I can eat with the best of them. Really, in some ways I feel like I can hang with Joey Chestnut (winner of Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest several years running). I have always liked food- it’s delicious, a comfort; a great way to have fun with people. Over the course of a few years (it seems like mainly after getting married, but no excuses here), I have gained some weight, almost to the point of being overweight. So a few months back I decided it was time for a change. Not some kind of new year’s resolution, but time for a real, lifestyle change. I started a new diet, started working out hard, and the pounds began to fall off like a pair of nasty old clothes too big for their wearer. It was great. I felt like I had made a real difference in my life. Not only am I a thinner me, I am a healthier me, one that will live longer and provide better for my family. I have to say- I was a little proud.
Recently, our family was out of town and we needed to get something to eat. The kids were freaking out and let’s face it: when the kids need food, you feed them- fast! We found the first restaurant, got out of the car and went in to sit down. Of all the places it had to be, it was a buffet. I didn’t even think about it, but before I knew it, I had overeaten and was starting to feel sick. I guess eyes the size of dinner plates lie to your stomach at times, and this was one of them.
How incredibly similar is that to our habits- our vices that continually tear us down and bring others along with us?
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. – ROMANS 7:15-19
You see, whatever habits, hurts and hang-ups we have, there is a common thread amongst them when we are attempting to overcome them. They always come back. After all, “No temptation has seized us except what is common to man… (1 Corinthians 10:13). We are all united in this struggle. Like a horrible song, oops… we did it again. Don’t fret though- we all do.
For some, they’ve been battling with overcoming their sexual addictions for years. They’ve gotten rid of their computer, canceled all mature rated programs on their TVs; won’t go into stores that sell the magazines, etc… But every time, the addiction bites back. And it will. It’s supposed to. It’s sin, and it’s the devil’s plaything- his every attempt to destroy your life.
So I guess the struggle here is what is it going to take to get us from overeating when the temptation places itself in front of us like a massive buffet plate? Or perhaps “overeating” isn’t the real issue here. It’s allowing yourself to even go into a situation where you know you might fall, and fall hard. It’s about putting up boundaries in place, ones that are clearly known and adhered to so that when this sort of situation arises, you are prepared.
We know sin will rear it’s ugly head again. But we also know that there is an ending to the verse above (1 Corinthians 10:13).
… 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 stand up under it.