Ice cream and popcorn may reveal the gluttonous sin abiding in me, but trust me, I have a bevy of other temptations that are problematic as well. Self-discipline is easy (or at least easier) when it aligns with our own desires and even more so when it aligns with God’s Word. Then we know we are doing the right thing, and that provides us with an added boost of encouragement. However, when those desires fly in the face of God’s truth, now that’s a totally different story. Then we struggle––big time.
This battle of sin verse obedience is nothing new. Paul talked about it in Roman’s 7:15 when he said, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”
James states it quite frankly: “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” (James 1:14)
All of us face temptations and at those times we must chose to obey or rebel. And as tough as it might be, God offers us two primary ways out of these situations and avoid sinning.
The first is to flee.
Whether it is the ice cream aisle at the store, the concession stand at the movies, or any situation that places us in a position of disobedience to God, our first option is to flee. Get out of there, just as Joseph fled the seduction of Potiphar’s wife. Look at the following three verses.
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” 2 Timothy 2:22
“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18
The second is to remove the cause.
“If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” Matthew 5:29-30
That means throwing out that gallon of ice cream in our freezer or ridding our house or our lives of whatever causes us to stumble. It may not always easy, and sometimes it is extremely painful, but as Matthew says, better to lose one part of one’s body than all of one's body and soul.