You probably didn’t grow up during the Depression. In those days, if you had something to eat you were glad. And since money was so hard to come by, you don’t dare waste anything. Your parents would remind you that those starving children in China would give their right arm to have what you left on your plate. So quit whining and eat up!
That worked well when times were tough. But when food and money were more plentiful, it made for some fat folks. Rather than eat enough to satisfy their hunger, they ate to satisfy their appetites.
The same principle applies to our weaknesses.
Everybody is capable of some really grievous sins. The reason we don’t do everything we could is simple. God is in control. He restrains a lot of what we think about before we do it. It might be the voice of conscience that say the idea you have is crazy. It can be a friend who talks you out of doing something stupid. Or maybe no opportunity opens up for you to satisfy your inclination. Whatever the case, be thankful. Then pray God keeps you from indulging your baser desires.
Though God is in control, He doesn’t leave you free of responsibility. You have the power of choice. Sure, you can make bad choices, or you can make good ones. Often, He won’t stand in your way. He knows the way we learn best can come through failure and pain.
But He has also given us eyes so we can see and learn from others’ experience.
Here are some things you can do to bridle your own appetites.
First, get some perspective about yourself. What is your greatest temptation? Where are you and how do you feel when the temptation comes? What can you do to protect yourself?
The first two questions you have to answer yourself. The third can be addressed this way. Take the when and where from the second question and you have found your triggers. You pull the trigger when you feel weak, that is, when you give in and do it. Can you change your environment so you can avoid that situation? If not, can you change the way you think about it?
You have to change the way you think about your weakness because in reality, it is a bad habit. At some point, you made the first choice to take a drink or smoke or view pornography or whatever it might be in an effort to bury pain. The fact is you choose to deal with it by distracting yourself. Of course, the problem behind the pain didn’t go away because you ran from it rather then solving it.
By the time you get to the point where continuing the bad habit is more painful than the prospect of quitting, the cords of that habit have wound into a death grip on you. You’ll need an bottomless well of will power, plenty of prayer, and a Blow Your Socks Off Vision of a new you to break those cords.
So keep your appetites in check. Deal with bad habits the minute you realize they’re killing you. Envision a new you that you can’t wait to become. Do these things and your appetites will serve you, not enslave you.