>This One Time Blind skit was a little too close for comfort for me…ouch! Anyone else relate?
>I’m easing back into life after holiday.
While away, I read this beautiful excerpt from the Max Lucado book, When God Whispers Your Name. It’s titled The Choice, and it eloquently states how we can choose exhibit the fruits of the spirit.
The Choice – Max Lucado
It’s quiet. It’s early. My coffee is hot. The sky is still black. The world is asleep. The day is coming. In a few moments the day will arrive. It will roar down the track with the rising of the sun. The stillness of the dawn will be exchanged for the noise of the day. The calm of solitude will be replaced by the pounding pace of the human race. The refuge of the early morning will be invaded by decisions to be made and deadlines to be met. For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day’s demands. It is now that I must make a choice. Because of Calvary, I am free to choose.
I choose Love…. No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves.
I choose Joy…. I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical…the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.
I choose Peace…. I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.
I choose Patience…. I will overlook the inconvenience of the world. Instead of cursing the one that takes my place, I will invite him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for the moment to pray. Instead of clinching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.
I choose Kindness…. I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.
I choose Goodness…. I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I accuse. I choose goodness.
I choose Faithfulness…. Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My wife will not question my love. And my children will never fear that their father will not come home.
I choose Gentleness…. Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice, may it only be in praise. If I clench my fist, may it only be in prayer. If I make a demand, may it only be on myself.
I choose Self-Control.… I am a spiritual being. After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal. I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my Faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ. I choose self-control.
Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek His grace. And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.
>I have a sweet tooth. That’s an understatement. All 10,000 taste buds on my tongue along with the 32 teeth in my mouth hanker for chocolate confections. Thankfully, my self-control is in top form at the grocery store. I can walk down the cookie aisle cucumber cool and give the bakery and frozen delight sections only a wistful glance and perhaps a moment of yearning without adding a single cupcake to my cart. Sure, I’ve bought a few pints, eh hem, gallons of ice cream in my life time and I do like to bake, but in general my “all in moderation” mantra keeps me balanced and on the low-sugar track at the local Piggly Wiggly.
In the comfort of my own home, however, my resolve is as firm as the Swiss Miss Cherry Chocolate Mousse shelved in my refrigerator. The pudding was purchased by another consumer, but as long as it resides in my territory its lifespan is limited to a week at best. Yummy surprises that The Professor sometimes brings home from a campus bake sale or better (or should I write worse?) yet a box of Girl-Scout cookies bought to support the daughter of a colleague threaten my willpower. In fact, just three hours ago my willpower wasn’t only threatened; it was demolished by a small rectangular box of Thin Mints. ™
I opened one plastic sleeve and sternly admonished myself “stop at two cookies.” About two-minutes and six cookies later I dug my fingernails into my palms and muttered “enough.” I then remembered a verse from my Sunday school class this morning “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7. This is where I am supposed to write that I closed that box. But I cannot write that without telling a lie. Truth is I pushed that scripture out of my mind and shoved two more cookies into my mouth, chewed furiously and swallowed with a gulp. Then I froze convicted by the Holy Spirit with another verse that darted my conscience. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Personally, I don’t think an occasional cookie does the body much harm, but thoughtlessly wolfing down 300 empty calories, 14 grams of fat, 40 grams of carbohydrates, and 20 grams of sugar in less than five minutes is far from reverent. I paused. Then I confessed, “Lord, please forgive me for ignoring your Spirit and the self-control you granted me. Please help me put this box of cookies away and not touch them for the rest of the night.” I repeated 2 Timothy 1:7, closed the box and stuffed it into my freezer. Then I smiled. For as delicious as those cookies tasted the sweetness stirred in my heart was far greater.