I sometimes see Christians act as if they are victims of their temptations. It’s as if when temptation comes, they have no other choice but to give in.
I see this in my own life. I struggle with overeating. There are times when I act as if I have no choice but to indiscriminately put food in my mouth.
I rationalize this. Oh, if only I struggled with something else, I tell myself. Something I didn’t have to deal with everyday, like an addiction. An addiction, I could handle that. If it were something besides food, I could avoid it entirely, but I still have to eat.
The past few months, as I have been pondering acting like a free person and obedience, I have been asking these questions:
What is my part? What is God’s part? Are there things for which I need to take responsibility?
Some of this was inspired by Michael Hyatt’s blog post Your Life is the Sum of Your Choices. Also, a friend sent me a poem that talked about his choices and which direction each choice led him in.
One phrase stuck with me from both these experiences: Own Your Choices.
As Christians, we are free. Period. We are slaves to Christ and Christ alone. I’ve been discussing this in the past month of Freedom Fridays as I’ve talked about the place of obedience and acting like a free person.
These experiences made me realize I needed to face up to the truth that I choose to overeat.
Taking responsibility for my choices puts the fault where it belongs: with me.
When I mess up, I ask God for forgiveness, but I no longer act as if I found myself under a huge pile of food and had no other choice but to eat my way out.
I also don’t use that mistake as an excuse to stuff myself silly for the rest of the day. I used to tell myself, I’ll start over again tomorrow with better choices. I’ll repent after I really indulge.
Taking responsibility for my choices has helped me make better ones.
I stop and ask myself, Is this choice really going to be helpful? Is it beneficial? Is it going to get me any closer to reaching my life goals?
One of my goals is to feel more freedom when it comes to my relationship with food. I have a lot more freedom than I did 10 years ago when I overcame anorexia, but I still have a ways to go. I no longer ever restrict my food intake, I have no forbidden foods in my life, but that is not an excuse to go overboard. One of my other goals is to continue to grow closer to God and know Him on a deeper level. Disobedience in the area of eating certainly doesn’t help me achieve that end.
I thought of the following verses as I was preparing for this blog post. Moses has just led the Israelites out of Egypt. They had been wandering in the desert for 40 years, and now they are nearing the Promised Land.
Moses will not be accompanying them in. I imagine his heart must be bursting out of his chest with a deep passion to see the Israelites succeed in the next 40 years.
Thus, he leaves them with numerous instructions for living and ends with the following. If this passage is familiar, I encourage you to pause, take a breath, and ask God to give you fresh ears & eyes before continuing.
“See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
“But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.
“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Deuteronomy 30:15-20
These promises may have originally been for the Israelites, but we certainly have much to learn. Every day, we have the opportunity to choose life or death, blessings or curses. Whatever we choose, we can own those choices and take responsibility for the consequences, positive and negative, associated with those choices.
Is there an area of your life that feels out of your control? Would that change if you made better choices? Has God spoken to your heart over the course of this post? Has He brought something to mind for which you need to take responsibility?