Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The Solid Rock"1 (Lyrics)
Psalm 139:14a – I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (KJV)
I am middle-aged. I used to be slender. Now I am becoming more shapely — box-shaped, that is. I want to get back to the figure I had when I was twenty years old and felt confident walking down the beach. So, I try to eat more fruits and vegetables, go for walks, and avoid evening snacks. I've read several diet and exercise books and have a basic idea of what I need to do to stay healthy. Still, if I'm honest with myself, I just want to fit into my single-digit-sized jeans again!
Strains of To dream the impossible dream … go through my head. Photos of attractive, young, flat-waisted women abound in advertising, compounding the "I'm not good enough" syndrome. I feel like I'm a marked-down, sale-rack, looked-over dress, not the mannequin-worthy, expensive, sought-after, exclusive dress.
Still, I try to do little things to keep those scale digits steady or in decline. It's hard work.
However, I went on vacation for three days. While on vacation, I drank soda and ate French fries, cheesy snacks, chocolates, toaster pastries, even peanut butter and jelly on white bread (ooh, shivers). I ventured into the forbidden.
When I returned home and it was time for a meal, I had a salad and a glass of water. That salad was so good! The water actually quenched my thirst. I considered dessert (sugary stuff), but found that I didn't want it. I had another salad instead. I ate the healthy food because, over time, I'd developed a taste for it. The Lord had helped me to want what is good for me. On vacation, I thought that I would treat myself to whatever food I craved — and I did. I learned, however, that after a day or two of initial indulgence, I didn't feel satisfied. I felt gross. When I lifted all limiters, I was not truly giving myself a treat. I was giving myself something false — emptiness. How ironic that what was supposed to feed me and fill me did not serve my nutritional needs. Those quickly-absorbed calories were enjoyable for a few minutes, but they left me wanting. It's like I couldn't get enough.
I have a friend who is a recovering alcoholic. She said, "One is never enough; a hundred is never too many." I know what she means.
I might joke about food issues, but sin is like junk food. It looks so good; it calls to us. It's everywhere, on billboards, in stores, even in our homes: on television, in books, on the computer. It does not satisfy. It leads to death. Will-power fails. Resolutions evaporate. Plans go awry. Formulae don't work. How, then, do we battle against sin, against the power our flesh has over our best efforts?
We absolutely cannot rely upon ourselves — trust me, I know! Who can help us? Jesus. Trust Him. He knows the number of hairs on our heads. He created us. His thoughts toward us are precious. When we respond to Him in love, the sin battle fades. It is the power of His love that gives us strength. It is His love that satisfies. And when we mess up, "treat" ourselves to sin, He still wants us back right away. Sin separates us from God. When we want closeness with Him more than the false, instant gratification that this world offers, then sin loses its pull on us.
To Jesus, I'm not a marked-down, looked-over, tatty sale-item. I am costly and beautiful, purchased by Him with His own blood. He has clothed me in His righteousness. I am loved — and so are you!
Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, that You understand everything, every battle, every thought. Thank You that You are intimately acquainted with all our ways. Please help us to want You more than anything, more than any sin. You are so worth it. Amen.