I hadn’t seen my parents in three months – so clearly a celebration was in order when they made it out last week! One of the things I love about Nashville is the food selection. I am surrounded by some pretty awesome spots, each with their own unique flare.
I apparently used this visit as an opportunity to completely erase all knowledge of health from my memory. We went out to eat once – sometimes twice – a day. As I’ve mentioned plenty of times before, I’m an all-or-nothing kind of gal so you can imagine the gluttony that took place. If it wasn’t burgers smothered in cheese and bacon then it was sweets – including multiple bags…yes bags…of candy.
The craziest thing about fatty, processed food and sugar is its addictive quality. After the first day or so of eating anything (and everything) I wanted, I could feel my body craving it. As the days went on, the food that was once euphoric was now making me sick.
Having an avid love of metaphors, I can’t help but relate this experience to life on a grander scale. I was reflecting yesterday about why I had gone so overboard with indulging the last week and I realized it was just like the sin that we all face every day. Lust, anger, lying, laziness, sexual impurity…it all has some sort of assuring or good feeling in the moment, eventually followed by feelings of regret and even pain.
When you knowingly allow sin into your life, you start to crave it. What was once a slip of judgement is now developing into a habit. Habits are a lot like dad jokes: when they’re good, they’re good…but when they’re bad, they’re bad. Anyone who has had a bad habit (spoiler alert: that’s all of us) would agree that it is more difficult to break a bad habit than it would have been to just resist the temptation in the first place.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
1 Corinthians 10:13
I know from personal experience that resisting temptation is easier said than done – just like eating healthy. When you consider the benefits of healthy food and the consequences of unhealthy food, the best choice is obvious. Now imagine driving by your favorite fast food joint or passing the candy isle at Kroger…now all of the sudden you are faced with a difficult decision. You begin to imagine the food and how amazing it tastes. You start making excuses as to why you should indulge. Maybe you’re a “one last time” kind of person – always wanting one last hit and then you will make better decisions. “One more night of binging then I’ll start my diet first thing tomorrow morning…” or “One more time then I swear I will give up sex before marriage…”
Whatever your vice is – and you know what it is – know that the enemy is aware of it as well. He knows exactly what to dangle in front of you. Distraction, temptation and guilt – these are three of his favorite moves. He wants you to be distracted so you easily fall into his trap of temptation, followed by feelings of guilt to hold you back from seeking forgiveness and growing from your mistakes.
You see, what he doesn’t want you to know is that you are so much stronger than you think. On your own you may be weak and temptation may be too much to resist – but you aren’t alone.
God gave us the Bible for our souls in the same way he provided natural, healthy food for our bodies – food that nourishes and restores. Pesticides and diabetes were not an issue in the Garden of Eden! We need to take a step back and simplify our thought process. Temptation is 100% psychological.
Do not give temptation any authority. God is the one that gave you life – not the things you have allowed to control you in the past. Decide right now – this very moment – to regain control. You will no longer be a slave to temptation, and when you do come across it, you will keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. He knows all about temptation after all. Take a few minutes to read through Luke 4:1-13. Talk about immense temptation and self control. After reading that, now try to tell me that you can’t walk past the donuts at work…seems a lot easier now that it is put into perspective right?!
Life is ALL about perspective. You can be a victim to temptation, or you can choose a heavenly outlook. You can focus all your energy on how hard it is to resist temptation, or you can use that energy to make a difference in your life and the lives of others. When you aren’t a glutton and eat only what you need and what’s good for you – not only do you prosper, but you have leftovers to share with others. It’s amazing what God can do in and through you if you just give him a little time and attention.
“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”
By Emily Meadows