Celebrating Self-Control With Chocolate Cake

I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

1 Corinthians 9:27

This month I am celebrating six decades of life with my family, and a big piece of chocolate cake. Everyone has their “thing”. My struggle is sweets, and it is real. But to be more specific it is not just any sweet, it is dark chocolate. The richer the chocolate the better. If someone could have figured out how to make peas and lima beans taste like chocolate, my pockets would not have been stained green.

Growing up in the sixties and seventies, sweet chocolate must have been expensive, and liver and onions were on sale every week. Yuck-a-doodle! Who likes liver and onions? My parents! Lucky me!

Grocery shopping was serious business, like a walk through a monastery. It was planned, strategic, specific, and no junk allowed. They could sniff out contraband sweets like bloodhounds. Of course, my dad would purchase his favorites, black licorice, orange circus peanuts, and coconut snowballs. Now wrap it up in Limburger cheese. Barf-a-rama! But smart, he knew his sweets were safe.

On a special occasion, like a birthday celebration, my mother would have a few sweets for us. The cake was homemade, and our chocolate choice were those World’s Finest chocolate bars. I remember selling those in elementary school and in the good old days they were a little bigger. But we were a stay on your block household, with never more than a few blocks of chocolate at a time.

Why am I talking about chocolate? Well, chocolate can take some of us with the sweet temptation off track, if we give in to it every time. If I ate chocolate cake everyday there is no telling how much I would weigh! And even worse, I would feel horrible. Moderation is the key, and with chocolate cake, that is birthday celebrations and anniversaries. In other words, not very often. I know my weaknesses, and try to discipline myself with self-control, most days of the week.

I am so thankful God has given me a TV platform to help people shape their bodies and hearts for His purposes. We should always celebrate the things the Lord is allowing us to do for His glory. While filming season eight of Shaped by Faith, one of the scripture themes for an episode was about eating healthy. In the middle of the episode, while doing a challenging core exercise, I looked up to see the next scripture verse. Continuing to exercise, my thoughts began contemplating how to make the scripture verse seem, less harsh. Time was running out on the exercise so I just said it the best I could.

“If you are a big eater, put a knife to your throat.” Proverbs 23:2

I did sort of laugh after I said it, because it is not one of those verses you hear very often.

What this verse really means is to curb your appetite, control yourself! But it could be true for many things and not just food. Control the tongue, temper, overeating, excesses etc. But, most definitely Solomon is referring to self-control when being hosted by a ruler or powerful person. He is advising to avoid overeating or becoming a glutton while eating. Gluttony is rarely a topic in the pulpit, falling into the dangerous domain of delicate subjects like adultery, divorce, lust, etc. But it could be because our population is growing.

Thankfully Paul reminds us of who we are in Romans 6:3-12. “Or have you forgotten than when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ in baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. Since we have been united in him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives.

We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus. Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires.”

So, this month I am celebrating self-control with chocolate cake. Not the whole cake, just one slice per celebration!

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

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