There was the before, when I saw them last. We hugged and kissed, said goodbye. Then, the two weeks in the between. No one I knew saw me during that time, it could have interfered. I was transforming. I lost between 12 and 15 pounds in two weeks. The noticeable pounds. The ones you lose after the first big loss. The first shedding.
Then, the after. When my wife saw me, she was in the kitchen window. We have stairs down to our front door — I skipped down them. She said she’s not seen me move like that in twenty years. A metamorphosis. I coaxed my host — my body — into doing what I wanted it too. It took me years to understand it. And this is how I did it.
The Grecian body sculptors, who’d learned their art through geometry, and dissection, knew many things. Things that we are just beginning to understand.
The animal – your body – wants to live. It wants to be lean. To run and leap like a gazelle. It wants to climb and jump from great heights. It wants to reproduce. All in all, at the head of its greatest desire is to survive. And it has an arsenal of hormones to release to do just that, survive.
It isn’t as though there is some hidden, fountain of youth across a great sea of struggle, and disappointment. The fountain of youth is inside of your body. You just need to learn the art of husbandry and learn how to look at your body – your flesh – for what it is: a host. Then, to master it. To deny it. To deny your flesh- you must learn to separate yourself from it. Not in a New-Agey metaphysical sense. Your body is just a temporary dwelling that you will leave when you die. Before I lose you, let me explain what I mean.
Ancient man saw his body as something separate from his mind. The Greeks likened it to Prometheus — bound to the earth through the flesh — the body. Ancient man also believed that man’s consciousness was in his belly because that’s where all passions came from. And at your first reading of this you may disagree with them. However, go without eating long enough and you may start to believe them.
I’d just say it like this: your body is controlled by its passions – mainly its desire for food and water. Master it. The Bible says you body, your flesh, is being corrupted by it’s desires. Once again, you must deny your body, your flesh… and master it. It is tyrannical, and will muster all it’s power to convince you of one thing, saying “Feed me. Please me. Keep me happy or I will make your life miserable.”
Be warned. Your flesh is a liar. If you give it everything it wants you will not be happy. You will be miserable. If you deny it. If you manage it and take as much care of it as you do your car, your house, or whatever else you love. It will serve you and not the other way around.
Right now, some of you are listening to it. “This guy Shawn is crazy. Wanting you to consider yourself as separate from your body.”
And I’ll say, “You’ve tried to diet before and nothing has worked. Everything I’ve told you is in the manual written by the one who created your body – the Bible. Your body is under the law of sin and death. Consider yourselves dead to sin.”
And your body, your flesh, will say, “Don’t listen to him. He is telling you to deny me.”
And like the Master in the desert, when he was tempted by the evil one and quoted scripture. I will do the same… To your flesh, I will say, “1 Peter 4:1–5 1Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. 4In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you; 5but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.”
Be good to yourselves today. Be strong. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.