I’ve been thinking about the amount work it takes to lose and maintain weight. After having each of my three babies, I had to lose 25 plus pounds. It took me about a year of hard work and self-discipline to get back into shape.
Even maintaining weight as I’m doing now takes constant vigilance, and I become overwhelmed sometimes with all the work life on this earth creates. We work at our health, relationships, careers, homes and even our salvation–going from glory to glory into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3.18). Paul says in Philippians 2.12-13 that we should do this work without grumbling:
“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing…” (NIV).
But I do find myself grumbling. I realize, though, If I grumbled about all the work I had to do, I would be grumbling all the time. And if I carried a negative attitude about all my work, I would try to consume more–shopping, eating, entertaining, etc.–in order to feel better about life. However, my negative attitude would eventually spread like cancer to all areas of my life if I allowed it to persist.
I can’t simply consume to make myself happy because Jesus has called me to work and a purpose (Ephesians 1.11). Jesus says that our lives on this earth are about serving, not simply receiving:
“And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9.35 ESV).
Since I’m called to serve, the answer to my “work” dilemma is my heart. I can choose to have a good attitude or a bad attitude. I can choose to grumble about my work or I can see it as an honor. The Bible says to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10.5 NIV).
I know that Jesus wants me to be hopeful in all my thoughts (Psalm 31.24). I know that my negative thoughts can start to affect every area of my life, including my health (Proverbs 17.22). I know that Jesus came to this earth to set me free from darkness (Ephesians 5.8). Finally, I know that God has called me to be joyful (1 Thessalonians 5.16) and that His joy in me is my strength (Nehemiah 8.10).
So I understand that if I can work at making my thoughts more positive–even when it feels fake or forced at first–that I will begin to produce positive thoughts in all areas of my life, and my grumbling would be destroyed. I can claim joy when I exercise, do laundry, skip dessert, write, cook for my family, serve a friend, etc. And when I look back on my life, I might not remember everything I did, but I will remember that my attitude was pleasing to the Lord.
“So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can” (Ecclesiastes 3.22 NLT).