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Resisting Temptation (That Space Between Two Dinners)

I have a problem of using food to try to settle myself down at the end of a day. I’ve known this about myself for years but haven’t done much about it. In my life, it’s been one of those sins Paul writes to Timothy about, the kind that isn’t outwardly obvious on the face of my life, but that follows behind to judgment (see 1 Timothy 5:24).

Recently, God spoke to me about this: “You don’t need two dinners.”

Like so many other temptations in my life, more food calls to me with a promise. Its call isn’t just “Hey, this will taste good,” any more than sexual temptation used to call to me with “Hey, this will feel good.” Temptation’s call speaks to a deeper, hungrier place than the belly or the groin: It calls to our souls, and it says…

“I am what you need.”

What is one habitual, long-term temptation that calls to you?

Sex? Porn? Media? Work? Worry? Control? Alcohol? Food?

Whatever it is for you, dig deep enough down and you’ll find its stream makes its way into the deepest caverns of your soul—that place where bedrock holds up your life—that place not just of want, but of need.

This is one reason giving up a long-standing sin doesn’t happen by mere resolve. If you found the footer of your house was faulty, you wouldn’t just go and dig it out, or your house would fall down.

Long-standing sins aren’t just removed, they’re replaced.

Graciously, God is not satisfied with our faulty foundations. He wants our lives to be upheld by something (or Someone) substantive enough to weather every storm, even into eternity. And so He points out our faults, tells us we don’t need two dinners, forbids sexual immorality and excessive drink, tells us to let go and trust, commands us to keep the Sabbath, calls sin sin and not something less.

And if we’re willing, then the excavating begins. 

This is where I’m most prone to stumble.

Replacing faulty foundations means first removing the old, and even as God is ready and willing to move into the gap, I’ve found that His presence there doesn’t feel like the old did, and that can leave me feeling vulnerable, like there’s a space.

Of course the old sinful foundation wasn’t strong enough to really hold up the house, but at least for a while it sure felt like it was.

With God, even though it’s surely a fact He is strong enough, that doesn’t mean I always feel it. As a Christian believer, this is where the rubber meets the road. I can say with my lips, I believe He will meet all my needs and satisfy all my hungers, but those words of faith without deeds* is not real faith (see James 2:17, 18). *Translation: Keeping the fridge closed.

I was here a long time ago with sexual temptation. Maybe that’s where you are now, or maybe you’re here with some other persistent temptation. I’m here again, this time with a second dinner.

So pray for me as I practice just eating one dinner. More importantly, pray for me that I’d become more accustomed to bringing that deep and true hunger to the One who said He is true food and true drink (John 6:55). I’ll pray for you, too.

Where have you been looking to faulty foundations to hold up your house? Where have you been taking your hungers? Leave a comment below.

Hungry for more,
Josh

4 thoughts on “Resisting Temptation (That Space Between Two Dinners)”

  1. I relate to this so much. Thank you for sharing. This week, I’ve really been meditating on letting God fill the gaps. Not food, not my appearance, not attention from others… just Him. Me & Him?

    When I take the time to talk to Him, He doesn’t fail me. It’s when I start to cling onto something before thinking first. Being reactive instead of proactive. I’m calling it “take 10”. Take 10 seconds before responding. Ask and you shall receive. (Matthew 7:7) For we do not have a high priest Who is on able to empathize with our weaknesses. (Hebrews 4:15)

  2. I can definitely relate. The idol of comfort has led me to over-indulge in food and drink for years, resulting in being overweight for decades and developing health problems as a result. I have been trying for several years to improve the situation by diets, exercise, changing my eating habits, but never really came to grips with the real issue and how to deal with it until lately. Over the years, I have dealt with other sinful behaviors that fed my comfort idol, but didn’t really see the harm of my food exceeses. After all, there is a lot of good that comes from eating together as a family, sharing delicious food and celebrating around good meals. But, even good things can become bad things when they become ultimate things—something upon which we inappropriately focus ourselves and our desires. By the grace of God, I am submitting myself to God and resisting the idol that food had become. I will always enjoy good food, but I am trying to not have it be such a focal point. I have stopped eating refined sugar and carbs, and most significantly stopped snacking (I used to eat two dinners too) and have incorporated short, intermittent fasting periods. I also am exercising regularly and meditating and praying over God’s Word daily. With God’s help, I am closer to Him and there is almost ten percent less of me (in pounds) and counting for Him to have to deal with!

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