Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Mid-Week Message - Temptations

"No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it."  1 Corinthians 10:13 (MSG)

My weakness is sugar.  Candy, cookies, cakes, pies, ice cream.  All those wonderful treats that most people are able to enjoy a small amount of draw me in and I can't stop indulging.  I will eat until I am sick and still want to eat more.  Once I get a taste, it becomes my only focus.  Like an addict, I will go to great lengths to obtain more.  I would be perfectly content eating nothing else.  I know that about myself and it isn't something that I like admitting.  

I guess each of us faces something that tempts us beyond what we think we can endure.  If that weren't so then there wouldn't be so many self-help books and support groups.  Whatever the action or substance is becomes more powerful physically and mentally in our lives than we could ever have even imagined.  Not only do we develop overwhelming cravings but we also carry the guilt associated with not being able to say "no" and for how it changes us and effects those around us.  How we wish we could just gain a solid foothold and we pray and beg the Lord to set us free from our captor.  

Whatever it is that we battle, we must understand that Satan will move in and use it to create a chasm between us and our Lord.  Guilt and shame can become a huge wall that separates us from openness with our Savior.  Our self-esteem is ruined so we can't allow ourselves to believe He still loves us,  that we can find forgiveness or that He can cleanse us and set us free.  

On August 1, 2017, I was deeply engulfed in this exact situation.  My life for months had been consumed by food.  My high weight had soared to an unbelievable number and I found that I could not even close my own car door.  I had to have someone close it from the outside and it was terribly humiliating to me.  On that day I had to take my car into town for an oil change.  As I was driving I found that I couldn't think of anything else except a dessert sold by one of the fast food restaurants.  For some reason, which I now realize was the Lord's intercession, I got angry and began talking out loud.  I remember exactly what I said.  "These thoughts are not from the Lord because He does not tempt me.  These thoughts are not my own because I do not want to live this way.  That means they can only be from one other source.  Satan, leave me alone!  I belong to Jesus Christ and am covered by His blood.  You are not allowed to do this to me.  In the name of Jesus, leave!"  Then an amazing thing happened.  The thoughts disappeared immediately.

I have not had any of those foods since that day.  I finally understood that God's Word applied even to me.  I could resist the devil and he would flee from me.  How I wish I had made that discovery before I had spent so much of my life losing a battle that I didn't even need to fight.  Each time those thoughts come to mind now, I counter them the exact same way and they vanish.  Since that amazing day I have lost one hundred pounds.  No one has to shut my car door for me now and I am beginning to get back out to meet with friends again.  

Telling you this story has been on my mind for many months.  Friends who know my story have encouraged me to write about it.  As a Chaplain, I have been reluctant to admit to what I had done to myself.  Through the tender love of the Father though, I realized that maybe my story could help someone else that is struggling with something similar.  I am not an addictions counselor and would never say this is the solution for everyone.  However, I have put it into the hands of the One who loves us all and He will use it in whatever way He sees fit.  

I pray for each of you and for any struggle that you might be facing.  I don't know what your battle is but I know Who does and I know that He has an answer for you just as He had for me.  The encouragement that I can offer is simply to immerse yourself in His Word and take it to heart.  His promises are for each of us.  Everyone.  No one is excluded.  Grab on and don't let go.

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