I Have To Admit Something
I have to admit something. I am a sugar addict, especially anything chocolate. I can plow through a bag of Halloween candy in a matter of hours, and dispose of the wrappers before anyone knows the bag was in the house. I’m not proud of it, but sugar has me in its control.
Just like any obsession, my sugar cravings have consequences. In my case, it’s poundage. My weight hit an all-time high. Chocolate had my attention. I did not realize what was happening. I did not see the signs. I only knew that I wasn’t satisfied with one mini candy bar, I needed ten. I used chocolate or any sweet, to fill me. Sugar became my go to for every situation. If I just received good news, I would eat a piece of candy. If I had a bad day at work, I would eat six cookies. Without noticing, I had replaced my relationship with Christ with all things sweet.
You see, sweets were not the problem. Cookies and candy are not illegal, neither is shopping, watching television or working long hours. However, when any one of those (and the list could be lengthy) takes the place of a relationship with Christ or is used to fill a void, soothe a hurt, or make you whole, they become an idol. Just like God’s chosen people, I had erected an idol, this one covered in sugar.
It didn’t happen all at once. My idol was built slowly without drawing much attention at first. The enemy is good at drawing our attention away inch by inch. It’s subtle and difficult to discern the presence of idols. But when they take hold, it’s hard to remove their grip.
Do you have idols in your life? Do you have an inner ache that seems only to be satisfied by a new dress or shoes? You may be building an idol. If you have experienced a pounding to your emotional stability and you reach for food to soothe the pain, you are in danger of creating an idol. However, God is not caught unaware of our draw toward idols.
God knew we would have a problem with idols. The first thing God told the Israelites when He delivered the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 is to put away idols. “You shall have no other gods before me.” Next, God tells them not to make an idol out of anything and then bow down to it. “For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God.” He wants your full attention all the time, and He is worthy. He is the Creator of all things. God created all the things we enjoy, but He does not want us to replace Him with these things. The idols we build out of things will never meet our expectations and always lead to slavery and the birth of a stronghold. If God is not your source of comfort, joy, and strength, you will never be satisfied, and you will become a slave to that longing. I found myself a slave to sugar. Does a stronghold have you in its grip?
Breaking the chains of a stronghold is not easy. My struggle with food, sugar especially, has been going on for more than three years. I have spent a lot of money and effort on diets and coaching, but nothing made a difference until I fell on my knees before God. First I had to recognize my need for God’s chain-breaking deliverance. Breaking free starts with recognizing that you have an idol. What do you turn to first when you are feeling sad? What do you seek first when you celebrate victory? What person or thing do you rely on to make you feel better? Is there something you do in secret because you don’t want others to see you do it? Whatever that is, it may be an idol? Ask God to reveal any stronghold or idol keeping you away from a relationship with Him.
Next, which has been the hardest part for me, is surrender. You cannot give up an idol or stronghold on your strength. If that were so, I would have given up my food habit years ago, and I would be a size 6 today. God is the only source of strength for overcoming a stronghold. I found this quote in Beth Moore’s Praying God Word, “As long as our minds rehearse the strength of our stronghold more than the strength of our God, we will be impotent.” The stronghold is never stronger than God and neither are you. Only in a relationship with God through Christ are will strong. Philippians 4:13 reminds us that we can only have strength through Christ. Ask Him for strength and wisdom to overcome then surrender yourself fully to His strength and will. He is able.
Finally, or probably first, avoid the trap of idols. You will never be satisfied with anything but a relationship with Jesus. New clothes, although great, will never make a way for you to eternal life. Sugary sweets, although delicious, will never fill you, or me, with the joy of knowing the one true God. God alone satisfies our hungry heart.
Dear Father, I have built an idol that will never satisfy, that will never be enough. Forgive me. I surrender now all of me to your will. Fill me with your strength to overcome every moment. In my strength, I am not able to beat this stronghold. But with you, all things are possible because you love me and are forever faithful. I pray for the women reading this that may be in grips a stronghold, rain down your love and strength. Amen