A few weeks ago I had decided that if my daughter’s dummy goes missing again I would see how she does without it. It was one of those decision made without really thinking about the fear and trepidation that would follow when it actually came to pass. Two nights ago dummy dummy was nowhere to be found. I looked high and low, and panicked. All the spare dummies are also awol – our dummy count went from four to one and now disaster to zero. I asked Jenny where it was – she told me confidently it was in the bin. Then she told me it was in the fish that was in the cake!! Not very helpful. So with a prayer I told her that it was gone. She did ask for I a few times that evening but went to bed without much of a protest. The next morning she did ask for it and the poor thing walked around the house trying out her dollies little plastic dummies and bottles – she looked like an addict trying to get a fix but finding none, gave up.
We are now on day two – two nights normal sleep with no dummy and this morning there had been no request for dummy dummy at all. Phew – have we made it or is she plotting some kind of terrible revenge??
It got me thinking about what are my dummy dummies – what things do I hold too close to that have become an addiction. Habits that are comfortable but destructive. Sins that are well worn that you keep going back to because they are too comfortable. Why can I not quit them as easily? Maybe the hold is too long and too deep. But ff dummy was there Jenny would be using it – the same is with my sin and bad habits – the environment is there, you are always tripping over temptation. If I truly want to give some of my junk up I would need to take radical measures – to cut myself off from the environment that holds temptation and also to have some intervention. Jenny did not willing give up her dummy – she had outside help. I need outside help too and thankfully I have a Father God who can play the parent in this.
1 Corinthians 10:13 13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
Lord, when I am tempted to pick up my junk and sin, to turn to old habits for comfort, help me to trust them to you. Help me to look for your way out.
I made the discovery on Monday and since then it has been dancing in the back of my mind. Yummy, sticky, marshmallow chocolate coated eggs are back on sale at Woolworths!!!! Those strips of four sumptuous mallows are a big downfall of mine – they display them in baskets in the queue as you wait to buy your groceries. They even sell them 3 strips for 2 sometimes. For someone like me with a big sweet tooth they are hard to resist and hard to stop eating.
But this year I’m cutting the sugar so I’m trying hard to resist them temptation. Not that a little sugar is bad, my problem is that I cannot stop at a little! So I have been wondering what to do. Do I change my shopping habits and ditch Wollies until after Easter? How strong is my resolve, how big a temptation are these eggs of loveliness?
Not everybody has a sweet tooth – but we all are born with a sin-tooth, a leaning towards sin. For different people temptation and sin will look different but the question is the same – how will you deal with it? Do you give in, blow it -feel great for a moment and then soon after feel rotten? There are three options open to us all:
- Give in and give up – may feel good for a while but feels rotten in the long term
- Flee – get out of there
1Timothy 6:11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
3. Stand firm and resist
1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
You know your sin-tooth better than anyone – you know if you will be able to stand firm without giving in or if you should just flee and get out of there. The trick is not to mess around and play with fire. Too many times I have ended up with sticky marshmallow fingers because I thought I could have just one chocolate marshmallow. This year I plan to resist and stand firm – but if that gets to tough them I’m afraid Mr Woolworths I’ll see you after Easter.
How do you deal with temptation and your sin-tooth?
Lord, help me to honour you with every area of my life, even my sweet tooth.
(Photo credit: Ryan Loughlin)
Sometimes I wonder why God didn’t fit us with a reboot button. Just imagine, you mess up, make a mistake – hit the reboot button and restore the factory settings. The mistake is wiped away, not just forgotten but as if it had never happened. Facing temptation to go back to a favourite sin – hit the reboot button and those thoughts and temptations could be gone.
But as tempting as the thought is I can see why God didn’t fit us with the reboot button. Through the process of dealing with our sins, their consequences and repercussions we learn and grow. Hopefully we learn how to make better choices when faced with temptation the next time. We also learn again and again how gracious God is that He repeatedly forgives us. With a reboot button grace would diminish.
God did hit the reboot button once – it was the flood and He promised not to repeat that.
Genesis 9:11-16 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”
So maybe like me you are starting this week feeling like you need a reboot – maybe you messed up again? Instead of a reboot look for a rainbow – look for the grace of God who forgives and gives a fresh start.
Lord, I can’t reboot my mess up, but I come to you knowing that I can find forgiveness and a rainbow of grace.
Last week I went for a check up and got to see a glimpse of Baby Soko again. This is the third scan now and each time she is proving to be camera shy. For the ‘big scan’ at 20 weeks she wrapped herself in a ball and refused to budge – to the extent that nurse couldn’t find her arms. She tried to reassure me that there must be arms as she could find hands! When the doc came in to check the scan he also struggled and was about to send me for a walk to see if she would wake up and unravel, but thankfully at the last minute she stretched enough to be measured. It seems that my baby doctor doesn’t share the same softly softly approach as the doctor at the radiographer’s place.
At last week’s scan Baby Soko again was playing hard to get. Doc wanted to get a nice photo for us, but baby was covering her face with her hands. But instead of suggesting a gentle walk Doc just placed his on my tummy and shook it! On the screen baby woke up, moved her hands and doc managed to get a good shot before the hands went back to the place again. I guess the difference between the two docs is that the second one spends his time delivering so knows that they are not as breakable as you would think.
Our heavenly Father seems to have the same opinion as us – we are not a fragile and breakable as we think we are.
1 Corinthians 10:12-13 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
We often think that God should protect us from having to go through hard times and from having to make hard decisions. When it comes to temptation God knows our limits and knows that we are not as breakable as we think. It would be lovely never to be tempted and therefore never have to make hard choices, but God knows us better than that – he knows we are more resilient than we feel we are.
One of my favourite verses that got me through many a hard time has been:
Isaiah 54:10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
God hasn’t created us to live in a protected bubble – temptations and hard times will come – but even though it feels like we are living through earthquakes God’s love for us remains unshaken.
Help me Lord to trust you in hard times, for you love me and know my limits of what I can bear better than I do.
It finally happened – we knew it would but I guess we were in denial. For months our TV has been making cracking sounds we turn it on. With trepidation we took turns poking the on button and running to hid behind the sofa. We knew it would eventually blow but the combination of an addiction to watching the news in the morning (we first start with South African new, then jump to Sky) and no budget for a new TV meant we were prepared to take the daily risk for our news fix. Finally, last Saturday afternoon we sat down after a friend’s wedding, turned on the TV and heard what sounded like a machine gun series of cracks. The screen went bright and the dark – just a mysterious green glow in the centre of the screen that visited for a few seconds then quietness and darkness. Thankfully there was no fire nor smoke – I have childhood memories of wheeling smoking TV out of the house in a wheel barrow.
We knew each time we turned the TV that it was dangerous, but we couldn’t help ourselves. The temptation of watching the news was too much for us even though we knew we were putting ourselves in danger. It made me ask myself how often do we dangle ourselves spiritually close to danger – thinking we can run and hide behind the sofa it gets too bad. How far are we prepared to go towards danger for the sake of our own pleasure? Watching the news is not a bad thing, but by doing so we knew we were putting ourselves at risk.
Paul’s advice to those who think they are strong against temptation is to be careful:
1 Corinthians 10:12-14 Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence. 13No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it. 14So, my very dear friends, when you see people reducing God to something they can use or control, get out of their company as fast as you can. (Message)
We may say to ourselves – I know my limits, I know how far I can go and still get out of the way before things go wrong. Paul says watch out; you can fall flat on your face without planning it. Instead there is always a way out.
What is your danger zone? Food issues, boasting, sexual issues, loving money etc the list is endless? We all have our own danger zone that we know we really should be avoiding due to our weakness. The question I ask myself this morning is, ‘am I dancing too close to danger’?