We all have limbic systems that drive our animal appetites. Sex n' drugs n' rock and roll are desirable because the primitive lizard brains that sit inside of our glorious human brains says they are. Your limbic system is what drives you to do both the things necessary for survival and the things you really oughtn't like lust and gluttony. For Christians, we face a constant fight with our limbic systems as we strive to be what the Bible tells us to be. When we fail, we're hypocrites. We preach one thing and do another.In my continuing effort to pray and practice abstinence for my friend with cancer, I still find myself tempted to surrender to gluttony, sloth and more. Last night, I came home craving a beer or three. It was even worse after I did some paperwork at home that I really didn't feel like doing. Usually, I'm very self-indulgent. I like to give myself limbic treats for overcoming even minor problems. I've done an order of magnitude less of it during this period of abstinence and last night, I successfully resisted temptation.
What happened? What was the mechanism by which success was achieved? I was so busy cracking open the can of V-8 as a substitute for the IPA, that I wasn't mindful of the mechanism by which I won the fight. Is it even possible to pinpoint the sequence that led to winning? Can you pick out the moment when the game was over? I think it was when I picked out the V-8 from the pantry because from there, I wasn't going to head out to the garage fridge to get the brewski.
Is it when you begin to do something that makes sin too difficult? Substitution is a commonly-mentioned way of getting past addictions and temptation in general. Is that how it works? Is it just the act of getting the substitution chain started?
- Go to pantry
- Get V-8
- Open it
- Make the traditional Monty Python reference, "Crack tubes!"
- Drink the first sip
For each step, here's the corresponding step that will put you back on the path to sin.
- Close pantry door and head to the garage. (Easy)
- Put V-8 in kitchen fridge and go get a beer. (Relatively easy)
- Put the full, open V-8 on the counter and go get a beer. (Unlikely. Open beverage containers are often the target of house pixies who love to tip them over.)
- Say, "This is the wrong tube!" (Even more unlikely as you've sounded the bugle and the troops have begun their charge.)
- Put it down and go get a beer. (Almost impossible. Beer after V-8 sounds dreadful.)
Hmm. Is going to the pantry and grabbing a V-8 right when you get home the answer?
|House pixies. They're all fun and games until they tip your V-8 so it spills all over one of the dogs.|