Ever wonder where the name “First Place” came from? It started with the faithful folks at Houston’s First Baptist coming together to create a Christ centered weight loss program. They wanted a scripture verse to represent the biblical precepts of the program. The scripture from Matthew 6:33 fits perfectly. Jesus was sharing with his disciples on a hillside on the edge of the Sea of Galilee, probably near Capernaum. Those folks were worried about so many things like what they would eat, how they would clothe their families, and provide shelter. Jesus knew this, and Jesus said, “seek first” the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things would be added to you as well. We worry about some of the very same things. Food can be thought consuming and worrisome. Jesus said seeking Him first would be the way to successfully navigate through life. His promises are true. Jesus keeps his word. Seeking God in all areas of my life has provided such joy and strength; nothing on this earth can compare.
For me, a life-changing provision is His Strong Security – Psalm 9:10 says, “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.” NIV. Lots of us have suffered from bouts of insecurities at some time or other. Most common causes of insecurity are:
- Fear of rejection – we try too hard to be everything to everybody. We do everything we can to be accepted and fit in. We are constantly apologizing. I suffered from approval addiction for years, and it was exhausting! I still want everyone to be my best friend, but at least now I am not crushed when I know it just isn’t so.
- Fear of abandonment – we are afraid to trust anyone. We have no reason to believe he will leave us; He is the faithful one. He cannot desert those He has adopted. He is the Father that is there to guide us through wise choices with our food and activity.
- Fear of discovery – we live fake lives; we strive for unattainable perfection. We believe the lie that if I am perfect, no one will know how flawed and imperfect I am. Depression, eating disorders, and anxiety can become issues if we continue to live in the fear of discovery. The beautiful truth is God sees and knows everything about us, and loves us anyway. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (NIV). How freeing it is to live life as your true, authentic self, exactly the way God created you to be.
- Fear of failure – we decide never to try to lose weight again, thinking, “I cannot bare to fail one more time.” I remember thinking this very thing when I started First Place at my church in 1993. I am thankful God helped me overcome my fears, and I stepped out in faith. Faith truly is the Victory that overcomes the world and overcomes your fear that you will not be a success in FP4H. You will. He provides strength, and it grows from our obedience.
Why First Place for Health? Because Jesus wants all four parts of us, body, soul, mind, and spirit. Seek Him and His Kingdom, and He promises to take care of the rest. Twenty-five years later and I am still seeking Him First, and I can testify all His promises are true!
Vicki Heath is the National Director of First Place for Health. Vicki is a certified fitness instructor for the American Council on Exercise, a certified life coach and Wellness Coordinator for her church in Edisto Beach, SC. Vicki is an author of the books Don’t Quit Get Fit, Wellness Journey of a Lifetime and My First Place. She strives to bring others into the Kingdom through health and wellness.