"And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack
of faith." (Matt 13:58);
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." (Gal 5:1)
Last week, we discovered that God's miracles in our lives are not always permanent, that they are dependent upon faith and trust, and that when we begin, even for a moment, to attribute them to other sources, we risk losing those same blessings. This is clearly illustrated in the life of Samson. We also saw that Elizabeth, the cousin of Mary, found the secret of what to do in the face of a miracle: She separated herself for five months so that she could focus on giving glory to God for her miracle.
How can these important lessons be applied to our lives today?
When I was saved some years ago, I was immediately delivered from one of the two addictions that had plagued me my entire life. However, the second one, gluttony, continued to defeat me on a daily basis, and frankly, 20 years later, I was pretty tired of the dominion it had over my life.
Throughout this time, I have often written about the freedom that comes to us through Christ; yet why did this same freedom elude me? And how could I go on preaching Freedom in Christ, when I continued to be fettered by my appetite that was never satisfied?
To be perfectly honest, however, I'm not sure that I can say God didn't deliver me years ago.
I can distinctly remember about 12 years ago when the temptation to overeat completely left me for a few weeks. God got the praise initially, but as time went on, it began to seem "easy" to not overeat. I began to ask myself why "I" hadn't done this years ago. I fell right into the traps that eventually brought Samson down, and it wasn't long before I was once again completely overcome with gluttony.
There was another time, about 6 months ago, when I went through an entire next week without even a tiny temptation to overeat. But I must admit that I doubted the permanency of the miracle, for it hadn't lasted the last time.
Is anyone surprised that it didn't?
Last week, God impressed the message of "In the Face of a Miracle, Part 1" upon my heart. I didn't realize it would have a "Part 2" at the time, nor did I see any connection between this and my lifelong archenemy, gluttony. That day, as I was driving to a nearby town, I felt compelled to put myself in the presence of God. Then in my mind, I saw Him reach out His hand to me. "I have a gift for you," He heard Him say, and as I reached out to receive it, I felt something like electricity going through my stomach. I realized that God was giving me deliverance from gluttony, but my mind immediately went back to the last two times. Would this be temporary, just like before?
I was immediately impressed with the stories of Samson and Elizabeth, the stories I had just written about, and I knew what God was trying to tell me: The permanence of my deliverance depended totally on my faith that He had delivered me. I decided then and there to follow Elizabeth's example: I began praising God for my deliverance. Every time my mind began to go down the habitual pathways of gluttony, I praise God that He had delivered me, and as I did, the temptation to overeat, to even contemplate eating, instantly fled.
Is the deliverance permanent this time?
Was it permanent before?
I believe the answer is "yes" to that as well. I believe that God did delivered me of gluttony when He delivered me from the other addiction. My problem was that I was too much like Samson and too little like Elizabeth. I took the credit myself, I didn't spend time giving God the glory He was due, and in so doing, it was like I threw His gift back into His face.
But God is faithful and loving, and by His grace, He kept giving me back the gift until the day that I finally realized what was going on and fully accepted it for what it was: A gift of God, a miracle, something that I cannot achieve on my own, even after 20 years of trying.
What will I need to do to retain the deliverance this time?
I will need to continually meditate on the miracle, on how I proved over and over again that I could not control my own eating, but with God, all things are possible. I will need to keep reminding myself of how big and powerful God is, and I will need to continually put my total trust in the Truth: Jesus delivered me from gluttony when He died on the cross.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire "In the Face of a Miracle" mini-series, please click here.)