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Do This Not That

Weight loss fads and diets are always hot topics. For decades, Americans have been obsessed with being thin. Thin was fashionable. Thin was in. Every actress, model or singer had her own workout video. Because of the desire to be thin, people developed eating disorders, like bulimia and anorexia. When we were seniors in high school, my friend, Mary, and I used to diet all week. We wrote down everything we ate and how many calories it had. Then on the weekends, we would eat anything that we wanted, which usually meant we binged on junk food. I remember the two of us eating almost a whole package of Oreos in one sitting.


Isn’t it ironic that at a time when the media and society seemed to be throwing “thin” in our faces, we became the fattest nation on the planet? It’s not just about looking thin now. It’s about being healthier. We’ve finally realized that not everyone can look like Twiggy or Kate Moss. We need to watch our diets for our health more than for our looks. This has spawned a whole new line of weight loss and healthy diet fads.


One of the most popular diet guides out today is “Eat This Not That!” by David Zinczenko. You may have even seen him on a daytime talk show or news program. He shows that you can help control your weight by making smarter, more informed choices. For example, he will compare hamburgers at two different restaurants. He tells you which burger has fewer calories – and usually it is a significant difference. Because of him, I have had to rethink ordering a salad as my entrée. Some of these salads have so much in them that, with the dressing, they have more calories than a burger and fries.


I am not trying to sell Mr. Zinczenko’s book for him. I want to sell his principle: making smarter and better choices is better for you. How did we get so fat as a nation? Because we ate what we wanted when we wanted it without regard for the consequences. Now translate that into where we are in society. If only weight gain were our biggest problem! We’ve got drugs. We’ve got families where every kid has a different father. We’ve got divorce. We’ve got AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. We’ve got abortion. We’ve got addictions. We’ve got prime time television that is borderline porno. We’ve got outrageous personal and national debt. We’ve got the “f” word almost becoming everyday language.


Our nation, our people got in the shape that we are in because we started doing what we wanted when we wanted to do it without regard for the consequences. “If it feels good, do it” became the guiding philosophy. People took what our nation stood for and perverted it. We were set up to be a nation where everyone had equal rights and could believe and think as they wished. We became so tolerant that we tolerated anything and everything. And it is killing us -- and the way of life we were supposed to have. But whenever anyone has been willing to step up and draw that proverbial line in the sand and say, “that’s enough”, they have been dismissed as being intolerant or a hate monger. Just like we need to get our health and diets under control, we need to get the way we conduct our lives under control.


In Colossians 3, written by the Apostle Paul, God gives us His version of “Eat This Not That.” It’s more of a “Do This Not That.” This passage is speaking to the Christians --those who have said they have accepted Christ as their savior. But I think this could speak to anyone, Christian or not.


Colossians 3:5-10

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.


Most people believe that you get what you give. Call it karma. Call it fate. Call it “what goes around comes around.” I recognize it as the Biblical principal of sowing and reaping.  If you doing the things mentioned here, such as: sleeping around with anyone and everyone; living selfishly; putting your own desires ahead of everyone else; letting money rule you; speaking hate and filth and just plain living ugly, then what is your life going to look like? What will you reap in life if you practice even one of these? When we get so self-absorbed with ourselves, we miss opportunities to love and grow and to flourish. Instead, we sink into the very filth that we created.


Don’t do that, do this.


Colossians 3:12-17

 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


So instead of living a self-indulged, “if it feels good, do it” life, we are better off to be more humble and to put others first. We need to be kind and care for one another. We should be thankful for what we have instead of grumbling about what others have that we don’t. What’s in it for us if we do? Love. Peace of mind. Healthier bodies and minds. Less strife. Less stress. For those of us who believe – salvation and eternal life.  Did I mention peace of mind?


Being “good” isn’t what gets us into heaven, but it sure makes the wait a lot more enjoyable.




The following is a poem that is often incorrectly attributed to Maya Angelou. The true version was written by Carol Wimmer.


When I Say I Am a Christian


When I say, “I am a Christian,” 

I’m not shouting, “I’ve been saved!”

I’m whispering, “I get lost! 

That’s why I chose this way”


When I say, “I am a Christian,” 

I don’t speak with human pride

I’m confessing that I stumble

-needing God to be my guide


When I say, “I am a Christian,” 

I’m not trying to be strong

I’m professing that I’m weak

and pray for strength to carry on


When I say, “I am a Christian,”

I’m not bragging of success

I’m admitting that I’ve failed

and cannot ever pay the debt


When I say, “I am a Christian,” 

I don’t think I know it all

I submit to my confusion

asking humbly to be taught


When I say, “I am a Christian,”

I’m not claiming to be perfect

My flaws are far too visible


but God believes I’m worth it

When I say, “I am a Christian,” 

I still feel the sting of pain

I have my share of heartache

which is why I seek His name


When I say, “I am a Christian,” 

I do not wish to judge

I have no authority

–I only know I’m loved






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