Day 9: I could never give up that!

Thought for the Day: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22 – 23)

Self-control is hard. We don’t like to deny ourselves. We don’t think it’s necessary. We make excuses and declare, “That’s nice for someone else, but I could never give up ____________!” (fill in the blank: soda, sugar, cupcakes, smoking . . .)

If we’re relying on ourselves, that excuse may be true. But there’s another level to self-control that too few of us find. In Matthew 19:23 – 24, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven . . . it’s easier for the camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

In other words, Jesus was saying that it’s hard for people who are satisfied with the things of this world to deny themselves. It’s hard for someone who is rich with excess to deny herself and be humble enough to admit, “I must give this up.” When the disciples heard this teaching, they were confused until Jesus clarified; “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (verse 26).

Maybe you’ve heard verse 26 spoken in the common context that God can make us healthy, wealthy, and get us to a new breakthrough. We tend to think of it as saying, “With God, all good things are possible! With God, all lavish things are possible!” But if you study this verse in the original context, it actually means, “With man, it is impossible to deny yourself. With man, it is impossible to make sacrifices. With man, it is impossible to have self-control. But with God, all sacrificial things are possible. With God, all self-control is possible.”

I believe this one little shift in our thinking can make us feel empowered, instead of feeling denied. Rather than giving in to the foods we crave, we can have God’s self-control to make a completely different decision, such as a decision for health . . . a decision for renewed energy . . . a decision for confidence and peace. Most importantly, a decision that honors both our body and God!


  1. Thank you for dissecting Matt 19:26 further, I didn’t think about it in this manner. I now understand more fully my calling and need to give my control over to God even more. I continue to see how things are impossible with my control and that God is calling me to release the hold and give it Him completely. I have to slow down and let Him do the leading in my life and in the arena of food choices He is needed and desired greatly. Thank you so much for Made To Crave, it has opened a whole new chapter in my life.

    • I almost began this reply stating that I began this journey Jan.3,2012…but in reflection I’ve been on this weight control journey since puberty maybe some 40+ years ago. I’ve tried every weight loss suggestion except surgery ( although I did inquire about it ). When I began in Jan. my spirit was so weak and I knew I had this mountain to climb, I for the first time felt hopeless in this area of my life. What I felt God calling me to give up was my busyness…all that distracted me from dealing with the “truths” of my condition. Even my responsibilities in my church and that was most hard for me because I love to serve. Here it is 3 weeks on this journey and my spirit has begun to experience some refreshment from walking with God through this struggle not only on the scale but the peace in my spirit. Thank you MTC, I definitely recommend you as a tour guide on this journey

  2. Once again…you hit the nail on the head! So glad and feel so blessed that God is using you to be an awesome blessing to women everywhere! This renewed thinking isn’t easy (esp. for me), but I know that it carries eternal benefits! Thank You, Lord, for “Made To Crave!”

  3. Hi,
    I just started reading made to crave and the devotional. They are both very good. My problem is knowing the right things to eat and having a plan. There are so many out there. I have tried weight watchers but find I tend to cheat alot. Please pray for me. I really want to take care of this area of my life. I know it is the one area that is my weakest. Please pray for me to be more disciplined and to look to God to fill that emptiness inside of me. Thank you all.

  4. I asked God for a food plan to follow and he gave it to me – no sugar, flour, wheat, pasta, meat, dairy, alcohol. He also put in my hear that if I wanted to really grow spiritually on this jouney, I should not weigh myself until the end of the MTC bible study. That is, I need to redirect my focus from loosing weight to getting closer to God. I was shocked and was convinced that this wasn’t coming from God because it was so limiting. But I have been on this plan for almost three weeks now with less effort than I thought it would take. The next thing that I know I need to do is limit my food intake to 3 meals a day, no snacks. Talk about overwhelming. But I know that God will carry me through and I will continue to put my food issues on His hands so that I can focus on other things besides how much I weigh or what dress size I am. Thank you Lord for your wisdom and guidance. May I continue to follow you faithfully even when the journey gets tough, which it always does. I know with you I can persevere!

    • Michelle,
      I was so glad to here your comment. God has me on a similar plan right now. I started with the Daniels fast for 10 days and then I have been praying hard to see what foods he wants me to add back to my diet. I have dieted so many times but I feel that this time will be different because I am asking Him what he wants me to put
      Into this body that he created. I was actually struggling with the desire to hop on the scale
      This morning until I saw your post. I too had decided to quit weighing until I was done with my fasting. The fast lasts for 21 days and I’m on day 14. Anything that comes from a seed and water is all that’s on it but my time with God has taken cravings away that I never imagined I would be free from. I am currently leading a Made to Crave bible study and I’m getting to watch Him moving in 25 women’s lives plus those of their families. It is so awesome to finally give my food issues to Him and have faith.

      • Mandy,
        I’m on Day 9 of the challenge, a couple weeks behind you, it looks like. Your comment: “I have been praying hard to see what foods he wants me to add back to my diet” hit me between the eyes! Ask God what He wants me to consume, ask the One that created this body how best to fuel it?! Cannot believe I’ve never even thought this before! I’m always so busy trying to deny myself things and asking Him for strength in that mindset, that I haven’t gotten around to asking Him what He designed me to live on…amazing!
        Thanks for sharing your heart so freely, I am inspired.

    • Michelle, your post really sparked my heart! God’s food plan, not mine! I love reading everyone’s *honesty* posts each day. Thanks to everyone for sharing

    • Preliminary research supports the idea that when the typical “three squares” diet is replaced by smaller, more frequent meals, it can help you lose weight, control hunger, reduce blood insulin (a factor in fat storage and inflammation), lower total cholesterol, reduce LDL (bad cholesterol), and many more. Look on page 63 of Dr A’s Habits of for The Science Behind 6 Fuelings.

    • Amen, Sister. That is exactly how I feel…follow your God inspired lead and trust the empowerment and outcome to him…the goal is to clear our channel of communication to him by detoxing of mind clouding sugar and flour, and the physical recovery automatically follows the spiritual recovery….

  5. Heather Bireley says

    As I read through MTC, I am forced to change my thinking. I have always been comfortable asking God to protect my family and thank him for our blessings but never to help me get through something like weight loss. When I turn things over to him, it is so much easier. I still have cravings for unhealthy things, but it is easier. I already feel so much better and I can’t wait to read more in the book.

  6. You have a way of saying it Lysa so it is practical. Thanks! I can relate to the feeling of ‘never being able to give up _______________’. But 40 years later I can say the same thing my grandson would say when being potty trained, “I DID IT!” Not that its not still difficult at times and many times I slip but as the saying goes………….’progress not perfection.’ Thanks Lysa for the reminder that ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” In myself, I am absolutely powerless over _____________ but when I choose to turn my will and __________________ over to God, I am powerful through Him. Isn’t it great to know that when Christ gave Himself for us on the cross that He bought for us not only eternal life but life eternal……..the abundant life that Jesus said He came to give us! I pray for myself and all of us today that we will not quit but continue this journey of faith…………..not in what we can do but what Christ has done for us and is doing in us. Amen

  7. Just want to let you know that your daily posts are making a difference
    As well in the life of men. Thanks for being a blessing to both my wife and I.


  8. I have been reading MTC with a friend as we prepare to lead a bible study in our church in April. It has been a awesome journey I am learning so much and growing closer to God…. and yeah the “weight thing” has become the side benefit. The other day I put my size 12 jeans in the dryer! I have been a Christian for many years but I have never given anything up for lent, it just never really made any true sense to me. It just seemed like a “Religious” act to me. Until this year as the whole idea of self denial and sacrifice rose in my heart I ask God to show me what He wanted me to do. As I woke the other morning, God spoke into my heart… He told me to head North, to stop making excuses and EXERCISE! Yeah the food choice are going very well. God has empowered me and we are making good and healthy choices.. but exercise. YUCK!! Not me. But to honor God I have started… to walk on the treadmill and do 100 situps and some arm work. We are taking it slow but steady and I really want to do it! That is the amazing part… when I ask God to help me, He created the desire in my heart. Oh I anticipate there will be days when I do not want to do this EXERCISE thing but for this season of Lent I am committed to denying myself any excuses,making sacrifices my time, and being a little sweaty and have achey muscles. I am heading North. I see where that lands me later!

  9. DITTO all the raves. I read MTC about 6 months ago and it was really helpful until I began to ‘forget’ about it. I’m in the middle of a 40 day overt sugar fast and sitting here with m&ms and sweet tarts at my fingertips. ACK. My hubs and I went away this weekend for our anniv and so I chose sugar…LOTS of sugar and felt sick. Too much sugar and too much rich food. Back on the horse tomorrow. My only rule is anything that makes me go “WHEEEEEE!” is off limits. Usually sweet treats. And that is what I tend to eat too much of.
    ps LYSA! WHat do you think of “Women, Food and God” by Geneen Roth? Mindful eating has been really incredible for me to try….to slow down, chew and savor whatever my body asks for. I went out for breakfast yesterday and ordered a FRUIT PLATE! NOT something I would usually want!

  10. Evelyn Dunston says

    We haven’t actually started our group to study the MTC (beginning 3/13) but these Challenges are certainly helping – walked right by those infamous Easter eggs at the store today — and they were buy one get one free. Only God working through the Challenges each day could accomplish that!

  11. Keeping my focus on Christ is the key. I often tend to allow myself to drift into that place that says “You should be able to do this”. Today’s reading reminds me that in my own strength I cannot (as has been proven time and time again in my life) but that when I focus on the one who loves me and trust in His strength, the only thing I need to do is call on Him and He gives me both the strength and the desire to obey. His strength is sufficient for me and with Jesus by my side – what glorious victory is mine! Thanks for the verse and promise to cling to today!

  12. For the past several days, I have been working to make my house a healthier home by adding more fruits and vegetables to our diet. Today I started a new daily Bible Study Program that will last for 30 days. Next month I start MTC officially in my church group. I know that in a lot of ways I am entering the program through the back door by starting the 21 day challenge before reading the material provided by MTC. I know that he is beginning to work a miracle in my life. I know I am insufficient to do this by myself. Fortunately, I know that when I am weak, he is strong. I simply have to trust him to lead me into all sufficiency. I am not self-sufficient, I am sufficient in him.

  13. Why is it that after reading this devotion and the responses by others, I am so emotional? My struggles with overeating and dieting have been ongoing from childhood. I believe my frustration comes from the fact that unlike so many ladies who post that they recently discovered God’s power in this struggle, I have understood that concept for years. That is why I beat myself up over my inability to put into practice the self-control and power I know is granted me by the Holy Spirit. I attempt to give up foods, to sacrifice, to fill my life with more truth etc. yet I continue to fail miserably. I was particularly touched by Tina, who admitted that she needs the prayers of others. Please pray that God will bring me an accountability partner and renewed resolve to trust and obey Him. I am hopeful that I can stop circling this mountain and head north.

    • I understand your struggle. This has been part of my prayer life for a long time. But I know God has a reason for not making me a size 10-12. There must be something bigger He is trying to teach us. I know that I have to fight this battle daily. I heard Tony Evans talk about David and Goliath recently and I have been trying to figure out what are the five stones God wants me to use to fight my battle of weightloss with. I just want to be free from constantly fighting. I don’t want to be jealous of my skinny friends, or the girl next to me on the treadmill. Lord, help me to just keep looking up to you! I know you have good plans for me! Jeremiah 29:11

  14. Thank you for this study! I never thought of giving my “food” journey to God. We know he can part the waters but sometimes we forget he can take care of the “small things” (my human mind puts this as a small thing but sometimes it seems giant). Soda is my biggest down fall, it is my “comfort” when stresses are overwhelming. I realize I haven’t fully trusted God to be my comfort. Praise the Lord that He is my comfort!

  15. It is a daily struggle,and for me to fully trust God not only in my eating but my attitude which gets me down, because of my irritabilety. Sometimes when things seem really hard especially in the evening I just repeat God ‘HELP’ That has helped me get through some tough times.

  16. What I am realizing is this: RENEWING OF OUR MINDS IS AN ONGOING PROCESS. We must not give up.I have read MTC
    book twice and currently am on my third journey with the audio version. I also am on my third trip through MTC devotional.God speaks to me each time and the strongholds of eating too much sugar and eating for the wrong reasons are coming down. I am a man and am being blessed,challenged,and changed by MTC!

  17. Thank you again. This is so true. We truly cannot do anything that God wants without fully surrendering to Him.

    I binged last night on chips and dips and cookies and milk. Ugh. I was thrilled that I had been good all weekend, and now my abstinence is blown.

    Well, praise God that His mercies are new every morning. And you know what? I am still changing. I am not the person I was. God is great.

  18. Kimberly Robinson says

    One of the valuable lessons I have learned in the past few months has been that there are things that I needed to give up, because they are an unrelenting stronghold in my life. Physically and emotionally they did damage because they were a poor and poisonous crutch. The good news was that shortly after I gave them up, I got peace and deliverance from their hold on me. Believe.. BELIEVE that many times if we would just let *GO* of things we’d find ourselves free to embrace something so much better.

  19. i have just recieved my book made to crave and i am absolutley loving it soooo much. i can relate to Lysa so much in the book. LYsa thank u so much for a priceless gift. God bless u. xx

  20. This posting is a year after the fact, but Nikki, if you are still needing or wanting a prayer partner I would be honored to connect with you. I saved the 21 day challenge emails and am on my journey now. A bad car accident caused me to take notice of what I am doing to myself and has blessed me with the opportunity to have the time to take care of myself – fully. I pray God is continuing to bless you all on this constant journey.

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