I couldn’t even write yesterday. I was irritable and uncomfortable. It was only the second day of my 40-Day Purge, and a bean and cheese burrito was more appealing than a life-changing blessing. How do we let the rumblings of our stomach be the rudder that steers our ship? How can we go from firm intention to the point of giving up in a period of 24 hours?
Fortunately, I remembered a story that helped me get my mind off that burrito and onto the blessing God has in store for those who are called to receive an inheritance. Esau was the twin brother of Jacob. He was the firstborn to Isaac and Rebekah. Rebekah was barren, but Isaac prayed to God, and God answered his prayer with the blessing of twins. Esau grew up to be a hunter while Jacob hung around at home among the tents. Genesis 25:29-34 NCV depicts the rest of the story:
“One day Jacob was boiling a pot of vegetable soup. Esau came in from hunting in the fields, weak from hunger. So Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red soup, because I am weak with hunger.” (That is why people call him Edom.) But Jacob said, “You must sell me your rights as the firstborn son.” Esau said, “I am almost dead from hunger. If I die, all of my father’s wealth will not help me.” But Jacob said, “First, promise me that you will give it to me.” So Esau made a promise to Jacob and sold his part of their father’s wealth to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and vegetable soup, and he ate and drank, and then left. So Esau showed how little he cared about his rights as the firstborn son.”
Who, in their right mind, would give up their inheritance for a bowl of soup and a piece of bread? The same person who chooses the bottle over a breakthrough from alcohol addiction. The same person who chooses a spending spree over a savings account. The same person who chooses an affair over a wedding anniversary. The same person who chooses habit over change.
We are all human, and whether we realize it or not, we make hundreds, maybe thousands of choices, each day to either give in to temporary desires or beg God for His power to resist the temptation of now. Last night, I chose to give up, but I didn’t give in. I chose to give up my weak will to God, and when I surrendered that to Him, He blessed me with the self-discipline to shift my focus on something more eternal, something that would bring far more benefit than a temporal bowl of soup, or in my case, a bean and cheese burrito.
Today, I am one day closer to what awaits at the end of the 40-Day Purge, but I’m not stronger. I choose weakness because “…he said to me, ‘My grace is enough for you. When you are weak, my power is made perfect in you.’ So I am very happy to brag about my weaknesses. Then Christ’s power can live in me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NCV
I may be weak, but my intention is stronger. Temptation will come. Maybe it will be in the form of a glass of homemade wine. Maybe it will be the urge to binge on Netflix instead sitting quietly through guided meditation. Maybe it will be a snide remark from a family member that deserves a terse response. Whatever it is, I know it’s just a bowl of soup. And it’s not worth losing my inheritance.