I’m pushing back to next week, my part 2 of Gospel blessings because a besetting sin has been demanding my attention.

I confess, I have fallen back into worry and self-recriminations about how much I weigh and how hard it is to get and stay slim.  What has prompted this reoccurring grief I give myself?  We’re back from vacation!!!   Mike and I explored the Appalachian hills of Tennessee and visited our kids in Kentucky for almost two weeks.  But we were NOT lumps who let ourselves ‘go’.  We walked/ hiked between ONE and FOUR hours a day. And our meals were relatively routine in quality and quantity.  Yet I gained weight; hence, my misery.  But every problem from God is also a doorway into spiritual growth and ultimately a gift.

God’s word is first a mirror to our error and then a light to the correct path.  Last week while worshiping with Wes and Anne at their Baptist church, the minister read a verse I had never seen before:  But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

This word ‘simplicity’ is HAPLOTES (SG 572) in the Greek.  It means being single-minded, mentally honest, free from hypocrisy (espousing one way to live, living another way).  All of a sudden, I FELT free.  The fragrant and freeing idea of ‘all I have to do, is be devoted to Christ – no other cause, agenda, goal, purpose, plan’ settled gently into my spirit.  I realized that I had heard this before.  God is amazingly consistent in His instruction to us.  Consider other verses about the one thing:

  • There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her. – Luke 10:42 (NLT)
  • Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness…..- Matt 6:33
  • No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and will love the other….Math 6:24

Then the other day, back at home in my routine, stewing in the 3 pound gain, the Holy Spirit reminded me about the sin of worry.  I was moseying around in Matthew 6 again and came across the very familiar command in verse 31:  “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?

My first thought was, is it that simple?  Just don’t worry?  How can that be?  What will I do?  What will I eat?  What if I cannot get off these 3 vacation pounds and then the OTHER 3 pounds I still need to lose (I know, I’m pathetic – but God uses ALL of our junk). How can I just NOT think about all this?  Who will think about it if I don’t?  My riposte to God echoed some atheists’ responses to the Gospel offer of grace, “It’s too good to be true” or, “It can’t be that simple”   My protestations were stopped.

So I did what I always do when I want to know more, I looked up the specific Greek words for ‘worry’.  The verb is MERIMNAO (SG 3308) which means to have one’s thoughts or interests divided.  When we think about a situation beyond the requisite time it takes to cast that little bugger into God’s big lap, we are dividing our thoughts, our minds, and our energies.  In sum, we are sinning. That brought me right back to HAPLOTES – the simplicity of being devoted just to Jesus!

So how am I applying these two verbs to my life?  I’m helping myself to the tool/gift of repentance.  I realize that I am NOT to stew about what I am to eat or do about my body.  In Philippians Paul uses this verb – MERINMNO – in the familiar ‘Don’t be anxious..but pray…’(Phil 4:6) command.  So I am allowing myself to pray once in the morning and to think about my concern ONLY then, as I hand it over to God.  Then when my mind starts to go THERE again, during the day, I repent of my disobedient, wayward thought and ask the Holy Spirit to help me return to being single-mindedly devoted to the ONE THING, Christ, my Lord.

I know you might not identify with my double-minded exhausting mental gymnastics about food and bodies, but this need to train and subdue our minds is basic for any Christian who desires to obey God and have his or her mind renovated. It seems that we all need LOTS of repetition of the same lessons, different flavors.  Thank you, Lord, that you are a patient teacher.