Over the last few weeks I have gone rogue. Since my birthday, life has been a piece of cake... one right after the other. I’ve had so much cake in the last two weeks that my tummy is starting to resemble a bowl of batter. I’m like butter on a roll. I haven’t found a piece of cake that I don’t like.
My friend, Rona, brought in a slice of carrot cake from the McQuades bakery on my birthday. I looked at the calorie count. It wasn’t that bad. I figured I deserved to enjoy all 430 calories. It was so good! Then I made the mistake of looking at the packaging again. My little piece actually qualified as three servings. NOT FAIR!
A little later my Administrative Assistant, Dorothy, brought in a personal sized, fruit topped, dessert. “How bad could that be?” I thought to myself. “It has fruit on it. Fruit is good for you.” I didn’t bother to look up the calories. You know the old saying, “Fool me once...” I was not going to stress out over it. It was my birthday.
A few days later my good friends invited us over for dinner. Guess what was on the dessert menu. Chocolate cake! Mary Ann said it was a new recipe. I enjoyed it so much that she insisted I take it home so the kids could enjoy it too. I should have known better. You could take bets on who was going to finish off that cake.
When Lori got home from work the next day, she looked at the cake and said, “Did the kids enjoy the cake?” Then she looked at me and said, “Did you eat it all?” I must have looked like Sylvestre the cat with a Tweety bird in his mouth. Good thing Weight Watchers is reopening this week in Westerly, because we all need help.
It is in these moments that I can readily identify with the apostle Paul. He writes in his letter to the Romans, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate, I do...” and he concludes by writing, “If I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”
We all have our battles. Some wrestle with a sharp tongue or an addiction to alcohol or drugs. Many fight with the urge to be judgmental and hyper critical of others. Sexual sin is pervasive and an Achilles’ heel for too many people. An overblown ego, a sense of entitlement, or a feeling of superiority bring others down.
We can’t overcome these problems on our own. AA, Weight Watchers, and self help groups are great but you need to keep going back to succeed. We need something with staying power. The apostle suggests that we can find it in Jesus. He is the rock. He is the sure foundation. He is the one who gives us the victory. In Christ, we can say “No!” to temptation and stand strong in our faith.
The Rev. Cal Lord is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Westerly.