separates the “born again” Christian from the person who just believes in Jesus. And let me kinda fill out what he says here. When you are born again, you know, like Jesus explained to Nicodemus, you have to be born again. You get a new nature. You get a new heart. And it's not just this focus on, oh, I did the right thing. Oh, I did the wrong thing. Like, that's pharisaical.

 

[00:35:44]:

Right? Counting how many right things you did, counting how many wrong things you did, doing the ritual to make up for the bad things, to make the bad things into good things. Like, that's not the gospel. The gospel is you had no chance of doing enough good things. No chance. You needed Jesus to die on the cross for you. And now you've asked him to create in you a clean heart. And, really, what it is is a new heart. It's a new nature.

 

[00:36:16]:

It's a new life. It's not just “give me another chance because I blew it, God, please just give me another chance” because you don't actually wanna do that. Keller explains how those of us who ask for that are just gonna blow it again. Right? Like, we just can never get it all right. But when I have a new heart, then I can see the goodness of God in my life. I can begin to feel his love. And when I sin, I feel that I have grieved his heart, and I can come to a true place of repentance, receive his forgiveness and move on.

 

Getting Practical With Gospel Truth

[00:36:54]:

So 2 practical things. Practical thing 1, “oh, but Heather, I still have these feelings. I still feel bad about my body”. Okay. We all have feelings. Some of the feelings are helpful to investigate because they can tell us things about our belief system, things that we're still struggling with. Right? But you don't actually have to obey your feelings or live by your feelings because feelings aren't always true. Right? So you have feelings.

 

[00:37:25]:

Okay. Preach the gospel to yourself. Preach the gospel to your feelings. Right? And I feel like some of us confuse our feelings with the shame we're getting from the enemy, the condemnation that's coming from the enemy. You don't have to entertain that. Tell the devil to flee. Tell those thoughts that are straight from the pit of hell that they have to go. Preach the gospel to yourself.

 

[00:37:52]:

And then secondly, what if you're suffering now? What if you feel like the consequences of your choices around your body have led to suffering? Good example of this might be smoking. Say you smoked for, I don't know, 20, 30 years, and now perhaps you have lung cancer or lung disease of some sort. You feel the consequences of your decisions in your body, in your health, what do you do? You suffer recognizing that He's still good despite your suffering. He still has a plan and purpose for your life, however many days He has left for you, despite your suffering. Yeah. Maybe you made a lot of B-minus, maybe even made C-minus decisions, but He still wants to use you. He still wants you to love and serve and obey him. He still calls you his precious child.

 

[00:38:51]:

He still loves you. You still have an inheritance in him. And though maybe the things you've done have shortened your life or affected the quality of your life here on this earth, He's not asking you to make repair for that. He's just asking you to turn now and love him and serve him and get about what he's asked you to do. Friend, so many of us just worry so much about how we're taking care of our bodies. Are we doing it right? Are we doing it good enough? Again, your best chance is a B-minus. So get about what God has asked you to do and trust him. Trust him in everything.

 

[00:39:35]:

You can trust him because he loves you. He does. And I hope that'll encourage you today. Well, friend, thanks for listening. I hope this has helped you if you felt like you've ruined your body. I hope it's helped you to put those thoughts and feelings aside and move forward in confidence that there's nothing you can do to separate yourself from the love of God, and he still has a good plan for your life. Thanks again for listening. I hope something today has helped you stop comparing and start living.

 



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