by Harold Smith
from Jerusalem, Israel

I have a testimony of the Lord concerning weight. Four years ago, I weighed nearly 500 pounds. Today, I weigh just under 300 pounds and am continuing to lose. I haven't taken any drugs, am not on any medication, haven't signed up for anybody's program and haven't joined a fitness center - so, how did it happen?

One day, the clouds opened up and a slim spirit dropped out of a bright light. When it landed on me a miracle occured and I instantly lost the weight.

I wish that it had actually happened that way. Unfortunately, it didn't. I offered that up because I was like most who find themselves in this condition - not really ready to face reality when it comes to their body. I wanted God to step in and miraculously - somehow - wave some kind of a wand where I could wake up from this nightmare and be like I was in my twenties. I had arrived at the place where I couldn't put on my socks without assistance. I couldn't walk across a room without having to sit down and catch my breath and I couldn't fit behind the wheel of most automobiles without having them altered in some way. My blood sugar was pounding the ceiling. My heart would alternately go from racing to beating so ferociously, it seemed it would leap out of my chest. My legs and ankles would remain so swollen, if I didn't put my shoes on immediately after swinging my feet out of the bed, I would have to go barefoot the rest of the day, because I would not be able to get them on.

Scales I had been on every diet there was - twice. While they helped a little in the beginning, after just a very short while, the weight would come back - plus more and I would get discouraged. Nothing worked. The only scales I could weigh on were at a truck stop that weighed me in my van and then just the van, subtracting the difference. After awhile, I even quit doing that because it was too depressing.

So what changed?

I became desperate. I came to the end of myself. I had quit ministering (the only thing I was really living for) because what kind of a witness was I to the Power of God in people's lives when I was unable to appropriate it in my own life? I wanted to die. I cried out to God to either heal me or take me because I couldn't live like this anymore. I told Him, after calming down, that I really, really needed His help because I could not do this by myself. I needed His help and would He please do something.

He said, "OK, Harold. I will help you. But this is something you have got to want more than life itself. And you have got to be determined. This is not going to be a quick fix so that you can go back to your old habit patterns and lifestyle once you have lost some weight. You are going to have to acquire a mental attitude that this is going to be a way of life. You are stepping into a new realm of behavior. To walk this way will cost you everything you hold dear. I will help you, but it is ultimately going to be up to you. And you must do only what I say do, not what you think is right or should be done, not what anybody else might think is the way to do it - only how I direct you."

New LifeStyle This was not what I wanted to hear - but, I was desperate. So, I said, "OK, Lord, show me what to do." And He did. He began by giving me some tangible, common sense things to start doing. He said to stay away from carbohydrates, sugar, flour and grease (in essence, all the stuff that tastes good) and to eat more fruit and vegetables. He said to start listening to and become in tune with my body - to only eat when it told me it was hungry. For me, that is about once a day because, sitting at a computer all day, I am not that physically active - my body just doesn't need that much food. To eat small portions and learn to politely say, "no thank you," when offered something. To not eat anything after 8 o'clock in the evening, except on rare occasions when I have no choice. He said to start drinking only water, no coffee, tea or soft drinks - plain water...and lots of it - a gallon or more a day. And He said to move - as much as I was physically able, as often as I could.

I had blown out my knees when I was young playing basketball, so running was out of the question - but, I could walk. So, I began to stretch myself in little ways to start. Like parking in the spot the farthest from the door of the supermarket so I would be forced to walk further when I was the most weary after shopping, when it would do the most good. I started to incorporate dozens of little things like that into my daily routine that pushed me. While I was in the supermarket, I would deliberately walk the outside walls, first once around then, as I got stronger, twice - then three times before I ever began shopping.

I heard of Jack LaLane, the fitness guru of the 50's (who today is in his 90's and still going strong), and his interesting exercise for seniors I thought was neat. He said to lay down flat on your back on the floor. Then, by any means possible - get up. Once up, lie down and do it again, and again, and again until you wear yourself out.

Balance So, I began to do all this stuff. But what the Lord began to do was to heal my heart. He caused me to become aware that the external overtness I was exhibiting was only symptomatic of the real condition of my spirit - a broken heart. He showed me that He made us to be balanced creatures and, like the scales of justice, when we start to exhibit overtness on one spectrum of the scale, it was because the other side was lacking an essential element to counter balance the whole - usually love and acceptance. For me, He said to begin to seek out everyone in my life with whom I had encountered a broken relationship - regardless of whose fault it was - and ask them to forgive me for my part in it. As recently as a year ago, I took my first wife to dinner, 30 years after we had divorced, and did just that.

I found there was no formula, no magic wand - just simple obedience. As I began to do the things He told me, I discovered that compulsion to eat, that drivenness, was not there anymore. I didn't feel a need to eat because the woundedness that drove me to ease the hurt began to lift as I sought forgiveness for my past with others (they don't call it "comfort food" for nothing). I could minister again, because I had a testimony of the Goodness of the Lord in my life - and it was real. His Power was coursing through my being and I knew it - and others began to see it and ask me about it.

I wish I could tell you I have been perfect in this, but I haven't - that's why it has taken me over four years. But, the Lord told me to approach this like a gymnast on a balance beam. To not look at how many times I fall off, but how many times I get up and get back on. There is no condemnation in Him. This is a way of life - so I still don't weigh myself, no scales, no reason to beat myself up for failure. He even told me to give myself a "treat day" once a week when I could eat whatever I desired in moderation. He also told me to pick a "fast day" out of every week and to not eat anything from sundown of one day until, like the Jews end their Sabbath, three stars were visible in the next day's evening sky. He said to not put these two days back to back. He showed me that at just about any restaurant I went to, I could order a piece of meat the size of my fist and two vegetables - that's all I need. I am a strict adherent of Luke 10:7a, so I don't allow my diet to be offensive or a stumbling block to anyone else, eating a sampling of whatever is placed before me. My testimony is not about what I have done, but by listening to His Voice and simply doing what He says to do, it is about what He has done in me.

When I began this journey over four years ago, I was wearing size 6x clothes. Today I fit comfortably in size 3x clothes and with all the walking I am forced to do in Jerusalem, they are becoming loose. I tell my 19 year old son I have lost one of him. Because He is Life, when we embrace Y'shua the Power of Life resides within us to quicken our mortal bodies (Romans 8:11).

Revelation 12:11 contains the key elements for victory. "They overcame the enemy by the blood of the Lamb (which, when we confess our sin to one another, He is faithful and just to cleanse us with that Blood from all unrighteousness and place us back in right standing with Him - 1John 1:9, the Word of their testimony (when we "put on" a garment of praise "in" and "for" all things, it "replaces" a spirit of heaviness or depression - Isaiah 61:3, 1Thessalonians 5:18, Ephesians 5:20), and they loved not their lives unto death (not seeking to preserve our life, we then begin to look upon the things of others as more important than our own, looking for ways to help others - Philippians 2:3-5, 1John 3:16)."

This is my testimony of the faithfulness of the Faithful One in my life as I simply seek to hear His Voice and do what He says to do. You could do everything I have listed here, but if He hasn't spoken it to you, if it's not Life to you, it won't do any good. You must first get before Him and know that He is Good and is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. Then be determined to do what He says - even if it kills you.

"But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."
Hebrews 11:6