Friday, January 31, 2014

Made to Crave Study, Chapter 6: Growing Closer to God

In the last chapter, Lysa said that growing closer to God is one reason, the deeper reason, for working through issues, and chapter 6 in the the Made to Crave Bible Study hosted by Proverbs 31 Ministries explores that further.

"Growing closer to God has a whole lot less to do with any action we might take and a whole lot more to do with positioning our hearts toward His" (p. 59K). That position usually involves humbling ourselves somehow.

When someone asked Lysa how to grow close to God, she replied, "By making the choice to deny ourselves something that is permissible but not beneficial. And making this intentional sacrifice for the sole purpose of growing closer to God. After all, Jesus Himself said, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me' (Luke 9:23)."

I don't think that's what I would answer if someone asked me how to draw close to God. I think I would have encouraged being in the Word and praying as well as dealing with any sin in the life and yielding our wills to His. I can see people taking this premise of denying something permissible and running with it beyond anything God intended. But then again, in a sense that's what we do when we fast.

So I am not sure what I think about that answer, but I do agree that trying to lose weight isn't just about the physical issues, but also about "learning to tell myself no and learning to make wiser choices daily. And somehow becoming a woman of self-discipline honors God and helps me live the godly characteristic of self-control" (p. 59-60).

Before listing the fruit of the Spirit (which includes self-control) in Galatians 5:22, back in verse 16 Paul says, "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh."

How do we do that? Knowing He is in us, if we have believed on Christ as Savior (Romans 8:11), and taking heed to His voice, reading "the Bible with the intention of putting into practice what we read while asking the Holy Spirit to direct us in knowing how to do this" (p. 62K). Lysa often prays, "I need wisdom to make wise choices. I need insight to remember the words I have read in Scripture. I need a power beyond what I can find on my own" (p. 62K).

Lysa then discusses the Samaritan woman in John 4 and the fact that in the middle of that situation, Jesus said, "My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me." 

And then she discusses Philippians 3:13-16 about forgetting what is behind and reaching forth unto what's ahead, and then, just a verse or two later, "For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things (Philippians 3:18-19). "Food can become so consuming that people find themselves ruled by it...Being ruled by something other than God diminishes our commitment and will make us feel increasingly distant from Him" (p. 65). Verses 20-21 remind us, "But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself."

1 comment:

bekahcubed said...

Huh. That answer to how to draw near to God strikes me as very strange. As someone who has a huge tendency towards legalism, the idea of self - denial (in and of itself) as spiritual growth is dangerously tempting. My take on the question would be that drawing close to God means seeing Him for who He is and responding in repentance and worship. We see God where He reveals Himself, and the primary way in which He reveals Himself is in His word. Of course, we all have many idols (some of which are not bad in themselves except that we place them in front of God) that obstruct our view of God - and repenting of and displacing that idolatry with true God-worship is necessary to draw near to God. So I guess I feel similarly to how you do about that particular comment.

But I definitely agree with you (and with Lysa) that losing weight is about more than the physical. It seems that there are two wrong tracks to take with food: either it is God or the devil. Some nutrition sorts think the best middle is to say that food is fuel, but I disagree. I think food is a gift from God, intended for our sustenance and enjoyment - and that putting food in its proper place and seeing God in His makes a big difference in dieting efforts.