I admit it: I have issues.
I’m certain this is not a surprise to anyone, especially my family, but I need to say it ‘out loud’ and confess: I have things in my life which really trip me up and leave me feeling regret, guilt, and a desire to ‘do better’ in the future.
Truth be told, there are several ‘issues’ like that in my life.
One of them caused a problem for me…again…the other day.
I worked through it, but I thought: Maybe others can relate, and my sharing can help you.
Are you wondering what my ‘issue’ is?
Are you trying to ‘fill in the blank’?
The reality is that I could share my struggles with many things, but the one thing I am willing to share publicly–at least right now–is my SUGAR issue.
I love sugar.
Are you disappointed? Did you hope I was going to ‘confess’ something more sinister?
Sugar, for me (and HUGE numbers of Americans) is a SERIOUS issue–with serious health implications.
Here’s just one article on sugar and it’s contribution to many ‘inflammatory’ diseases: https://experiencelife.com/article/sugar-breakdown/
Here’s the thing: This issue has SPIRITUAL implications as well!
NOTE: If you’re reading this thinking I need to ‘relax’ about this, think of the pattern…
In some ways, it’s similar to almost any other temptation: It promises something good, when in reality all it can deliver is bad.
In sugar’s case, it promises the quick taste and jolt of energy, but ultimately it leads to increased cravings for more, a sugar ‘crash’, and a need for still more energy assistance. Thus begins a ‘downward spiral’ that can lead to health problems such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, digestive issues, skin problems, and many others.
In that light, a cookie or ‘fun sized candy bar’ just doesn’t seem worth it, does it?
From a Spiritual standpoint, it stomps all over the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ that is Self-Control (see Galatians 5:22-23)
…and in that sense, it is like alcohol, lust, greed, etc.
In my case, the other day, sugar got the best of me.
October 31st started out strong. I had some fruit (natural sugar) for breakfast, some peanuts as a mid-morning snack, a light lunch…doing fine, despite candy and cookies all around.
Then, as the afternoon progressed into evening and I started to give out candy to trick-or-treater’s, I decided that I ‘deserved’ one of my favorites…then another…then another. Soon, the cookies were out, etc.
By the time I went to bed, I was feeling bloated, discouraged, with irritated skin, upset stomach…and the feeling that ‘I gave in…again!‘
And as I lay in bed, praying about my day, the one thing I was very happy for was the Grace of God!
“The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
That’s the great news–because of the compassion of the Lord, in His grace, there is always a new day ahead!
Because of Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf, those who’ve acknowledged Him as Lord and Savior can have sins–any sins (even repeated ones) forgiven and have the slate wiped clean!
1 John 1:9: “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”
Again, you might be thinking, ‘Lighten up Dave! You’re talking about SUGAR!’. However, I know that for myself, this is an issue of self-control, which the Holy Spirit convicts me of. I know that, giving into these cravings–like any other kind of craving–is spiritually unhealthy and damaging. For you, it might not be an issue…but for me, it is.
And it’s a relatively ‘safe’ way of illustrating important points.
We all have ‘issues’ that trip us up. Sins that promise freedom, but only deliver enslavement. We have cravings…lusts within ourselves which, when followed, can lead to our spiritual, relational, physical, financial, personal, even vocational destruction.
In contrast to that, Jesus says that He has come to give us “Life, to the full” (John 10:10)…and this is a MUCH better promise than the promise of a cookie!
So, next time you’re tempted to give in to that craving/lust/temptation, think about the implications. Don’t give in, but instead choose to move toward the Lord–His grace, His promises, and His heart for you is much, MUCH better than the promise of your ‘issue’.
Great is His faithfulness!
His Love NEVER fails!