You know, the flesh can talk really loud. When you try to ignore it, it starts yelling. Put it into withdrawal from its appetite of choice, and it launches into a full-blown temper tantrum. Maybe that’s why Paul said, “I die DAILY” in I Corinthians 15:31. Being “crucified with Christ” is the only way to keep the flesh in check! The flesh must be starved; otherwise, the more you feed it, the more it wants. They say that confession is good for the soul, so here goes…
I recently rediscovered how competitive I am…with myself. A couple of weeks ago, I pulled up a computer Solitaire game to wind down one evening before bedtime instead of doing a crossword puzzle. Harmless, right? So I thought…
Forty minutes later, I had gotten the hang of the scoring mechanism, and I learned how time figured into my score. And I wanted to beat it. So I said to myself, “Just one more game…” But that “one more game” wasn’t enough. Ten games later (can you say compulsive personality?), I’d won several games, but I still hadn’t beaten my “best score.” I was giving myself the gift of bags under my eyes, but I was fixed (more like fixated) on my goal. I’m sure God would appreciate me having that same laser-like focus on His Word. Imagine – having an addiction to the Word of God; we’d be unstoppable, saints!
A few days later, my hubby came in to bowl a couple of games on the Wii. He must’ve seen my eyes glazed over as I peered intently at the computer screen, concentrating on winning. He laughed and said, “You’ve got a Solitaire “jones,” girl!” As much as I wanted to disagree, I knew he was right. And I had to break that preoccupation – unproductive “idle” time was was creeping into “idol” territory. He “sentenced” me to “no Solitaire games at night” for a couple of days straight. I began to itch. But I knew it was for my good, since I’d been mega-sleepy the mornings after my private Solitaire tournaments.
One night I was just waiting for him to fall asleep so I could – yep, you guessed it – go play Solitaire. He put the brakes on that and told me to stay in the bed and channel surf until I got sleepy. Now I KNOW channel surfing is a waste of time, but here I was stuck with the “lesser of two evils.” I wasn’t at obsession level with this game (yet), but this seemingly harmless way to spend time had captivated my affections. I was actually plotting and scheming when I could have my Solitaire time (making provision for the flesh)! I don’t think the game itself is bad – it just became bad for me because I wasn’t disciplined enough to read my Word first or stop playing after 15 minutes and finish my other evening tasks (making lunches, laying out children’s outfits, loading the dishwasher) like I had some sense.
On yet another evening (I hadn’t learned my lesson yet – this went on about 2 weeks), I tried to circumvent the process of breaking my habit and “having just a li’l bit.” Yeah right. Actually, I was just planning to “do my own thing” (Did I really say that? Yes. It’s the truth – and that makes us free). I figured that since I’d be sitting under the hair dryer for an hour, I could play Solitaire (multi-tasking – LOL) – after all, it wasn’t extra time I was spending on the game…it was just time I’d already be awake that I’d be using for personal recreation…right? WRONG! Time is God’s gift to me, and if I’m going to be a wise steward over it, I have to use it as HE directs. Though I’d already set the laptop next to the hair dryer, I said ALOUD, “Flesh, you are NOT going to get what you want this time!. You are going to read this Sunday School lesson and meditate on the Word of God for the hour you’re under the hair dryer. This is what we’re gonna eat for the next hour. You are starving from Solitaire.” Do you see a theme here? I had to actively choose righteousness and building up my spirit man.
I could’ve been content that I’d “given up” my spy TV program a couple of months ago. I could’ve continued to rationalize that I “deserved” some time for a comparably innocuous relaxing activity. But I was setting myself up for a fall. When God points something out, He wants us to take action right then. Nothing should have “beloved” status in our lives but Jesus. However, is that really the case? We’re in an information-driven society; would you go through withdrawal if someone took away access to your e-mail, iPod music downloads, cell phone, online social networking, text messages, novels, games, favorite TV programs, etc. for a week? Be honest…with yourself!
Now I KNOW I’m not the only one who needs to use the invaluable resource of time more productively for God’s glory! Today, I challenge you to solitary confinement with His Word. Declare war on a time-waster that has usurped your single-minded attention on and devotion to your First Love! Deny yourself something that you enjoy and instead, spend that time with your Creator. You just might be surprised at what He shows you during your time of communing.
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
© Copyright 2011 by Kayren J. Cathcart