Deuteronomy 32:32, “For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, And of the fields of Gomorrah: Their grapes are grapes of poison, bitter are their clusters.”
We are told without doubt in Romans 3: 23, “All have sinned.” The scripture continually reminds us of how weak and susceptible we are. And, of course, other humans never fail to remind us of our short comings and forget their own.
Matthew 26: 41, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” As much as we may desire to be perfect people in God’s eyes, we miserably fail because of the flesh.
If we have ever been victims of anything or anyone, we are victims of the flesh. The flesh is our greatest enemy and our susceptibility is dramatically increased by the world we live in. We have a much greater power to defeat Satan than the flesh. Satan, of course, works through the flesh and, at times, they are one and the same.
We are physical beings in the flesh, but spiritual beings in God’s spirit. Jesus, in a conversation with Nicodemus said (John 3) “Ye must be born again, that which is born of flesh is flesh and that which is born of spirit is spirit.”
We are created in the spiritual image of God (Genesis 1: 27) and, at that initial point in time, we believe in Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord we become indwelt with His spirit and become one with Him (Matthew 3: 11). Even though we are such, we still live in these bodies of flesh while we’re alive on this Earth and God is using us in this imperfect form to do His will and His work.
When we can come to grip with the simple concept or our frailty, we can then begin to deal with our problems. I am told people who suffer from alcoholism must first admit to themselves, they are indeed, an alcoholic.
Our poison is our enemy. That enemy may be within our own home, our social cluster, our government or even our church. 1 Peter 5:8, “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
In order to conquer our poisons, we must identify them.
No matter what our sin, bad habit, or addiction is, we must first be willing to face it head on and with the full armor of God and admit to Him and ourselves, we have a problem. If we cannot admit the truth to ourselves, how can we admit it to God?
I recently identified one of my poisons. Over the last several months, my energy level has gradually decreased. I’ve experienced muscle and joint pains simply because I did not have the energy to jog, do my regular exercises (sit-ups, push-ups, etc.) or even ride my bicycle.
The less I moved, the weaker I became and got to the point I could not even force myself to do the simplest exercise. I attributed this condition to my age and tried to convince myself, I would never be physically any better than I was at that time.
Then I realized my poison is sugar. I had really gotten careless with my consumption of sweets over these months of the pandemic. Also, in my family is the hereditary condition of diabetes. One thing I surely did not need to do was let my blood sugar get too high and frankly, it probably already was.
A few weeks ago, I ate my last honey bun and promised myself, “that’s it — that’s all — I’m through — I’m done.” No more sweets. I knew from past experience, if I could last two days, the craving would subside and the misery would be mostly over. By the third day, I was no longer gnawing at my knuckles. Unfortunately, drug addicts and alcoholics can’t get over their addictions this quickly.
In just a few days, I noticed my energy level was up, much of the joint and muscle pain was gone and, by the sixth day, I aired up my tires and went for a bicycle ride. It was a short ride, but a start.
At times, we become enraged at ourselves for our weaknesses, but that’s probably common. A man once told me he became so angry at himself he became suicidal, and would have done so, had it not left such a stigma on his family. He said, “I was so in hate with myself, I actually prayed for God to end my life.” Apparently, God had other plans for him.
The key point here is that we must identify these addictions and develop a personal strategy to deal with them. My addiction to sugar is nothing to compare with that of an alcoholic or a smoker or drug addict. It does, however, give me an understanding of what they are dealing with.
Addicts also fail to realize the damage done to their families. Homes have been broken, jobs lost, homes lost and effects on children that last a lifetime.
There are, of course, positive addictions. I used to be in fairly good physical shape because of my addiction to exercise. I long for those days again, but can’t seem to work up the wherewithal to get them back. Bible study is another addiction I cherish and do not want that one to go away.
Once we identify the problem, we can then develop an attitude toward the product. We must regard these various things we are addicted to as poisons; simply, because they are. There are also addictions that destroy our minds. Addictions such as pornography, gambling or even something as simplistic as sports, movie or video game addictions plague us.
I was standing in a checkout line at a grocery store many years ago and picked up a bag of chips. I read the ingredients and immediately returned the chips to the shelf and didn’t eat another chip for at least 20 years. I came to regard any type of processed chip as deadly poison. When I cannot pronounce or spell the ingredient, I do not need it in my body.
Processed foods are full of chemical preservatives and taste enhancers. Sugar is added to many products to improve the taste. The more we eat, the more we want and the more they sell and the more money they make. The manufacturers do not care if they are slowly killing us, as long as the stockholders make their dividend.
There was a restaurant about which many locals bragged on the good food and the talents of the great cook. It didn’t take long to determine the reason; the cook dumped sugar and bacon grease in most everything from her kitchen. So good, but so bad!
I totally believe in capitalism and free enterprise, but when the food processors are willing to kill us to make the sale, we have a problem.
Daniel 1: 8, “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” Humans were originally designed to be vegetarians (Genesis 1: 29). Daniel knew what God’s requirements were for the Hebrews and would adhere to those as best he could.
Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 13 give us what is called the Biblical diet. God gave the Hebrew people, nearly 4,000 years ago, listings of which foods were acceptable and which were not. My guess is sugar wasn’t included in the “do not eat” list because the only sugar in Israel was only in natural forms, such as in fruits and honey.
If our poison is sin or a substance abuse that is killing us or destroying our families, we must identify it and deal with it.
We give God credit and praise for His creation, but it’s time for giving Him praise for what He is capable of doing in our lives. Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
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