1 Peter 5:8
Be self controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (NIV)
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. (KJV)
My husband was away for a few days to work on our small travel trailer that we use for R&R in the Great Smoky Mountains. The purpose was to prepare for fall break. Nothing says fall to me like sitting outside next to a fire with coffee, charred marshmallows and charades. For years we would camp with our kids each fall using this as a way to reconnect as a family unit. Several of our children are grown or nearly grown, and the memories of their childhood are all we have left. How quickly time can creep upon us and before we know it, years have slipped away. Didn’t think about it–just lived life and before we were ready– BAM, they are grown.
The other night after I put our 5-year-old daughter to bed and said goodnight to my husband over the phone, I sat down to view a few moments of preaching videos on Youtube. Without warning, the “need” for some sugar tempted me. My son’s girlfriend had left a half-eaten bag of peanut butter M&M’s, (she and I will devour these if in sight), in the refrigerator. Without much prompting from the temptation I was downstairs in a flash. I grabbed those M&Ms and as I made my way back upstairs I thought, “Better not take the rest of these,” but I never turned back around.
I continued watching a preacher speak about the rapture of the church, an excitement for all born-again believers. In my delight I popped a few of those tasty morsels in my mouth and chewed them up. M&M after M&M I continued to chomp. Then out of the blue my jaw started getting tight and hurting. It occurred to me that I had not let the candy soften from being refrigerated. Considering the possibility of “lock jaw” if I had continued chewing, I stopped.
I looked inside the bag and noticed I had eaten 1/4 or more of the remaining goodness. Then in addition to jaw pain, guilt set in. I looked at the caloric count and WHAT!!! I had eaten over 300 calories in a few moments time!! I had not realized I had eaten that many. A harmless 5 or 10 minutes of pleasure had resulted in pain, guilt and displeasure with myself. Not to mention thinking what would my son’s girlfriend would say when she realized they were almost gone. I couldn’t deny eating them. Or maybe I could pretend ignorance on the matter.
A day or so went by and the Holy Spirit illumined my mind with the understanding of how this M&M episode could be compared to the gratification of sin through our day-to-day lives. It starts with an innocent thought of the object of my affection. My mind continually feeds this desire until I act on it. Once I have it I want more and more, and before I am even aware I am out of control. I have devoured the object of my desire, or it has devoured me. A measure of pain alerted me to the consequence of my actions. Then guilt for my lack of self-control brought me disappointment in myself. I felt terrible. Then I begin to think of how I would cover up this issue.
Oh, seemingly innocent M&M…..you vile destructor of health. If I continue in this desire it may take the form of habitual obsession. Then the pounds would pile on which would add to my negative self-talk. Then over and over again until in an effort to comfort my ache I take more. My reward for this never ending cycle? Bigger britches. But understand this….the M&M is not the problem. Eating the M&M is NOT a sin, It is the distraction of my mind that led to overindulgence that became my area of target for the enemy. I think this is what the disciple Peter meant when he said, pay attention….you never know when the enemy will come….he stands outside the door waiting to devour you. Even though I chose to eat those 300 empty calories, I ate them so fast that, after the fact, it dawned on me that I really didn’t receive any pleasure from it at all. Only perceived that I would. #notworthit for the twitter fans.
So I wonder what other seemingly insignificant area in our lives can the enemy choose to use for devouring? Be cautious and alert, it may be the beginning of a problem that could leave us with more consequences than a sore jaw or an extra pound or two. Satan says, “What’s the big deal?” Then he takes something that God creates as good and perverts it to bring harm to us. The word tells us to take all thoughts captive…….
Maybe I should try Milky Way Light. 🙂