Day Forty-Five: Work on the Small Things

I have a funny-serious story for you involving a 2-inch yellow packet of fake sugar. Let me just say before I begin, it is definitely the small things that matter. 

I am a coffee drinker. I always say I love my coffee anyway but black; however, yesterday I found out that’s not really true. 

In the mornings at home, I like my coffee a certain way: with Splenda.

You may be sitting there thinking, “Well, so do I. I don’t see the point.” Just wait…I promise I have a point to this account. 

Yesterday was like any other normal weekday morning…until I went down to get a cup of coffee. There, in the Splenda box, sat one packet of artificial sweetener. 

I nearly had a fit. 

I couldn’t believe that I had forgotten to tell someone the Splenda was running out…the world had come to an end! Refusing to use sugar, I emptied that one lonely packet into my coffee and complained about how my day was ruined. (See, I’m really not as “put together” as you may think!)

With the energy of one (not two) cup of coffee, I moved forward with my day. I didn’t give the incident a second thought until right before lunch, when the incident slammed back into my mind. I couldn’t decipher what was going on in my head; all I knew was that I felt guilty.

And then I found out why. 

I was giving that little packet of Splenda a lot more power than it deserved. Instead of just using sugar, I complained and threw a mini-trantrum in my mind. The thing was: Splenda had become my stronghold. 

It was that one thing that I still held onto for control. I could go out and eat a cheeseburger with no problem, but tell me that I have to use SUGAR in my coffee?! 

I couldn’t do it. 

That is a dangerous place to be, my friend. What may not seem to physically harm you can do a lot of damage spiritually. Those little strongholds can wreak havoc in your walk with God. 

In 2 Corinthians, Paul instructs us how to deal with these strongholds: “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

The word for stronghold, as used here, is actually “ochuroma”. The literal meaning in the ancient test is this: “to fortify, through the idea of holding safely; a castle”. Basically, anything we run to for shelter and safety that is not God. Splenda has been a stronghold for me. It is the thing I run to when thoughts about “beauty” increase. It is where I found a lot of safety. 

No wonder people call it a “safe” food. 

The thing is, your stronghold may seem safe to you, but it’s really not so safe. It is actually destructive. Instead of depending upon the One who made you and knows you, you place your trust in something (anything) else. My stronghold was my way of holding on to my definition of beauty; yours may be something completely different. 

Whatever your stronghold is, I challenge you to let go of it today. It may feel weird. It may even be scary. 

But freedom is so much better than slavery.

Today my Splenda box sits empty and sees no future of ever being refilled. A stronghold needs to be neglected in order to lose it’s power…will you leave yours today? I promise, those few moments of discomfort are worth it.

Verse: “We demolish arguments and every pretensions that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

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