Day 5: Desperation breeds defeat
Thought for the Day: “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.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
I was walking through the airport when an incredible aroma suddenly grabbed my attention and taunted, “Do you know how happy I can make you?” A candy shop had just made a fresh batch of nutty, caramel popcorn.
I felt my knees get weak, because I love caramel popcorn. I started to rationalize buying this special, thinking, “I can’t get this flavor at home, and I’ll take half home to my kids.” In that moment, a new truth God taught me during my healthy eating journey popped into my mind and saved the day: desperation breeds defeat.
In the book of Genesis, the Bible tells an interesting story about twin brothers who illustrate this point. The elder son, Esau, was favored by his father, Isaac, because of his prowess as a hunter. In contrast, the younger son, Jacob, was a quiet homebody. One day, Esau returned home from an unsuccessful hunting trip totally famished, and demanded some stew from his brother. “I’ll give you food,” agreed Jacob, “but first, trade me your birthright.” Esau replied, “Okay, I’m so hungry, I’m about to die.” So Esau traded the honors due to him as the firstborn son for a simple meal of stew.
Upon first glance, it’s easy to ridicule Esau’s decision. I cannot imagine selling your whole birthright for a pot of soup. But I had to look at my own life and ask, “What great thing have I traded for so little in return? How often do I trade healthy food for junk food? What temporary pleasure have I craved so much that I gave up lasting victory?”
Desperation does indeed breed defeat. But God promises answers for desperate situations in 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.
The “way out” that God provides is the ability to decide in advance what I will and will not eat each day. I plan my meals right after breakfast when I’m feeling full and satisfied. The absolute worst time for me to decide what I’m going to eat is when I’ve waited until I’m depleted and feeling hungry. So I prepare a healthy snack to have on hand or keep in my purse.
When I’m unprepared or I’ve rushed through a proper meal, my stomach screams for something quick. And quick options usually come in a variety of unhealthy temptations, just as I experienced at the airport. However, that day I had decided ahead of time that I would keep an apple in my purse for a snack, rather than trade my healthy progress for something like caramel popcorn.
Let me be clear. I’m not saying that we should flee food. However, we must prevent the control that food can take over our lives. If we purposely begin to think before we eat, we’ll be better able to see the way out that God promises when we are tempted.