We love two conflicting things. We love the comfort that certain foods seem to bring us and we basically love to give into those same foods. However, temptation ain’t comforting or it’s not supposed to be. And yet, what happens when we feel temptation it is?
Temptation Was My Way of Living
There was a time in my life when I was living like temptation was my comfort zone. I gave in to temptation so easily, I didn’t even realize it had become a way of life for me.
To be comfortable means to be in a state of physical ease and relaxation. It is freedom from pain or constraint. It a place where we feel everything is right with our world. However, if something is tempting it is enticing us to do something that we really want to do but we know is not beneficial for us.
So that might be characterized as an intrusion into our comfortable little worlds and yet, I didn’t see it as an intrusion. I saw any scrumtious foods or desserts as designed for me to consume so I could remain in my comfort bubble.
Got to Have My Comfort Food
When I crossed over into the super morbidly obese category I was eating all the wrong things and none of the right things. I was not exercising. I was not good at resting and taking time to de-stress. I pushed myself to constantly do more for God because I felt that was the way I could show Him that I had value to Him.
The only comfort I afforded myself during this time was foods I could grab and eat on the run, which included lots of fast food, baked goods, desserts, and all of the wrong stuff. If I were to define my comfort zone back then, it would be working hard for God and eating everything and anything I wanted.
I didn’t realize I was living in a constant state of giving in to temptation. I didn’t realize I was being tempted because I gave in so easily. I’d be driving to the publisher to proof the pages for the regional Christian newspaper I published and edited. A little voice would tell me to stop and buy a dozen cinnamon rolls.
Partnering With My Desires
I didn’t even question that voice because it partnered with my own desires. I wanted cinnamon rolls and having extra just meant I’d have them to eat when I wanted one. I thought they provided extra energy for me but in reality they made me feel energetic for a short time and then I tanked which I thought meant I needed another “hit” of sugar to ramp up my energy level. So I’d eat another. I didn’t consider it temptation. I considered it thinking through what I needed and coming to a “logical” conclusion.
Now I’m not stupid so I should have seen what I was doing was not just wrong, but plain crazy. Someone doesn’t gain the amount of weight I did doing what God wants them to do. I had allowed a lot of wrong mindsets to become strongholds that led me to jump to wrong conclusions and allowed me to give in easily to the voice of the tempter. I didn’t even make it difficult for him. All he had to do was give me a suggestion about one of the foods I loved to eat and I was all in.
James 1:14-15 NLT says it plainly, “Temptation comes from our own desires which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.”
My desire to do what I considered work for God while still staying in my comfort zone allowed me to feel entitled to eat what I wanted. I was an easy target for temptation. For me temptation was comforting if it allowed me to eat more of my favorite foods.
Overindulgence Equals Sin
My desires required me to give in to Satan’s temptations, which is sin. To say I allowed this particular sin of overindulging in food to be a lifestyle is an understatement. I couldn’t tell when I was tempted because giving in to my every whim and desire where food was concerned was how I lived every single day.
This sin of overindulgence in food grow out of proportion which resulted in me becoming a walking time bomb. I could die at any minute from a heart that was too small for the humongous body my desires and living a life of giving into temptation had created.
I felt I needed to consume large quantities of foods made with sugar to survive. I felt if I couldn’t eat things that contained processed sugar and flour, I might as well just die. I was on the high carbohydrate diet, the more the better.
Even though a lot of the time I lived like there was no limit on what I could eat, there were times I got totally disgusted with myself and would go on a really strict diet and lost 100 pounds, only to start eating my comfort foods again and gain the weight back plus more.
Boundaries and Limits Are Good
The time came when God finally got through to me that in order to live I was going to have to establish some limits and boundaries for my life. Understanding that I was a sugar addict meant that I was like alcoholic only with sugar. Alcoholics get free by not drinking alcohol. I was going to have to get free from eating sugar by eventually not eating things made with sugar.
I went step-by-step listening to God the entire way to learn how to change my habits by stopping bad habits and starting better habits in their place. It did not sound like an easy process because it meant I couldn’t listen to the tempter’s voice that told me to eat exactly what I desired.
I finally came to my senses and realized God is the only One who could give me the strength to resist the tempter and overcome my enormous weight issue. What I wanted or desired in the moment I couldn’t trust, but I would do what I had written down and committed to God.
God of All Comfort
Finally, I had to rediscover what 2 Cor. 1:3 TPT tells me. My God is the “Father of tender mercy and the God of endless comfort. He always comes alongside us to comfort us in every suffering so that we can come alongside those who are in any painful trial. We can bring them this same comfort that God has poured out upon us. And just as we experience the abundance of Christ’s own sufferings, even more of God’s comfort will cascade upon us through our union with Christ.”
Giving up sugar felt like the biggest suffering I have ever gone through. I was sure I couldn’t do it. I had tried many times and given up, but that’s because I was doing it in my strength. Learning that God is my strength through every trial and temptation is what got me through and continues to carry me each day.
After losing 250 pounds, God has called me to help others discover the same comfort that God has poured out upon me to others need a way out of their indulgences. God promises us He is with us when we experience other sufferings that come because we are doing what He desires us to do, like resisting giving into temptation. He promises us that His comfort will pour down upon us and overflow throughout our lives when we are doing what He has called us to do.
For more, listen to Sweet Grace for Your Journey podcast episode 58, Comforting Temptation, HERE.