The Eat-All-You-Want Diet Pill
To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it. Revelation 2:17
As my addiction was was first developing, I lost control of my life in other areas as well. I ate whatever I wanted, stopped exercising, and ballooned up 30 pounds in a year. In residency at the time, I had access to a new drug that promised to block the absorption of fat in my diet. I was supposed to change how I ate, and the pill was meant to help boost a healthy diet, but I simply understood that I could eat whatever I wanted and still lose weight. So, I tried it. I’m probably the only person to ever gain weight on that pill. In my effort to lose weight, I actually increased my calorie consumption because I thought I’d found the key to doing whatever I wanted while getting away with it.
This is a life problem for me. In my addiction, I prayed for God to miraculously remove my struggle without going to treatment or changing my life. When I had to go to treatment, I tried to pick the easiest, shortest one. I’ve often attempted to skate by in life, doing the least amount of work necessary. I want to do nothing and to be rewarded for it. I’ve seen faith as I saw that diet pill. Faith means that God does all the work for me, right?
In my struggle though, I’ve begun to learn that faith means radical obedience, which is often hard work. Recovery takes hard work. Sanctification and growth take hard work. The Christian life as defined by Jesus means daily denial of self to follow Christ. That’s hard work. Looking back, I can see how much effort I put into finding my pills. Now, it’s OK if I have to work that hard at recovery. This hard work of faith isn’t without its reward. In today’s passage, Christ promises an eternal blessing to those who endure and conquer. To the faithful, Jesus promises nothing less than a new life. Now, looking back, comparing my new life to my old one, I can say without a doubt that the new life has made all that work more than worth it.
What is my option after all? Sure, I can sit back, do nothing, and return to the old life, but I absolutely hated that life. Yes, it’s work to daily pursue the new life, but I’m so in love with this new life that I never want to go back. So, today, I’ll gladly keep working on it.