Friday, August 29, 2008

Daily Digest #130

Whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. —Romans 15:4

We all have sources of temporary comfort and happiness at extreme situations -- either when too depressed or too ecstatic, too bored or too busy. Oftentimes, simply to ignore reality. I, for instance, have developed a feeling of comfort in food. Food trips have always been a kind of bonding within the family since I was young. However, when I started living on my own, I noticed how I craved for more. It came to a point when nothing's ever enough. And the more I ate, the more I became depressed. When I felt this heavy thumping in my chest a few years back, it really scared me. At the same time, a real-life story was aired on TV about a 26-year old woman who died of a heart attack caused by fat in her bloodstream which clogged on her knees and flowed straight to her heart. So in a span of 6 months, I was able to lose 33lbs (maybe not so obvious but yes, i already lost some before :p ). Though I have been inconsistent with my weight loss, I constantly pray that I overcome my weakness, diverting my thoughts to meaningful things like helping people, or reading and learning more.

Let me share this article to you from the Purpose Driven Life online. As we reflect on our weaknesses, may we pray that we find comfort in God, where it is eternal. May we seek wisdom, courage and strength so we may be at peace with the world. Pray always.

We Move toward Our Focus

Run from anything that gives you the evil thoughts . . . but stay close to anything that makes you want to do right. 2 Timothy 2:22 (LB)

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Have you ever watched a food advertisement on television and suddenly felt you were hungry? Have you ever heard someone cough and immediately felt the need to clear your throat? Ever watched someone release a big yawn and felt the urge to yawn yourself?

That is the power of suggestion. We naturally move toward whatever we focus our attention on. The more you think about something, the stronger it takes hold of you.

That is why repeating "I must stop eating too much . . . or stop smoking . . . or stop lusting" is a self-defeating strategy. It keeps you focused on what you don't want. It's like announcing, "I'm never going to do what my mom did." You are setting yourself up to repeat it.

Most diets don't work because they keep you thinking about food all the time, guaranteeing that you'll be hungry. In the same way, a speaker who keeps repeating to herself, "Don't be nervous!" sets herself up to be nervous! Instead she should focus on anything except her feelings – on God, on the importance of her speech, or on the needs of those listening.

Temptation begins by capturing your attention. What gets your attention arouses your emotions. Then your emotions activate your behavior, and you act on what you felt. The more you focus on "I don't want to do this," the stronger it draws you into its web.

Ignoring a temptation is far more effective than fighting it. Once your mind is on something else, the temptation loses its power. So when temptation calls you on the phone, don't argue with it, just hang up!

Sometimes this means physically leaving a tempting situation. This is one time it is okay to run away. Get up and turn off the television set. Walk away from a group that is gossiping. Leave the theater in the middle of the movie. To avoid being stung, stay away from the bees.

Do whatever is necessary to turn your attention to something else.

Spiritually, your mind is your most vulnerable organ. To reduce temptation, keep your mind occupied with God's Word and other good thoughts. You defeat bad thoughts by thinking of something better. This is the principle of replacement. You overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).

Satan can't get your attention when your mind is preoccupied with something else. That's why the Bible repeatedly tells us to keep our minds focused: "Fix your thoughts on Jesus" (Hebrews 3:1 NIV).

"Fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable" (Philippians 4:8 TEV).

If you're serious about defeating temptation you must manage your mind and monitor your media intake. The wisest man who ever lived warned, "Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts" (Proverbs 4:23 TEV).

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