MORAL STRENGHT

In a very interesting experiment scientists divided women into two groups. Both groups received an identical milkshake to drink, but first group was informed that their milkshake was very high in calories, the second one was told it was low in calories. After women consumed the milkshake all of them received a big bowl of chocolate ice cream. Guess which group consumed more of the ice cream? The participants who were persuaded that their milkshake was high in calories consumed more ice cream! It is not difficult to explain this phenomenon when we take into consideration the fact that when most of us are overcome by the temptation and eat something we know is unhealthy then we feel discouraged and have a tendency to go the whole hog.

Recently I was listening to an excellent lecture on depression by Dr. Neil Nedley in which he mentioned about a woman who was on a diet but when she saw an ice cream in her fridge she thought it wouldn’t be a crime if she had a little. But after she ate some of the ice cream she felt as if she had committed a crime. As a result she felt so down that she said to herself, “I am nothing but a pig”, and then she consumed the entire 2 litre box.

The body’s drive to make us eat is immensely powerful, and not only overweight individuals but the great majority of us, including myself and even skinny individuals, do not usually possess strong will power which is necessary to overcome daily temptations associated with rich in fat and sugar foods or harmful stimulants. Although numerous old and new studies demonstrate that majority of obese people possess weak will power it doesn’t mean that this is always the key cause of the problem as there are other factors such as slower metabolism, hormonal imbalance, or certain drugs that often play even more important role. I know guys who do not eat more than slim people and still struggle with their body weight. The sad truth is, however, that majority of us are not naturally equipped with a strong will power, and that’s why there are so many alcoholics, cigarette smokers, drug, caffeine, meat, cheese or sugar addicts.

Over two thousand overweight people were recently surveyed in England and almost seventy percent of them stated that although they were aware of the fact that being overweight greatly increases the risk of cancer and other complications, yet they failed to reduce their calorie, fat, and sugar intake because of weak will power. They clearly stated that it was the lack of willpower which was the biggest obstacle in their attempts to lose weight.

For this reason it is often not enough to instruct someone to change diet, get rid of junk foods, and exercise on a regular basis because most of us are not able to practice it without strong motivation and proper empowerment. Apart from that, also the deprived sense of taste needs to be modified, because otherwise it might be very difficult or even impossible to overcome all the long-cultivated and deep-rooted dietary habits. That is why in order to live a really healthy lifestyle and enjoy it at the same time, we also need to find strong motivation, the source of moral strength, and we also need an inner influence which would enable us to control our inherent as well as acquired tendencies.

The very good news is, however, that such influence and empowerment is available to everyone, and it is available free of charge. All the information which is necessary to discover the true and only source of this power and how to receive it you will find in this and the following chapter.

In 1990 I had a privilege to participate in a nutritional training which took place in New York. It was conducted by John A. Scharffenberg, M.D., MPH, and Professor of Nutrition at Loma Linda University. During one of his lectures he stated that, “Studies conducted in America demonstrated that if someone became determined to overcome an addiction because of religious beliefs and moral convictions the final success was almost always guaranteed.”

About 30 years ago I myself was addicted to junk food, smoking, and alcohol. Fortunately, after many pathetic attempts and failures, when I realized I was too week to overcome all those bad habits using my own will power, I started to look for the strength outside of myself. I wanted that freedom and change in my life so much that I even tried the effectiveness of spiritism as at that time I didn’t realize how dangerous it was. But when spiritism failed me too, I finally decided to give God a chance, although at that time I wasn’t even sure He existed. Yet, one day, I was so desperate that somehow I knelt down on my knees and with tears in my eyes I started to beg God to change me, to give me the moral strength I needed and set me free from my addictions.

Soon after that an amazing process of transformation slowly began in my life. As an answer to my desperate prayer I was given a book titled “The Great Controversy” by Ellen G. White. That book made such a huge impression on me that I started to feel a very strong desire to get even more acquainted with this totally new vision of God I have found there. Consequently I started to study the Bible and talk with God using my own simple words. As a result I have experienced the ‘new birth’ and became so effectively empowered that eventually I gained total victory over my bad habits and addictions. Since that time I haven’t touched alcohol nor cigarettes for almost thirty years. Also my diet and the whole lifestyle have been completely transformed. But, what is also very important, I’ve been really enjoying my totally new way of living.

That wonderful experience, which in the Bible is called ‘the new birth’, I could describe using the words of famous Russian writer – Lew Tolstoy, who about his conversion wrote the following words:
“When five years ago I came to believe in Christ’s teaching, my life suddenly changed; I ceased to desire what I had previously desired, and began to desire what I formerly did not want. What had previously seemed to me good now appeared to be evil, and what I regarded as evil now seemed good. It happened to me as it happens to a man who goes out on some business and on the way suddenly decides that the business is unnecessary and returns home. All that was on his right is now on his left, and all that was on his left is now on his right; his former wish to get as far as possible from home has changed into a wish to be as near as possible to it. The direction of my life and my desires became different, and good and evil changed places”.

I know that for some people it might be quite humiliating to admit that they are too weak to be able to overcome their bad habits, unhealthy appetite or cravings on their own, but please forget about your pride and give it a try! You have nothing to lose, and if you only put your heart into it you will not be disappointed. If you need the same empowerment please study the small and wonderful book Steps to Christ by the same author – Ellen G. White. It is available online in different formats (including audio) and free of charge:
http://www.ellenwhite.info/books/audio-sc.htm
http://ellenwhiteaudio.org/books/ellen-g-white-audiobooks/ministry-of-healing-white-estate/

But, please remember that in order to experience the new birth (transformation) and receive the strength you are looking for, you have to carefully study each chapter step by step, meditating, believing and doing exactly what the book says, because only with true faith and whole-hearted involvement you won’t be disappointed. Here is a short passage from this great and inspired book:

“You are weak in moral power, and controlled by the habits of your life. Your promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand. You cannot control your thoughts, your impulses, your affections. The knowledge of your broken promises weakens your confidence in your own sincerity. But, you need not to despair… You cannot change your heart, but you can give your will to God; He will then work in you. Thus your whole nature will be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ… By surrendering your will to Christ, you ally yourself with the power that is above all powers! You will have strength from above, and thus through constant surrender to God you will be enabled to live a new life. You cannot change your heart but God promises to do all this for you through Christ. You believe that promise, confess your sins and give yourself to God. Just as surely as you do this, God will fulfil His word to you. Do not wait to feel that you are made whole, but say, ‘I believe it; it is so, not because I feel it, but because God has promised.’ There is a condition to this promise, that we pray according to the will of God. But it is the will of God to cleanse us from sin! It is the will of God to make us His children, and to enable us to live a holy life! So we may ask for these blessings, believe that we receive them, and thank God that we have received them! It is our privilege to go to Jesus and be cleansed, and to stand before the law without shame or remorse… Consecrate yourself to God in the morning. Make this your very first work. Let your prayer be, ‘Take me, oh Lord, as totally Yours. I lay all my plans at Your feet… Abide with me, and let all my work be done in You.’ This is a daily matter. Each morning you must consecrate yourself to God for that day. Surrender all of your plans to Him to be carried out or given up as His providence shall indicate. Thus day by day you may be giving your life into God’s hands, and your life will be moulded more and more after the life of Christ. Your weakness is united to His strength; your ignorance is joined to His wisdom; and your frailty is merged to His enduring might. So you are not to look to yourself or to let your mind dwell upon self, but look to Christ. Let your mind dwell upon Christ’s love and upon the beauty and the perfection of His character”.

Every morning surrender your life and your mind to God in prayer. Often pray while walking, driving, working, and before each meal, thanking God for His gifts, and asking for empowerment with faith. Immediately after you ask thank Him for improving your taste and giving you strength to overcome your bad habits and weaknesses. Pray more for others than for yourself. God loves you and knows what you need anyway. He appreciates when we think and care about others because the foundation of His nature, His law, government, and all actions is His perfectly unselfish and everlasting love. Keep on doing it every day and you will surely gain victory and as a bonus you will enjoy a wonderful inward peace, and freedom from existential fears.

And, please never get impatient like a wayward child. Don’t get discouraged or give up if you can’t see the results quickly. Remember that even if sometimes you lose a battle it is already guaranteed that with God you will surely win the whole war, simply because He promises it to you in His Word!

Also keep in mind that when you suffer being tempted the periods of strong craving or temptation never last long (usually 5 – 15 minutes), and then they disappear or get much weaker. So be patient and wait for a while. Remember that every time you overcome the temptation you get stronger while the temptation gets weaker and weaker until after some time it disappears completely. Just keep on thanking God and asking with faith for the strength and transformation and you will receive it. God loves you and it is His desire to help you. But He can do it only when you allow Him to work for you and in you. Ask therefore, pray, and submit your life and mind to Him every day using simple words and talking to God as to a loving Father who is almighty and able to solve any problem.

Driving a car, travelling, and especially walking give great opportunity to talk to God, to thank and praise Him for the gift of life, for empowerment, and especially for His gift of the wonderful new eternal life which can be ours through faith in His Son. Keep on reading the Bible and books like the Desire of Ages every day. You can try to memorize some great and powerful Bible verses and repeat them while walking. Remember that unlike other books the Word of God doesn’t only talk about power but it contains the saving and transforming power because it is inspired by Holy Spirit. That is why Apostle Paul wrote about it in the book of Hebrews 4:12 the following words: “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Here are some examples of powerful Bible verses and promises that will give you strength and improve your emotional and spiritual condition if you claim these promises and repeat them with faith, confidence, and thanksgiving:

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10);

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7);

“I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:12-13);

“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2, ESV);

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice! The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7);

“God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1Corinthians 10:13);

“Everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:8);

“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11);

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” (John 6:37);

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defence – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1John 1:7);

“The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.” (1John 1:7);

“If we refuse to admit that we are sinners, then we live in a world of illusion and truth becomes a stranger to us. But if we freely admit that we have sinned, we find God utterly reliable and straightforward – he forgives our sins and makes us thoroughly clean from all that is evil. For if we take up the attitude ‘we have not sinned’, we utterly deny God’s diagnosis of our condition and cut ourselves off from what he has to say to us.” (1John 1:8-10, J. B. Phillips NT Translation);

“Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: old things have passed away; behold, all things are new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17);

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20);

“I urge you (…), offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God (…) And do not conform any longer to the pattern (lifestyle and diet) of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:1-2).

Sources

Cancer threat fails to help overweight brits lose the flab. Cancer Research UK. 25/06/2012:
http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-us/cancer-news/press-release/cancer-threat-fails-to-help-overweight-brits-lose-the-flab