If I could ingrain one thought in my children's heads, it is this.
The person that we ultimately become is the culmination of our consistent daily choices.
My kids have watched me make some good choices in life. I exercise. I fulfill promises made to others and I speak openly about my relationship with Jesus Christ.
My kids have also watched me make some bad choices in life. The frustration that I show when I allow myself to get overwhelmed, the occasional slip of profanity when I stump my toe, and the decision to stay in bed on a cold rainy Sunday morning rather than faithfully going to church.
My point is this. We all have good and bad in us and we have to guard our minds and our hearts each and every moment to ensure that we remain on the path defined by God. Man was born with a human nature which draws us toward temptation. We sometimes look at the word temptation as though it were the sin itself. This could not be further from the truth. God tells us in 1 Corinthians: 10:13 that if we will turn to him in times of temptation he will help us find a way out. No temptation has overtaken you except for what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
The choice to act on the temptation is ours and ours alone and each and every time that we make a choice either to engage in the temptation or turn from it, we further define ourselves.
Our world as we know it today allows the escape of personal responsibility far more than I have ever seen in my lifetime. We spend more time looking for someone to blame for our problems than taking a good hard look in the mirror and making the appropriate changes needed to improve our lives.
A good example of this is the rate in which a large amount of the population is becoming obese. We blame McDonalds, we blame school lunches or we blame God. With the exception of specific health conditions, the calculation to lose weight is simple. Spend more calories than you deposit. We can certainly manage to understand this calculation when it comes to our checkbooks, so why is it so difficult to apply in order to lose weight? The answer… temptation.
The steamy, spicy, gooey slice of pepperoni pizza is far more enticing than having the spinach salad for lunch. It's a choice. If we make the choice considering only the short-term benefits, we will choose the pizza every single time. It's a quick fix that satisfies an immediate desire. However, if we weigh the consequences of long term health benefits, our will power begins to slowly engage.
Teen pregnancy, bankruptcy, a broken marriage, a loss of trust, a loss of friendship, even ultimately a loss of life. Each of these situations can begin because of a strong immediate desire for something which is ungodly. It takes less courage to talk about your boss behind his back or to find love in the arms of someone other than your spouse than it does to openly communicate and confront problems head-on. But quick fixes are just that. Quick. They make us happy momentarily, but will usually come back to haunt us months or years down the road.
To my children whom I love dearly. This article is for you. I love you more than life itself. I may not leave you with a million dollar inheritance, but I can leave you with billion dollar advice.
Never take the easy road. Make decisions for the long-term every moment of every day of your life. At the end of the day, you are your decisions.
I love you.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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