So, yesterday I shared a secret confession – I’ve never fasted longer than 1 day. Until 18 months ago, that is. As promised, I wanted to share some insights from my first venture into denying myself food so I could focus on the Bread of Life. Here is the first:
Hunger is not cumulative. I imagined hunger pains that would become so great that I couldn’t withstand the temptation to eat. False. I discovered I COULD overcome the urge to eat as long as I took some preventative measures, like averting my eyes from food commercials or avoiding preparing large meals for my family. I quickly learned that when I saw food, the hunger pain grew. When I distanced myself from food, the hunger dulled. Now, the hunger didn’t go away, but it definitely became more manageable. Is the underlying truth as clear to you as it is to me?
Whatever temptation you struggle with – gossip, discontentment, lying, self-centeredness, anger – the closer you get to the fire, the more likely you are to get burned. Let me give you an example: if you struggle with discontentment with your home, watching home decorating shows may simply serve to ignite your discontent. As you watch home makeovers, you may be tempted to look at your own decorations and not be thankful for what you have. In this way, your “hunger pains” just grew! But, when you avert your eyes – when you avoid watching those particular shows or randomly browsing Pottery Barn – your discontentment dulls. Over time, you may even find that you become appreciative of all the beautiful furnishings God has allowed you to have. The theory is true for any temptation. You fill in the blank.
The bottom line is overcoming temptation is easier when you take preventative measures to avoid the problem area. In other words, get your hands out of the cookie jar!
What about you? What temptation gets the best of you? Maybe we can help each other!