Just One Bite
He burned his son as an offering and used fortune-telling and omens and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. 2 Kings 21:6
No matter how many times my plan has failed, I still find myself saying, I’ll have just one bite. Only a little cheat and then I’ll go back to eating healthy. Then, after I’ve consumed a bagful or bowlful, I remember that when I give in a little, I do not stop at a little. I immediately go back to my previous destructive eating habits, or worse.
This was the story too, of the Israelites of the Old Testament, whose history is one of cyclical destruction. They repetitively turned from God to pursue false idols, suffered some catastrophe, then returned to God, only to wander again.
Manasseh, who reigned in Judah after his father, the godly king Hezekiah, returned his people to their rebellious ways, worshipping Baal and even sacrificing his own son as a burnt offering. He did not slowly ease Judah back into idol worship. He indulged fully, returning his people to the same destruction they had previously known, perhaps even worse.
We may find the Israelites history painful, as they made the same mistakes over and over, but any shred of honesty will reveal that our personal history is a microcosm of theirs. We often do the same thing, following God for a while, but then going back to following ourselves.
This is a common phenomenon with addiction to any destructive behavior. Once we do well for a while, we start to think we can enjoy just a little of the old life. I’ve been good. I deserve this. Just one bite. I’ll be fine. Then, as we spiral downward, out of control, we realize what we’ve done.
This is why it is so important for us to make that daily effort to turn from self to God. When we think we are doing fine and can have just one bite, we step into a downward spiral of the old life. If, however, we daily deny self and follow Christ, we interrupt the destructive cycle as we embrace a new life.