Do you like donuts? Maybe you are enjoying one now, as you are reading this, or at least thinking about it. I have a friend that has been trying to lose some weight for the past several years, but he liked to stop at a local convenience store most mornings and visit with some friends. During these visits, he often indulged in a donut or more and he often blamed this habit in part of the reason he had difficultly losing weight. While it may contribute, I’m sure its not the only reason. Unless you don’t like really sweet things, donuts and other assorted sugary pastries are difficult to say no to when someone offers you one, or more. Occasionally, I will get a package of donut holes and keep them in the basement (so kids don’t get into them), but I may find myself making excuses through the day to pass by them, and grab some, and they don’t often last much longer than a day or two. Most would agree that an occasional donut is not a bad thing, but that overindulging in them often is not a good thing. So, in practical ways, the best way to avoid things that are not good for us is to not have them within sight or reach of your hands throughout the day. Besides donuts, is there anything that is not really good for you that you find difficult to avoid?
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
I had a conversation with a friend of several decades recently, and we started talking about habits and why people do what they do, whether good or bad for them. One conclusion we found is that most people often do what is easiest and makes them feel the most comfortable, regardless of the longer term consequences. If you just read or watch the news on any given day, you learn of people doing stupid things, but they still chose to do them out of anger, greed, or some other form of selfishness. It takes planning and determination to put off the immediate desires for something that will be beneficial longer term. Often, having a cause or motivation outside your own wants and desires helps you see opportunities and needs beyond your own. All of our habits, good or bad, take practice to develop, whether intentional or not. What are some good habits you have been intentional to develop lately?
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14
Any of the spiritual disciplines we practice take time to develop. I remember the first few times I prayed out loud by myself or with others, it felt a bit odd and I was searching for the right words to say, and I gave up fairly quickly. But, with encouragement and practice, it has become quite natural, as when you talk to anyone you are comfortable with, it just flows more easily. There are certain types of prayer and worship that I am still not ‘good at’ or comfortable with just because I don’t practice them regularly. But sometimes doing these things that take you out of your comfort zone are good for us, and make us pay better attention to what we are doing and why. Most of us were probably not very adept at video conference meetings one year ago, but now we have probably zoomed or video chatted a few times. With all things, take a look at what you are doing, and if it is not going in a good direction, make a plan for ways to change or replace that behavior. Ask God and others to hold you accountable, as there is often much more success with a group effort. The next time you reach for a yummy donut, thank God for the ability to enjoy the things He gives you, but also for the ability to say ‘no’ when it is not good for you.
For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 3:18-20
Yours in Christ,