Pastor Tammey Aichner, First Church of Christ (Disciples), Williamsport; GNC Manager, and United Churches Director of United Campus Ministry. Photo provided

A dear friend of mine is going through chemotherapy treatments. Wednesday morning found her on my heart. After leaving the campus where I minister, I decided to pick up flowers and a muffin to take to her office. She wasn’t there. In fact, she was off receiving her treatment. I left the flowers on her desk but kept the muffin.

Late that afternoon, I noticed it sitting on my office couch. As I finished the 530-calorie muffin, I said to myself, “Ugh! I feel horrible! I am going to fast tomorrow!” Terrible diets do that to us; they make us feel horrible. That day, I had a cookie, a brownie, and then a muffin, just because they were there. I know better!

Every day, people come into my store, looking for weight loss ideas. The first questions I ask them are about their diet and activity level. We need to burn 3500 calories to lose one pound, and the only way to do that is by making better food choices, decreasing the number of calories we intake, and increasing our activity so that we burn more.

For example, I would need to be on the treadmill, at about a 4-5 mile an hour pace, for a full hour, to burn just under 500 calories. Doing that for a week will get me to the 3500-calorie mark to lose one pound. So, this isn’t a one and done. We can’t clean our diets up today and go back to our terrible habits tomorrow. We can’t exercise only after eating a double layer chocolate cake. What we feed on and what we do results in transformation, good and bad.

Often, we yo-yo. We will clean up our diet and increase our activity level for a short time but backslide and put even more weight on. Over time, this leads to increased health risks, and most people find it harder to continue to take the weight off. Making permanent lifestyle changes will improve our success and quality of life. And when we find ourselves at a plateau, we need to reevaluate the intake and output and adjust where needed to continue the transformation process.

Our spiritual transformation requires the same process. What we feed on and what we do results in transformation. We need to spend time in God’s Word. We need to put hands and feet to our faith. This too is not a one and done. It requires, dare I say, daily dedication. We can’t just turn to His Word when we need a quick fix.

By spending time in His Word, by listening to His voice, we begin to change. It may start small. In fact, we may not notice it at all until someone close to us points out the difference. As our diet changes, we find change carrying over into other areas of life. Maybe we are a little more patient with a child or show a little more grace to our spouse. We treat our coworkers with respect. Our hearts, minds, and hands are open instead of closed. We find ourselves ministering to the least, the last, and the lost.

Transformation is uncomfortable at first. Who wants to give up those things that taste good but honestly have no nutritional value? Then as we start to feed on our new diet, we realize that the new tastes better. And when we reach a plateau, we will reevaluate the intake and output and adjust where needed.

As people notice the change, we have an opportunity to give glory to God and share His Word with them.