I have a horrible habit when it comes to dieting. I am not one of those people who can eat the predetermined villainous foods in moderation. I just can’t. If I have a cheat day, it leads to me making exceptions for one more soda, one more bite of chocolate, one extra slice of pizza until I am so far off course that I don’t even bother to reset my sails:
“How’s the diet going, Steph?”
“Oh, you know. It’s not.”
I have done this and will probably continue to do this for the rest of my life. I am the type of person who can only succeed with dieting if I cut everything bad out without compromising for cravings or holidays. Just being honest.
I was pondering this the other day and discovered a commonality between my dieting failures and life as a Christian. Though all sin is sin in God’s eyes, we as individuals have different thresholds of strength depending on which variant of the Seven Deadly Sins we experience, whether it be lust, gluttony, greed, slothfulness, wrath, envy, or pride. Most of those words you probably skimmed over, but there was at least one that had you readjusting in your seat, wasn’t there?
Wasn’t there? Come on. We’re friends here.
Though I am certain I—as we all have—have struggled with all of these sins at certain points in life, this post is about what I believe is personally my biggest stumbling block—gluttony. My favorite foods are my favorites for a reason. I love soda. I love pizza. If I could drink and eat those every day for every meal and not gain weight, I would absolutely do it.
What I don’t realize in the moment I’m stuffing my “gob” with multiple slices of cheesy, pepperoni deliciousness (I learned that word from Disney’s Brave, by the way), I’m not only breaking my diet, but I’m actually sinning. I am killing two birds with one stone, here. Not only am I canceling out all the hard work I put into losing weight, but I’m not practicing self-control. I’m like a starving lion encountering an unsuspecting heard of impalas in the savanna. Sometimes, I eat so fast I don’t even taste it…
Seriously, though. I stop counting slices and just eat until I feel sick. Why is this wrong, you may ask? Currently, in our society, we have a battle going on between unattainable bodily perfection and unaccountable eating habits in the name of acceptance. Some people are skinny by nature or as a result of medical issues; some people are heavier by nature or as a result of medical issues…
And then some people, like me, are in complete denial and want to eat whatever they want without a side of guilt. That is what makes it wrong. You know who you are.
The bible says, in 2 Timothy (1:7) “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” To me, this is saying that my gluttonous inner lion is in stark contradiction to who I am in Christ. Put it in perspective this way; when I overindulge myself with those extra slices of pizza because I “just can’t help myself,” I am denying Christ, because He has already given me the ability to say no. This is evident in 1 Corinthians 10:13:
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
The question is not whether the temptation is there or not—the question is, “Are you going to fall for it? Are you going to imply to Jesus by your actions that He is not enough to make you turn away?”
It’s hard. I know. Even as I write this, I know there are going to be days ahead of me where I still yield to the want for an extra soda or a couple extra slices of pizza. But here’s the crazy, amazing, unfathomable thing about the future…
GOD HAS ALREADY FORGIVEN US FOR IT! Jesus has already paid the price for not only the sin of yesterday, but for tomorrow, too. When you fall off a bike, you do not have to re-learn how to ride a bike. You simply dust yourself off and get back on. Right? Following Jesus is essentially the same way; it’s not about how many times you fall, it’s about how many times you let Him help you up.
God is constant; God is consistent. We humans are not, but letting our ships go off course tomorrow is no excuse to let it continue in the wrong direction in the days that follow. The beauty of God is that He offers unwearied, unfailing love and forgiveness to us on both our bad days and good days. The beauty of humans is visible when we are willing to repent of our shortcomings, admit responsibility for the direction our ships are going and ask God to be the wind in our sails who redirects our route.
“It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.” – Proverbs 25:2
That is one of my favorite bible verses. It can be painful to let go of sin, especially this day in age, where society lives by a mantra of “If it feels good, do it! If it’s not hurting anyone else, do it!” Often, it feels like we are basically holding our potential for living a God-filled life hostage unless God lays out the blueprints for the moment (or our entire lives) out before us. Proverbs 25:2 shows that it is okay to ask God, “Why?” but we must ask this while on the journey of seeking out His glory, not like a petulant child who won’t budge unless all of our questions are answered first.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t let yesterday’s sin be an excuse for tomorrow’s. Let yesterday’s forgiveness give you hope for tomorrow, and know that when you accepted Christ as your Savior, it was not under the condition that you would be perfect; on the contrary. It was an agreement to remain imperfect, but a promise to find your strength in Him when you can’t find it in yourself.
That, ultimately, is the greatest loss when falling to the temptation of any of the Seven Deadlies. Not so much that our ship has gone astray, but that we did not use the opportunity to bring glory to God.
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