by Cindy Hultine, Set Me Free Ministries Board Member
We always have a choice. We are often faced with two options—one that glorifies the flesh and the other that glorifies God. Yes, we have a choice to make.
I would like to say, of course, that most of the time I choose God. But as I look at something that God has been dealing with me on for a while now, I must admit that may not always be the case. God has been dealing with me on my eating habits. They're not horrible eating habits, but at times, I find I have a tendency to turn to food instead of God. Can anyone say “comfort food”? I find that with this issue, my flesh can win out. And when this happens, it is sin. And with sin, there are consequences.
I like to tell myself that this sin regarding my poor eating habits is not anywhere close to the sin I had in my life several years ago. My past sin was not only destructive, but it was illegal. So, c’mon! Who cares if I eat half the box of Girl Scout cookies instead of only a few? After all, I overcame an addiction in my past that was much, much worse. That’s what I tell myself anyway, but God cares because sin is sin. And He doesn’t see a difference between the two.
I like to think that I have a pretty good relationship with God, but the Bible clearly states that sin separates us from God, and there are consequences for our sin. When we are practicing self-destructive behavior, the consequences of our actions can be extremely obvious. But what about our small acts of disobedience? In my case, it’s an overindulgence of food. I know for me, it’s okay to eat and enjoy the foods I love, even those yummy Girl Scout cookies. However, there is a definitive line that God gives me, and I know when I cross it. At that moment, I am making a choice—I will either follow God, or I will follow my flesh.
So, what are my consequences for this sin of choosing the entire sleeve of the Thin Mints? God doesn’t move me forward. He continues to teach me the same lesson over and over until I “get it.” God has great plans for my life, but with my continued disobedience, He is forced to stay with the current lesson.
God tells us in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God has great plans for each of us, but each time we choose our flesh over God, we hinder those plans.
So what do we do when we are faced with the choice to obey or disobey? Right then and there, we must surrender it to God. I believe we all know the moment when we choose to sin, whether it’s a “big” sin or something that may seem insignificant. Sometimes it’s easy to choose God, while other times it’s very difficult. But at that moment of choice, we need to stop, surrender, and ask Jesus to help us.
He doesn’t expect us to do it on our own. We see this with Jesus’ disciple Peter.
“’Lord, if it’s you,’” Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’ ‘Come,’ he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’” (Matthew 14:28-31 NIV)
Peter was doing well at first, having faith and believing, and he was able to walk on water. Then a wind came up, and he was afraid and began to sink. He cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately, Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.
Jesus will catch us too, but we have to call out to Him. Philippians 4:13 tells us, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” It is God’s will for us to be obedient, so through Him, we can do all the things He has called us to do.