Sunday, January 9, 2011

Powerless

I woke up this morning thinking about what it means to be "powerless". ((If you're wondering why, just read my last blog entry....the first step is to admit I'm powerless over food.))

My first thought was a TV. A TV can't turn on without being connected to a power supply. But as humans, we can function without God's power. We are alive, we move around, we think... So the TV analogy doesn't fit very well. Then I considered my laptop. I plug it in until the battery is charged and then unplug it to carry it around (mainly to Starbucks!) so I can write (or web surf) where ever I please....until the battery runs down and it needs to be charged again.

On its own, the laptop is powerless. It must have an external power source.

On my own, I am powerless. "Where does my help come from?" (Psalm 121:1). What does that mean, particularly concerning food? That means when I go to the kitchen and I NEED food to fuel my body, if left to my own devices, I will choose butter and sugar in my oatmeal, or maybe even cake, for breakfast. (Cake has eggs and flour...two things I shouldn't have...let alone sugar and no protein.) Is it wrong to have butter (fake butter for me) and sugar in my oatmeal, or even to have cake for breakfast? No...that's not what I'm saying. But, for me, it's not the best choice. (To use yet another analogy, it's like putting regular gas in my car that has a turbo engine. The car will still run, but it would eventually build up gunk, and mess up the something or other and make the engine light come on. Obviously I don't know a lot about exactly why regular gas isn't the best for the car, but you get the picture!)

In 2 Corinthians 12 Paul talks about the thorn in his flesh. He says it was given to him as "...a messenger of Satan to torment me-to keep me from exalting myself!" We don't know what that "thorn" was, but it was something Paul was powerless over. He asked God "three times" to take it from him. God's response: "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Paul goes on to say he will boast of his weakness "so that the power of Christ may dwell in me."

I think Paul didn't admit defeat to the weakness. He didn't give in to what ever it was. He simply admitted that he, by his own strength, was powerless over it. He couldn't make it go away on his own. He couldn't handle it on his own. He was able to rest in his weakness because of his faith in the almighty power of his creator. He knew God's strength was sufficient. Paul still had to live with the thorn. He still had to deal with the effects of the thorn, whatever it was. If it was some kind of pain, he still felt it. For me, I will still have to deal with the desire for certain foods (**unless God removes it from me completely).

That's where the power cord comes in...I am powerless over my desire for food, but God is bigger than that desire. He made my body need food to function. Food isn't bad in and of itself. However, just like regular vs. premium gas, there is a better option of fuel for breakfast than cake. So I will admit I am powerless over food and ask God for His strength to make a better choice for breakfast. The tricky part is to step out in faith and eat that better choice "knowing" it will satisfy my body's need for fuel.

I remember being in a sticky situation one time, a time of extreme temptation. I looked up 1 Corinthians 10:13: "...God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." Immediately SEVERAL ways of dealing with the situation I was in came to mind. Not just one way out, but SEVERAL. Instead of choosing any one of those SEVERAL escape routes, I tried to bear up the temptation by my own strength, and naturally lost out to it.

When I go into the kitchen this morning, I will be faced with all kinds of choices for breakfast. If I go mindlessly I will most likely eat the worst thing in there (for me). Instead, I will boast of my weakness, admit that I'm completely powerless over food, and ask God for His strength. I'll not lean on my own understanding, but in all of my ways I will submit to Him (Proverbs 3:5-6). Then, by His strength, I'll choose from the good-for-me options and thank Him for giving me the power to eat well.

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Let me take a pause here and just try to explain some things for those of you who don't have a "thorn" you can readily identify and are trying to understand my "thorn". My thorn really isn't food. That is the way it manifests itself at this moment in my life, as it has been many other times. But my "thorn" has taken many shapes in the past: alcohol, the "need" for affirmation from men, my job and the need to excel in order to feel a measure of significance. I think a thorn can be anything I focus on more than I focus on God, anything that takes me away from Him and who I am in Him, anything I think His power and might "can't" conquer. That may or may not make a lot of sense, I just don't want anyone to get caught up in the fact that because I'm talking about issues with food this post doesn't apply to everyone. I think we ALL have "thorns" they just might look vastly different.

**Also, there have been many "thorns" in my past which God saw fit to completely remove from me. But, make no mistake, the manifestations might look different, but a thorn is a thorn. I think that's probably why Paul's thorn was never explicitly defined or identified.
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1 comment:

  1. I'm feeling a little powerless at the moment.

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