The Weight of Grace book

Why doesn’t God give me the discipline I pray for?

by | Jan 5, 2013 | Uncategorized | 2 comments

Q: I don’t understand why, as a faithful Christian, I struggle with overeating and overweight. Why doesn’t God give me the discipline I pray for?
A: Your question reveals part of the problem. The struggle you have with overeating is not a matter of discipline but of the Spirit-given fruit of self-control. When you try to address your “flesh” through a “law” such as dieting, you are doing what is contrary to your Spirit-filled makeup as a “new creation in Christ,” since you are no longer under law, but guided by the Spirit. Galatians 5:16 indicates when you live according to the Spirit, you do not do as the flesh desires. (The flesh is your desire to do things your way rather than God’s way; in other words, the “self-life.”) Learning to live by the Spirit in the area of eating is a process that involves allowing the Spirit to be your Counselor in regard to those beliefs you hold that motivate you to medicate your emotions with food (like the binge you went on when your husband criticized you). The Spirit also desires to reveal beliefs you have probably not even acknowledged that actually make you feel emotionally more comfortable at a larger size or weight (for example, in order to avoid unwanted advances from men). When the underlying motivations for overeating are acknowledged, the Spirit and God’s Word renew your mind so that you are transformed (Romans 12:2; Hebrews 4:12) and the fruit of self-control emerges. No diet can control your flesh; only the Spirit can, and God doesn’t answer your prayer for discipline because he wants you to live by His Spirit.