So many times, we go down a road we shouldn’t. We watch that show that we know is too violent. We entertain a thought that we know we should flee from. We grab that bag of ____________ (fill in the blank) and just keep on eating.
We know going in, that going down that road is going to result in nothing good. But still we do it. Why is the pull so strong that even knowing better, we jump in anyway? For what reason do we willingly give up our reason, and knowingly participate in our own destruction?
Ok, that one sounds over the top. But who doesn’t know smoking causes cancer? Who is unaware that obesity carries heart disease, diabetes, and a host of other problems with it? Who doesn’t know that a simple flirty conversation can lead to something more?
Yet we continue to dance with the devil, whether he comes packaged as an oversized bag of Cheetos and a 2 Liter of Pepsi, or a view on website that just happened to pop up. Or maybe it’s by responding to the suggestion that “it’s just this one time…”.
If we’re to take Jesus at his word, even spending time thinking about a wrong thing reveals a problem in our heart. He used the “s” word, but we don’t want to hear too much about that. It makes us uncomfortable, and draws a line in the sand that we’d rather just see disappear. Especially when it’s our own particular vice we’re confronted with.
I really admire people who can say no to things; who have a discipline about them; a level of self-control that carries them through these challenges. I also worry about those who can’t seem to say no to something, whatever it is.
Addiction’s addiction, whatever your pill happens to be. None of it ends well. We can be addicted to Facebook, smart phones, danger, excitement, sex, drugs, rock-and-roll, fame, pain, power, food, football, watching a TV series, and even working out (yes, even working out). I’m pretty sure the list is probably longer.
Here’s a test. Try doing without the one thing that you say you can do without. Do it for a day. Just a day. If it’s something that really has a hold on you, you might not be able to. At that point, you might start making excuses like, “This is stupid, I can do what I want anyway.” Houston, we have a problem.
What we need is balance. But balance requires clear and right thinking, and that’s hard to do when we’re obsessing. So how do we get there? How can we beat our own propensity for landing in the same old problems?
One way is replacement. Carve out the bad thing and replace it with something better. Try a healthier snack sometimes, instead of the whole package of ____________ (fill in the blank). Sometimes it takes small steps, but small steps can really take you somewhere, if you keep on taking them.
Be careful who you associate with. If the people you hang around with are doing the wrong things, you probably are too. But if they’re trying to improve, then you probably will too. Get around people who will lift you up.
Love what you do, and love the people around you. Love them more than the thing you’re tempted to do. It’s in that space, where many people find their reason “not to.”
Finally, never discount the power of prayer. There’s something to it that goes beyond normal comprehension. When even small steps aren’t possible, we need someone bigger than all of it. That would be the One who made you.
Let’s quit causing problems for ourselves. Instead, let’s start making progress. It won’t always be easy, but it will always be worth it!