The Self-Control Journey
So, to start this off, I have food allergies. No, I won't puff up and lose consciousness, but I'll feel really sick for a week or two and maybe get a rash. We found out about my food allergies when I was 12 because my mom had gotten tested, and I decided to try going off of things she was allergic to, so I could see if it had been carried on.
When you stop overheating, lose 5 inches off your waist in a week, stop breaking out, and your stomach calms down significantly... that's a pretty good sign, if I do say so myself.
When I first found out about my food allergies, I was EXTREMELY careful about not eating anything that contained something I was allergic to. That cookie has milk in it? No thanks. Wait, there's flour in the seasoning for this? Never mind, I'll go get an apple.
As time went on, I became a little less cautious. I mean, it's just a little bit, how bad could it be? I'll just sleep it off... I'm sure it's not that bad...
Guess what: it's that bad.
We live in a culture that does not glorify self-control, whether it relates to food or nearly any other area of life. We are taught to just let things go, let our hair down, what's the big deal anyway? Just this once... Except it's not just once. It becomes a pattern.
Christians often live this way about sin. When we are first saved, we are overjoyed at the freedom, disgusted by sin, and never plan to immerse ourselves in such habits and behaviors ever again. As time goes on, however, we become more susceptible. After all, just once couldn't really hurt, right? Just a little? I mean, it's not like I do it all the time. Just once.
Then all seems well and good until the "stomach ache" starts. Whether it's a matter of minutes or years, sin will come back to bite us, and as leaders it will come back tenfold. When we are entrusted with people to lead, whether in our household, workplace, or church, it is our job not only to lead them with our words, but with our example. If you can't keep yourself from devouring a dozen cookies when you're supposed to be on a diet, or from running into temptation when trying to remain pure, what kind of example are you giving? Are you showing them how to be steadfast, consistent, honest? Are you showing them that you are trustworthy and in control of yourself, or that you are are running toward instant gratification when you see it?
Every now and then, unhealthiness happens — even the healthiest people have guilty pleasures, and even the best leaders make bad calls every now and then. The goal is to have the self-control to prevent them whenever possible, and handle them with integrity when they happen.