“Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.”
People have a tendency to take to themselves extremes which are unhealthy. Too much honey will make you sick. As a child, my mother did not have to push me towards the cookie jar or the candy dish; she had to put the breaks on me.
In 2016, many people have made New Years resolutions to eat better, exercise more, spend less, and a host of other commendable wishes to make them healthier, wealthier, smarter and just better than they were last year. Most will fail. Jesus describes our dilemma in this way:
“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41.
Many treatment programs for drug addiction would require the patient to admit they are powerless to overcome their addictions by themselves. I, for the most part, agree with this assessment, although I have met a few people who have stopped drinking or using drugs without a program or a higher power. They just got so fed up with what was happening to them and by force of personal will quit the negative behavior. They are a rare breed. Most of us need help and encouragement outside of ourselves.
There is a principle important to remember in trying to alter our lives from a negative to a positive lifestyle. It is not simply enough to stop doing what is injurious. We must replace the negative habit with something positive. This is the principle of replacement. Smokers trying to quit often replace their cigs with nicotine gum or the patch. The problem with this approach is you are still drug dependent. You have just changed the delivery system.
We need to examine our behavior and our thinking as to why we crave certain things even if those cravings are to our detriment. Too much of anything is not good for us, and even any amount of some things can devastate our lives. Too much food, sleep, alcohol, coffee, soda, work, yes and even money can be bad for us.
7 Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: 8 Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: 9 Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.
And even a little of some things can lead to our demise: a little meth, heroine, or other hardcore drugs, a little bitterness, a little lie, a little theft and a host of other little foxes can spoil our lives.
Song of Solomon 2:15
“Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.”
When we participate in habits which hurt us, we are not going to them with the idea “this is going to hurt”, but rather “this will satisfy a need in me.” There is core emptiness in the human-being longing to be filled. The problem is we seek to fill this emptiness with things which never can satisfy us but only leave us longing for more. Each thrill, high, or fix we experience seeks to be trumped by a greater one. We become addicted emotionally and physically to things.
Life is not about things or experiences but rather it is about relationships. Ultimately, what all people long for is not that far away from us.
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy;
at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
True life, joy and pleasure is found in having the most foundational relationship restored with our Creator and Saviour, Jesus Christ. The lust of our eyes, the lust of our flesh, and our human pride will lead us to self-destruction. It is not until we turn our eyes away from ourselves and our sinful felt needs and look upon Jesus that we will find true satisfaction.
I Timothy 6:6
But godliness with contentment is great gain.
Have you made a New Years resolution to better yourself in 2016? Is there some bad habit, excess, or besetting sin you long to be free from? Why not take it to Jesus and have him fill the need in your life and give you the power and desire to change in this New Year. Jesus says this:
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:36.
Happy New Year,
Pastor John Schofield