Do you have a security blanket? CutiePyeGirl falls to sleep best when she has her Baby Elmo on her left and her sheepskin fleece on her right, the nightlight shining on the table nearby. Me, I’ve moved beyond soft toys to chocolate. When I’m stressed out – the kids are demanding or cranky and I’m tired and lacking patience – I can easily turn to a quick pick-me-up in the form of a mint chocolate biscuit.
Sometimes I grab one and don’t savor every sweet bite; I’m eating it without even noticing. How much better, of course, to find comfort from God. But chocolate can seem more accessible than our heavenly Father; its right here and while he can seem so far away.
How can I turn to God? How can I live in the present? How can I resist chocolate?
As I ponder these questions, I’ve been reading the book of Romans, thinking of how amazingly smart the Apostle Paul was. Parts of the letter seem dense and outside of my grasp; I have to chew them over, asking God through his Holy Spirit to reveal what he’d like me to grasp. And biblical commentaries are pretty great too.
Here’s what Romans 8:9–11 says: “You, however, are not controlled by the sinful nature but are in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.”
I believe Paul when he says that the Spirit of God lives in me. Thus I am not controlled by the sinful nature anymore but by the Spirit of God who lives in me. Christ in me gives life. Even though my body is subject to death because of sin, Christ gives life because of righteousness.
So if I’m not controlled by sinful desires but by the Spirit living in me, then why do I succumb to the momentary pleasures of a crunchy chocolate mint biscuit? On the grand scale, it’s the war between good and evil; the sinful nature and the redeemed nature. On a smaller scale, it’s my need to reshape my habits. To replace the compelling desire for that taste sensation with seeking the comfort God gives through his sweet words of love.
I wish I had an easy answer to spiritual success over mint chocolate biscuit bars: “Just do these five easy steps and you too will be free from enslavement to chocolate!” Is it ever so simple? I don’t think so.
But one simple exercise that I’m trying is to focus on part of a verse from Romans, as above: “The Spirit gives life because of righteousness.” Righteousness, meaning right living before God. His Spirit living in my mortal body, transforming me from the inside out. Asking him to reign in me – in my thoughts and actions – moment by moment, that I look to him and not to self-medication in the form of ingesting something sweet.
Do you love chocolate? Is it your go-to food when you’re stressed or sad? If so, how do you let righteousness reign?