Minding my own business, I turned the corner and there at the end of the grocery aisle, my pet idol was waiting for me. I almost knocked over the stack of boxes filled with mouthwatering chocolate covered cherries. And the weird thing was, this was April! Mid November through January these boxes are everywhere, sometimes they pop up again around Valentine’s Day, but I never see them beyond that until the Fall. They’re a seasonal temptation, so I have a friend who buys stacks of the boxes and keeps them hidden so they’re available throughout the year. (And I know where she hides them!)
A good way to determine what your “pet idol” is, is to admit what you run to for comfort. A shopping trip? A friend who always sympathizes? Netflix? Facebook?
Chocolate or comfort food is my “pet idol.”
I do run to Christ, I run to His Word, I call out to a friend for prayer . . . but too much of the time, I run to food for comfort. And that’s a clear indicator that it’s got an unhealthy hold on me.
Another weird thing about running into those chocolate covered cherries in the middle of April was it was only a few hours after our Bible study on “Glorifying God with our Bodies.” (I shared some of that with you on Tuesday’s post.) The three of us were sitting in a hospital room, facing the reality of food and drink that brings on high blood pressure, when we dug into the Word together and admitted our idolatry.
We each agreed to put to death the one thing that was our real addiction.
(And by the way, these friends gave me permission to share our story with you.)
One of my friends admitted to drinking a 2-liter bottle of Pepsi every day. She used the words “have to have it” . . . “know I’m addicted” . . . “Don’t know if I can give it up!” But she truly desires to live out the Word, and that morning, when we read Paul’s charge:
[box]All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything (1 Corinthians 6:12).[/box]
Paul nailed us all.
We agreed that none of us want to be “mastered” by anything but Christ.
The other friend has been known, far and wide, for being addicted to Diet Mountain Dew. For years, she’s had one in her hand at all times, even sleeping with a bottle of it, she claimed it lowered her blood pressure. But she’s the one who was in the hospital bed with sky-high blood pressure . . . and that’s what led us into our study on glorifying God with what we eat and drink!
That morning, all three of us laid out our idols and made commitments to hold one another accountable. A few hours later, my friend was released, and we walked out of her hospital room to start the eight hundred mile journey back home. We weren’t driving it all at once. We made a rest stop along the way, and were picking up a few groceries when it happened. I walked right into a test over what I love most.
Less than eight hours after I’d made the commitment to no desserts, no chocolate, no sugar (other than two teaspoons in my morning tea), here I was facing one of my biggest temptations. Chocolate covered cherries call my name. They are one of the most delightful things you can place in your mouth. I stood there staring down the stack of boxes, my mouth watering, my heart yearning to just have one more box before calling it quits, and I took a stand.
“You are of the Devil!” I pretty much yelled it out loud right there in the grocery aisle. My Mountain-Dew-Addicted friend was walking up beside me when she heard me sling out my accusation to the mountain of boxes. She knows my addiction to them and she cracked up. “Can you believe it?” I asked her. We both stood there laughing (and I was fuming a bit) that this particular temptation would hit me head-on so soon after making our commitments that morning.
I looked at her, looked back at the boxes, then told her. “I love Jesus more than these. That’s the only way that I can say no to this right now.”
I almost ran to the check-out lane to pay for the things in my basket so I could get out of there before my resolve ran out. That was on April 13th and I’m still holding to my commitment. I’m not saying I’ll never have chocolate or desserts again, but I’ve made the commitment to deal with this idol, and for now, the best way to put this love affair to death is by challenging my heart with the question of what do I love more . . . Jesus or sugar?
Join me in asking God to open our eyes to what we love most?