I love coffee. Frapped, capped, iced, mixed with hot chocolate…bring it on. The difficulty is that I am sensitive to caffeine. A little makes me alert but if I drink it too late in the day I will alert all night long. Two cups of Tim Horton’s and I’m jittery, shaky and irritable. You can almost hear my brain buzzing.
Here’s another strange fact: If my allergies are acting up, a cup of good hot coffee will make the congestion in my chest much more bearable. In fact, many moons ago doctors used to prescribe caffeine to help alleviate symptoms of asthma.
Just like any other ‘addiction’, there are lots of good reasons for me to drink coffee and I have a hard time staying away from it. When we hear the word ‘addiction’ we tend to think of the biggies: alcohol, drugs, gambling. There are lots of other things that we can get addicted to or that tempt us to do harm to our bodies or our souls.
So many of these things seem fine, even helpful, to us. They lure us in with what feels good, sounds good, or looks good. It’s exciting or thrilling; it makes us feel like we are stepping out of the box; we joke to ourselves that it’s our ‘dirty little secret’. We think that it’s not hurting anyone and is satisfying something in ourselves so that makes it right. How we need to be careful of those things that are fine for the body but kill our souls!
I’ve been dwelling on the first bit of the book of James lately: “Consider it pure joy, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Another version replaces ‘trials’ with ‘temptations’.
I am still wrapping my mind around how these tests and trials can be considered joy, even though I understand the theory of becoming mature or complete in my faith.
What I did notice was a couple of things. First, it says ‘when’, not ‘if’. We all face these things, so if you think you are too holy or mature to face them, think again my friend! Second, don’t look down your nose at those that are fighting against something and having a hard time with it. You will have your turn. We all have ‘that thing’ in our life that will be a temptation and a trial. It may be different at different times or seasons in your life, but it will be there. You may say ‘no’ a dozen times, and then say ‘yes’…but don’t be discouraged and do not give up. It’s the getting back on your feet again and finding the strength to say ‘no’ again that develops perseverance.
Find that person in your life that you can share even your deepest thoughts with and let them know you are struggling. It’s good to have that caring person with the warm shoulder say, ‘You aren’t alone. We all struggle. You aren’t stupid or weak. You are a child of God and He loves you and He forgives.’ Hopefully that same friend will also point you back to the Word and back to Jesus. Jesus knows you most and loves you best. He will be your greatest strength to face 'that thing' again and gain the victory.
By the way...to all my Canadian friends: HAPPY CANADA DAY!!!