Do you have something you turn to when you feel under pressure or feel stress? When life is blowing up all around you and nothing feels like it is going right, what do you do? What do you use to deal with the stress? Personally, I am a stress eater! I love salty, hard, crunchy chips, (I’m looking at you, Kettle chips) and ooey, gooey, chocolate, preferably with caramel. For years, my husband knew that if I was having a hard time, or feeling too stressed out, I would make a batch of Rice Krispy Treats. I know that these are the type of things I turn to when I feel like I have little control with circumstances around me, but God has been speaking to me lately about these counterfeit crutches. When we rely on something outside ourselves to make us feel better or calm, to relieve stress and provide temporary relief, then we are looking for satisfaction in a temporary form. We can become enslaved and addicted. Sometimes it is easy to see other people’s addictions and sometimes it is nearly impossible. Drugs, alcohol, food-these seem easy to pinpoint, while things like gambling, porn, and video gaming are much harder to detect. I might add that I struggle with playing solitaire late at night as a way of destressing and finding some “me” time. Not all of our addictions are wrong, in and of themselves, but there is a fine line between a little bit and a lot a bit. When I look up to see that three hours have passed and I am shortchanging the sleep I need to be sane and nice to my family the next day, then there is a problem. You may have heard the saying that too much of anything is too much.
But God has provided a way for us to change our habits. John 14:16 states, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever”. One of the Holy Spirit’s names is Comforter. One of the very things I am trying to provide myself with using outside items, has already been provided to me by my Heavenly Father. You might think that God’s Comforter is nowhere near as tasty or entertaining but I submit to you that He is a heck of a lot healthier! I might also add that He doesn’t cost money and He doesn’t run out. He is more than I need. He is the “real” deal, not a cheap imitation, or a counterfeit. The original word given in John 14:16, for Comforter, is Paraclete, which means first Advocate, a defender, a helper, strengthener and comforter. The Holy Spirit does so much more for us than just lend us comfort. He comes alongside us and is available to strengthen us and help us as well. He encourages us in our lives to glorify Christ. The power to overcome the counterfeit crutches in our lives is given for the glory of God, and we can ask the Comforter that Jesus sent here on earth, in His place, to help us overcome our wordly foibles.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
It is because of the Holy Spirit, the other Helper sent to us, that God is now with us. In John 14:25-26, Jesus stated, “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you, But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things.”
We must pray to God daily to strengthen our faith. We must ask our Helper to help us overcome the challenges of this world and we can be encouraged that the power is given to us to overcome temptation, and to withstand the attacks of this world. We can find comfort from the challenges presented to us in the form of the One whom Jesus left for us, the Holy Comforter, who is more than enough, and is more than able. The Christian life can be a struggle. Life hurts us and people disappoint, but we can give thanks for the gift we have received. We no longer find ourselves reliant on things that cannot and do not satisfy, those counterfeit crutches we were using to limp along. Throw down your crutches, stand firm and thrive!
Whenever you feel sad, rejected, or disappointed, remind yourself to turn to your true Comforter, not a cheap imitation, even if it comes wrapped in chocolate and caramel sauce, it will never satisfy your soul like the love of the one with whom your heart is knitted to. “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.” Isaiah 43:2