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Ball & Chain

This past weekend I made cookies.

And let me tell ya, I ate ton of them.

It’s like I broke off a piece of a cookie every time I passed them.

Cookies aren’t good for me to begin with, but I recently found out I have celiac disease.

Which basically means I just can’t eat gluten anymore.

Not even cross-contaminated foods.

But I love all things with gluten.

Pizza, cookies, bread, pasta—who doesn’t!?

But those cookies— were loaded with gluten!!

So they make me feel horrible.

And they’re horrible for me--not just horrible for me, they’re damaging to me.

Yet, I kept going back to them just because they tasted good and conveniently located on my counter.

How often do we do this with things in life? Whether it be-- people, things, addictions, food, body, status, possessions, career, money, habits—we know the way we feed off of them is not good for us, but something about it keeps us going back. We’re feeding our appetite for it, making us crave it all the more and growing our appetite and need for it. All the while desensitizing ourselves to it.

But we keep on telling ourselves...

“It’s on my counter”

“It’s the norm”

“It’s part of my routine”

“It makes me feel good”

“I need it”

“It’s not going to do anything to me”

“No ones going to know about it”

“I’ll stop next year”

“It’s not that bad”

“It could be worse”

“It tastes good”

“I don’t know how to go without it”

“It’s convenient”

“It’s what’s comfortable”

But none of these reasons make it any better for us. They’re still not good for us and even damaging to us. No matter what we keep going back to—if there’s any inkling of—“I know this isn’t good for me”

Then we have a white-knuckled grip on something we’ve made a god in our lives. We’ve given it permission to hold power and authority over us. What a cheap and worthless replacement to the One True King.

You can only have one God.

“You shall have no other gods before me.“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Exodus 20:3-6

Who is it? What is it? A bunch of small tiny idols you’ve set up in your life?

We have a jealous God. He loves us too much to let us be slaves to things of this world.

An idol is something you’ve given permission to have authority over you—to make you feel, think, act, speak in a certain way.

An idol is a ball and chain to your spirit and who you’re becoming. Every time you submit to the authority and power you give that idol over your life, the ball is only becoming heavier and the chain is only becoming thicker.

If you’re giving anything but God permission to hold authority over you, you are inhibiting yourself. You are slowing down your progress of who you are becoming and who you are created to be.

Who and what calls the shots in your life?

Why would I give a plate of cookies permission to slow down my progress in who I am working to become?

What holds power over you? Why? What would it take to let that go? Whatever that takes is the price you’ll pay to walk in the freedom the Lord Jesus has won for you. And that freedom is worth whatever the cost.

A plate of cookies on my counter was a minuscule example in my own life. But with an open heart and sensitive spirit, that’s all it needed to be to wake me up, and illuminate the idols in my life— the people and things I’ve given permission to have authority over who I am, who I’m becoming and the life I’m living.

Why do we keep going back to the things that hurt us? The things that are damaging to us. Why do we give those things permission and power over us? Why do we keep tightening the ball and chain weighing on who God created us to be?

Jesus is our Savior. He has set us free from that ball and chain. Now it's up to us to let the ball and chain go, and walk in that freedom.


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