As wonderful as the holidays can be, this season brings troubles of it’s own. For me, the struggles usually center around the Temptation Trinity: Family, Food & Finances. There are difficult people, endless treats, and a million things to buy. It gets so much harder to make healthy choices in how I speak, eat and spend. So, this year I want to prepare in advance to have a healthy holiday season by looking at a few scriptures.
How does God’s truth apply to common struggles we face this time of year?
You are not destined to fail.
Romans 6:6-7 (NIV) > For we know that our old self was crucified with Christ so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
Remember, the old you, who was stuck in sin and destined to repeat your mistakes, is dead. The person who needed comfort from unhealthy people/places/things is gone. The person who despaired because you weren’t strong/smart/good enough to handle/fix/change whatever is going on… is six feet under.
Colossians 2:12 (NLT) >For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.
You got a makeover so extreme, you’re a brand new person. Yeah, the same tendencies and struggles may still be there (Romans 7:20-25 makes that real clear), but the real you is the one who takes joy in right living. The person who goes to God for comfort and strength in any situation. The person who trusts and hopes in Christ because He is powerful enough to handle whatever. That’s who you are now; empowered by God to make life-giving choices in all things, including family issues and food issues and money issues.
You are empowered to live rightly.
Romans 12:1-2 (NASB) > Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Here are 4 things I notice from these verses:
- We have to make godly choices, daily, between things that are life-giving and things that are life-diminishing; between the healthful and unhealthful. Being made new in Christ makes this possible, but doesn’t always make it easy. That’s why Paul “urges” the believers to choose to do one thing and not another thing.
- What does he want them to do? To give their whole selves to God, not just words or deeds, but the whole, entire body and everything that goes with it (spirit, soul, flesh, mind). He wanted them to be all in. Before we head into the holidays, lets surrender everything, once again, to God.
- What does he not want them to do? To conform to the world. To compromise because we got lost in a moral gray area. Look at some of the worldly qualities listed in 2 Timothy 3:1-7 > irreconcilable, lovers of money, without self-control, led by impulses. How many of these things are easily justified by the world, especially during the holidays?
- We are transforming! This is the key ingredient to the secret sauce right here. God is teaching us to think differently, giving us a new perspective on and new approach to our old problems. Our inner transformation will produce outward results!
So, instead of our minds being clouded by emotions and unhealthy desires, God helps us think and see clearly. God is changing us from the inside out.
Bring God into every situation.
Let’s be intentional and proactive. Let’s ask God to change how we think about specific struggles that seem to be more difficult this time of year.
Think about the temptations you’re likely to face over the next few weeks. Do you tend to indulge too much in food or alcohol or…?
Think about the people you will spend time with that are difficult to love. Have any unspoken hurts or unforgiveness or…?
Think about the financial decisions you have to make. What are the expectations and worries? Where do they come from?
Let’s ask God to renew our minds
and change our perspectives on these situations.
You are not destined to repeat the mistakes of your past. With a renewed mind and the wisdom of scripture, He helps us sort through the grey areas, the lies, and the emotional triggers so we can choose to live rightly.
Philippians 2:13 (NASB) > For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Remember, you are not facing anything on your own. Yes, you still have to make tough choices and walk through difficulties. However, knowing what Christ has done for us and how God is still transforming us should increase our resolve to…
- Treat our bodies well as they are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) and instruments of righteousness (Romans 6:13).
- Not set our heart on or put hope in money and possessions (Matthew 6:19-24) or believe they will solve our problems or provide security (Hebrews 13:5-6).
- Respond to friends and “frenemies” with love and prayer (Matthew 5:43-48), and seek to forgive and be forgiven (Colossians 3:12-13).
Here’s to a Healthy Holiday Season
I hope this was helpful. And if you have any goals this year related to health, fitness, budgets, or relationships, here is one last encouragement I’d like to offer:
Be motivated by love. Not guilt, fear, pride, jealousy or feelings of inadequacy.
Because God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7).