On Saturday, my family returned from an enjoyable week in Illinois. During that week, we celebrated my dad's 60th Birthday and Thanksgiving with my parents and extended family. We had such a great time!
However, in grading my eating habits last week, I have to give myself a "C". Whenever I've gone on trips in the past, I definitely would have given myself a "F" and wouldn't care a bit. On this trip, I did not eat as disciplined as I should, but I was more conscious of my choices overall. In the past, I would eat whatever, whenever, & however I wanted, let myself go all out, and excuse my overeating for the holidays. This time, I basically played what I would call the "Cancel out" game. Maybe these carrot sticks for snack will cancel out the third day of birthday cake for dessert. Maybe this yogurt for breakfast will cancel out the second helping of sweet potato casserole at dinner. I felt better about some of my choices but I still ended up eating a lot more than I'm used to.
Have you ever read the children's book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle? Well, for those of you who remember how the caterpillar's Saturday went, I also had a similar day while on my trip. Yes, I too had a stomachache that night. After taking some Pepto-Bismol, I laid in bed pondering the fact that I hadn't felt that way in over a year. I felt terrible! I certainly did not want to go back to my old habits. I hated that I allowed myself to end up in that condition. So, were all the efforts to change my eating habits over this past year in vain? No way! Were the 25 pounds that I've lost in vain? No way! God is still at work in me (Phil 2:13)! All believers will struggle with sin; even Apostle Paul did. Check out what he said in Romans 7:15-25 -
"For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
Thank you Jesus! It's all by His grace that we can continue on in righteousness. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). Even though God forgives us and is still at work in us, we do have a part to play. Several months ago I read Romans 13:14, and immediately posted it in my kitchen so I could see it on a daily basis. I would suggest everyone memorize this verse and meditate on it often, "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires."
I'm planning to talk more specifically about ways to not make provision for the flesh in a later post.
By the way, like the hungry caterpillar, I ate a nice green salad the next day and felt much better :-).