Twenty some years ago I ate a Snickers candy bar every afternoon. It was a delicious but not so nutritious afternoon snack. I evaluated my bad habit and decided it needed to go. Now after my admirable decision there were days that I chose to not eat the candy bar. But there were other days when I didn’t even think about it and reached for the Snickers bar and ate the entire thing before remembering my decision to no longer have an afternoon Snickers snack. Eventually there came a time when after unthinkingly reaching for a Snickers I would remember half way through eating it that I hadn’t wanted to indulge. Then, since eating a candy bar mid afternoon was not a moral issue, I would continue eating it, while hoping to remember the next time before I picked it up. Finally I came to a point where I remembered every afternoon that I didn’t want to eat a delicious but non nutritious snack of gooey caramel, sweet chocolate and crunchy peanuts. Now, twenty some years later I have given up chocolate almost entirely and when I do eat it, it is with full consciousness as I have discovered that theobromine, the stimulant in chocolate, and I don’t get along so well.
There are times when God nudges our conscience and we choose to give up a particular sin in our lives. Now we would appreciate it if God would always deliver us immediately and permanently from any desire we have for that particular sin; but if He chooses not to, then when that desire makes an appearance in our thoughts we need to pray for God to deliver us from that desire. It’s a process a lot like the candy bar experience. Sometimes we remember before, sometimes not til half way through and many times not til after indulging. From the wisdom of experience, my husband says that sometimes he needs to choose to pray every minute, but every time he prays the desire will disappear. “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) It is a battle, but when we allow Christ to live in us and through us, He will fight that battle for us!