Talking more than listening. Sitting more than moving. Mindless eating more than thoughtful consumption. My list of yielding to temptations stretches forever. The desire to do what we want instead of what we need for our wellness, relationships, and work/home balance is an endless battle. Yet, there is a way to win this war.
Having recently climbed to the other side of life’s proverbial hill, I’m even more eager for diligent attention to needs more than wants in life. A balance is necessary for overall wellness because if we cave to temptations too often, we may miss God’s plan for us-His best.
This fall in our #HolidayWellnessHabits series, we’ve looked at choosing conscious over convenient Habits, Obedience over procrastination, and assessed our Loves and Lapses. We’ve learned to Insert God’s Intelligence, Decided to be Diligent and to pay Attention to what matters. Let’s wrap this up by knowing God has a life and wellness plan for each of us. I need but also want to follow His, not my, plan. Instead of Yielding to temptation, I want to say Yes to God’s best.
God’s best usually looks and feels different than what we want or could even imagine. It sometimes involves failure, disappointments or heartache. Just like a seed has to be buried in the dirt to transform into its best, we too may experience some dirt on the path to God’s best.
Finding our way through the difficult often includes temptations for easier or more desirable options. People, distractions and our wants tempt us to stray from the path to God’s best. We may not fully enjoy the narrow way Jesus spoke of. But that is what He calls us to.
James reminds us what to do when troubles and temptations come:
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. ~James 1:2
Seriously? Joy? We’re supposed to find joy in trouble?
Yes. Sometimes, this is where we find ourselves on the narrow path to God’s best.
We consider this joy because in these moments, we choose to follow. We choose to follow His needs, not our wants.
In the stress, temptations, and trouble, we find ourselves lacking. We learn we cannot possibly manage well alone. Many seek help from outside sources-other people, better time or stress management tools, and additional remedies. These can be useful, but also distracting. Ultimately, we choose to stay on His path and move forward. But how?
Paul reminds us that when we’re tempted God will show us the way:
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. ~1 Corinthians 10:13
The way out of temptation and the best path for our lives is to follow Jesus. He gave us all we need-forgiveness, grace, salvation, and also guidelines on how to live until He comes back for us. We just need to follow His footprints.
Stress, troubles, and temptations abound in this life. But God always provides a path to His best. On a recent stressful morning, God showed up in my email with exactly what my family and I needed:
As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands. ~Psalm 119:143
There it was-the next step on God’s path for us that day. Follow Him and His commands. God’s next step for me very frequently shows up in a verse, a Christian song, a word from a friend or a Bible reading.
Following Jesus may not always be easy or include what we want. But, let’s not yield to the temptations threatening to steal our wellness in soul, mind, and body. Today and this holiday season, let’s choose to know in the depths of our soul of God’s presence and plan. Let’s say yes to God’s best and follow His footprints to a life well lived, both here and to eternity.