Mark and Derek Noel have an incredible story. Mark, the dad, thinks he weighed 460 pounds at his heaviest, though he couldn’t find scales that could weigh him. He talks about the depression, the shame, even the claustrophobia of being that size. He learned that he had a food addiction. Today, he weighs 220 pounds and his son has also lost an incredible amount of weight. There’s still a mental struggle there, but through food journaling, exercise, and, above all, a desire to live, Mark is winning that battle (Megan Messerly, Las Vegas Sun, 10/19/15).
There are a great many people who can relate to the struggle and some who know the success of a story like theirs. A lot of people have eaten themselves into such a state of being, and most people struggle with self-control and wise decisions concerning food especially where it is abundant and easily accessible. I imagine few of those who get themselves into such a state are happy with the results.
There is something weighing on people in a far greater way than this, though. It can happen in the midst of drought and famine. It is not exclusively a “first-world problem.” Sin is a universal burden (Rom. 3:23). The writer of Hebrews even describes it this way. He says, “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us” (Heb. 12:1). David wrote, “For my iniquities have gone over my head; Like a heavy burden they are too heavy for me” (Psa. 38:4).
Sometimes, when people are discussing the sin struggles they are coping with, they say, “I just feel weighed down.” They are describing the effects of guilt and unhappiness, a disappointment and self-loathing produced by a conscience all too aware of the persistent reality of sin. But, instead of addressing the problem, too many try to work it out on their own and never leave the vicious cycle of serving sin. Paul says the ultimate outcome of this approach is death (Rom. 6:23; cf. Jas. 1:15). What can you do when you feel weighed down?
- Be Determined. One older song begins, “I am resolved no longer to linger.” The Prodigal Son said, “I will arise and go to my father and will say” (Luke 15:18). The journey home begins with making up your mind that you need to go.
- Be Dependent. The Prodigal Son looked at the conditions at home and saw his need of the father. He says “my father’s” (Luke 15:17), “my father” (18), “Father” (18), “his father” (20), “Father” (21). The father was able to solve the problem and lift the burden. The son simply had to swallow his pride and go to his father.
- Be Decisive. The boy took action. His resolve led to his return. He went from wanting to walking. As the rest of the parable reveals, the boy didn’t regret his decision. There was celebration and reward in coming home. Contrast that with the burden of staying in sin.
It’s very possible that you find yourself weighed down. What good reason can you give for staying in that condition? Wouldn’t you rather lose the weight? I know you’ll feel better if you do!