Hopefully, throughout the summers months, you’ve had the chance to cultivate your spirit. In June, we talked about some important spiritual disciplines that would help you grow. After an awesome break in July, we talked about how sometimes it’s hard to get productive again because that good seed inside you needs a chance to germinate. And now that it’s time to get fruitful again (school starts for me), we talked about not letting strengths become weaknesses.
Beware of This Trap
When you start getting busy again- like we all do- beware of thinking this very subtle temptation- I deserve this.
Back last year, I read about the extremely disturbing downfall of a very prominate preacher and teacher. After his death in 2020, the story broke about his years of misconduct and sin hidden and covered up from public view. Saddened and sickened by this all-too-familiar story, I’m still stunned at how sins like this can be allowed to persist and grow.
Reading the news articles and the actual investigation report, a comment by this preacher stuck out to me. The women interviewed in the report said that he would often say “the pressure is so great- I need this. I deserve this.”
Justifying Sinful Actions
With a lump in my gut and a dull ache in my heart, how could anyone believe such indecent behavior could somehow be justified by saying “I deserve this“?
How could anyone believe they have the ‘right’ to sin by justifying their actions by saying “I deserve this“?
I couldn’t believe such a big, powerful man in the evangelical world would do such disgusting things until I found myself saying the exact same thing to myself- “I deserve this“.
Allow me to explain
About the time I read the article, I had so much going on in this particular season of life. I could hardly stay afloat with the amount of school work, meetings, and paperwork to get done. Everything at home was crazy busy too. Kids going and coming. Church- lots of great things happening there. Online ministry with the WoW Facebook group and the CLC were going great!
In the middle of this crazy busy season, tempting thoughts rose up in me like this:
I’m just going to eat this to make me feel better…..
I’m should go shopping to buy myself something…..
I should go somewhere and do something special for myself….
because I deserve this.
I said exactly what that preacher had said to justify his sin.
Satisfying Appetites and Desires
Even though I wasn’t tempted to engage in sexual behaviors, I was toying with overindulging with food, shopping, treating myself in order to feel better. I wanted to somehow relieve the pressure of the busy season by making myself feel good and by satisfying those fleshly appetites and desires.
I’m all for self-care. Sabbath rest is a must. Putting the oxygen mask on yourself in order to better care for others is a must. Stewarding our physical and emotional health is essential to spiritual health.
But these tempting thoughts had nothing to do with self-care. Indulgence to relieve the life’s pressures is not the same as caring for your body and soul.
Where in the world do we ever deserve to allow even the smallest sin to be justified?
No matter how difficult the circumstance, no matter how intense the pressure, we don’t deserve any sin disguised as self-indulgence because Christ died and rose again to pay for all sin, for all time.
More Than Enough
The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead is MORE that enough to empower us through any pressure or difficulty without having to indulge in appetites that don’t satisfy
If you find this thought, “I deserve this“, sneaking up on you, stop to consider what you think you deserve and why you think you deserve it. If you ever start to think satisfying your fleshly appetites is something you deserve, stop and think about what you are feeding and the consequences you might reap.
What are some ways you can take care of yourself without falling into the trap of feeding sinful appetites?
Join me in the Wow Facebook group so we can talk about it more!