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The Annoying Call of Temptation

James 1:13-18

13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;

14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.

15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.

17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

 

After spending three months (the holidays) eating all I wanted, like Queen Antoinette in all her glutinous glory, I started the New Year with a strict boundary around what I was allowed to eat. I am guilty of being that person who eats her emotions, so once a year, since 2015, I fast for 30 days to remind myself to choose God over food.

I found it a lot harder to operate within the boundary I had set this time. There were moments I could have sworn that I heard pizza and ice cream calling out for me. In my mind, I would have full on debates about why I should eat them. Oy…It was agony as I realized that temptation does reason with me and does it with intelligence. The good news is, I don’t believe in beating myself up. I understand what it means to overcome things that are hard, and this time around I had a lot more going on. I had to push forward using more inner strength.

In the book of James, we learn that eating itself is not sinful. However, when we allow ourselves to be dragged away by our desires (even when they are not necessarily evil), our actions become harmful to our lives. Thus, we develop a sinful pattern in our behavior turning that part of our life away from God.

For me, food became a crutch that took the place of God in certain areas of my life. In return, those areas became stunted, and the taste of freedom was no longer attainable. I was living out a stagnant cycle that didn’t produce fruit. The action of eating became robotic and instinctual, so change took mental commitment within a boundary—willpower.

Food may not be your struggle, but we all face a variety of temptations that move us away from God. Evolving a new pattern takes work, and what has been successful for me may not resolve for you. After all, there is no such thing as a cookie cutter solution. Personally, though, without time in the word and an inventory of my concerns, living within a boundary is a lot harder.

The word of God encourages, it lifts me up and reminds me of the unfailing power of God in and through my life. Writing out an inventory of my concerns gives me a bird’s eye view, which usually brings about clarity. Once I realized what was emotionally getting at me, and I trusted the promises in scripture, the temptation to shove food in my mouth was no longer an annoying factor. My thirty days became much easier, and sticking to a set boundary throughout the year ahead became foreseeable.

My commitment to remember that food is not my Savior, Counselor nor my mighty Father who loves me and will lift me up as He guides me through anything I am struggling with, is for life. My boundary with food is no longer a wall that feels like a dictatorship. Admittedly, I still love a delicious slice of pizza, but its temporary satisfaction that kept me in a downward spiral no longer satisfies.  Even if I feel all sorts of feelings eating delicious comfort food, my taste buds know a better choice that brings about freedom, peace, and true comfort. That is turning to God even when turning seems hard. A little bit of faith when we have lost hope in certain areas of our lives is all we need for His light to shine into those dark spots (Mat 17:20)! The first step is the hardest, but I promise each step will get easier.

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