Overcoming Self-Indulgence requires you to look at the hidden habits of your heart. What do you do when you are stressed? Do you find yourself standing inside the pantry looking for something to eat?
Maybe you don’t set out to over-indulge — you just kind of stumble into it. You start by enjoying something — then you just take TOO MUCH!
Self-indulgence is when we put our own short-term desires first, often short-circuiting our long-term objectives. You may be most tempted to buy something and put it on the credit card. Your temptation might be to turn to food or romance novels to meet a need. Some of us even over-indulge in work to try to meet an inner emotional need to feel significant.
Over-indulgence always has a price tag. Often, our empty feelings of discontent can drive us to addictive behaviors which bring death to our dreams. Self-indulgence is feeding on the world rather than feasting on God. Oddly enough, the addictive cycle in life never satisfies. There is always a longing for more. Imelda Marcos is most well known for the 2,700 shoes that were left in the Manila Palace when she and her husband Ferdinand fled the country. The people of Manila went barefoot as Imelda’s insatiable desire for shoes marked her life. The enemy knows how to hook people with what seems small or subtle.
Ask yourself: When I am stressed, what do I turn to?
Do you find yourself thinking about your problems as you search the pantry for something to eat? Or, do you escape from your problems by reading a romance novel, or shopping, or even by working? Anything that you use to satisfy your deepest longings, outside of God, will never answer the desires of your soul.
Hebrews 12:2 says, Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
You can do it! You have a whole crowd cheering you on! Start Running and Don’t quit. You can break every pattern of self-indulgence!
I would love to hear your comments on this. If you are really brave, share a story about yourself. I shared the “pantry story,” now share one of yours….