Monday, October 08, 2007

Losing to Win II

There is a prime time TV show I enjoy watching. It is NBC's The Biggest Loser. As I have written before, it is for a similar reason I liked Shaq's Big Challenge. It reveals the very real difficulties involved in the war against overweight lifestyles.

Several people are selected to be part of the show's boot camp, and they compete on who loses the most pounds by the end of the season. Personal trainers help these people learn how to eat, when to eat, how to exercise, and push these people to train beyond what they would be accustomed to.

What is fascinating is that some of the contestants are resistant to change, whether it is the exercise regime or eating differently. But the trainers use a mix of encouragement, challenge, education, hard truth, parable, and even outright anger to motivate these people to go beyond what they are comfortable doing. They are each given the sobering reality that what they were doing was killing them. And if they continue to live like that they will surely die. So, even though this hurts, and it is uncomfortable, they must keep their eyes on the goal—losing weight for a healthier, and more meaningful life.

Isn't this what Jesus offers? Not losing weight necessarily, but a transformed life for God's purposes. He himself serves as our example of perseverance (For the joy set before him he endured the cross), of setting ourselves apart (he died and is raised to live a new life), and of faithfulness. Yet, Jesus is the cause of our transformed life. For through is offered body, and the Spirit he sends, he also provides a way for us to be transformed.

But like in the Biggest Loser, it isn't going to be easy. We need encouragement from each other. We need people who can help us understand what we don't know. We need people to have the courage to tell us the truth, out of gentleness and love, and to put up with our whining. We need people around us who care about our transformation more than us liking them. We need people around us who are wise enough to know when to push and when not to push. We need people around us who want it for themselves.

But, again, this isn't easy.

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