I thought that if I started my diet a day early I'd avoid the pressure of the New Year's Resolution. I'd ease the psychological burden of having to keep pace with the calendar. This was just a random decision to eat less taken on December 31st. Perverse I know.
Breakfast went well. Healthy Porridge. But I was seriously hungry by 11am!
Lunch was some "Skinny Beetroot Soup". Now I like Beetroot. But it appears that I like the pickled, sweetened, added sugar variety. Because this soup tasted healthy, in the same way raw kale tastes healthy. But I soldiered on and not even a hint of butter was seen near my whole grain brown toast.
Dinner was the issue. We had people round. It was a low fat Chicken Jalfrezi. But if you put enough in then you can clock up the calories anyway. Its just takes resolve to cope with the volume!
And then having blown it... what the heck! Get that Mississippi mud pie down you, with an apple tart chaser. All generously laden with cream. Followed with some chocolates. I lost count.
My shortest diet ever.
I shouldn't have believed the newspaper article I read. It offered help from a top personal trainer and a life coach to the stars. I didn't get much further than tip 1: "Learn to think. 'I can!'"
The problem is that "I can't!". And that news is much more liberating than "I can!". Because we're not created to do "I can". We're created to do "I can by God's strength!"
No one had more right to think that he had lived the "I can!" attitude when it came to serving Jesus than the apostle Paul. His résumé to a single minded determination to keep going.
2 Corinthians 11: 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea... 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.
Take that Jason Bourne!
But Paul didn't want people to think that he had extraordinary abilities. He went on to say...
30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
He wants people to know, "He can't!". He goes further. All his failures have been God's way of teaching Him that "He can't!". And that he doesn't have to.
2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
It can be easy for Christians to think that they need to show the world that "We can!". That what will attract people to the gospel is a set of sorted people, with winning smiles, enjoying the middle class dream. But that's not the Bible's view of the Christian life.
Time and time again the Bible shows us people who can't. From Abraham to the Apostle Peter it is littered with demonstrations of how we fail when we depend on our own wisdom and strength.
We need to remember that strength is found in admitting that "We can't!" Only then we we depend on the One who can.