Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Did he say flee from temptation?

In a number of places in the Bible the dangers of temptations are discussed. 2 Timothy 2:22 talks about fleeing from youthful lusts. 1 Corinthians 6:18 instructs us to flee from sexual immorality. Heavy stuff. Warnings we should all heed daily, right?

But the bible doesn't say anything about candy. [Insert mischievous smirk]

I'm not overweight, but I am smart enough to know that every blaze begins with a little flame. Every storm with a single raindrop. Every--alright, you get the picture. So I try to at least be conscious about the things (and quantities) I chose to consume. With the AA Sponsor-like help of my wife, I gravitate toward veggies, the occasional fruit, multivitamins and overall healthy meals. I don't eat out too often and I steer as clear as I can of sodas and your garden variety junk foods. I know, it sounds like a life of taste bud neglect, but it isn't. And eight years in, I've found these habits to be easy on the belly, good for the mind, and great for the wallet.

However, you would think that after so many years of this sort of smart eating I'd be impervious to the addictive temptations of a delicious, chocolaty treat. Uh, nope.

I'd been driving around with some leftover bags of candy that we didn't use at our daughter's recent birthday party. The plan was to be frugal and return them to Target whenever heading in that direction. Yet there they sat, day after day, trip after trip. I honestly must have passed Target 7 to 10 times in the last couple of weeks. No doubt, I was tempted.

I even tried "smart" things like putting a jacket or hat over the Target bag before heading for work in the morning ala out of sight, out of mind. It seemed that somewhere deep down in the recesses of my subconscious (okay, maybe not that deep) I knew that if I got to work and saw the bag in the back seat, I'd instinctively grab it and all would be lost.

Guess what, all was lost.

I didn't flee to Target to return the temptation that took residence in my back seat. In fact, in a matter of an afternoon, I managed to down about four 2-packs of Kit-Kats and one Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. I so caved.

The funny thing is that I wasn't suddenly some lesser version of myself. I was still me; smart dietary decisions and all. So why was it so easy to concede to the temptation? Why didn't more than eight years of developing smart eating habits prevail?

Why? Because we weren't designed to fight temptation—we're designed to flee!

The Bible doesn't say "fight your way through the detrimental wants of life and emerge victorious over your tantalizing temptations." In contrast, it does say in James 4:7 to "resist the devil." Think about that; the temptations we face are stronger than Satin. Like, whoa.

While I'm not going to hell for this (I hope), I do regret taking the warning too casually. It's not like I cheated on my wife. No. It was just some candy. But you get the moral here. Just one flame can undo years of growth.


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