Sometimes, I cheat on my diet. My cheats aren’t sugar because that would result in an almost immediate illness. My cheats are little — a potato here, some white bread there, a little bit of fried food. However, I have found that over time these little cheats pile up and affect me just like a big cheat. But the battle goes on. It just seems more fun to eat fries than salad even though I woud be full at the end both meals. It’s like some primeval part of me  rebels against the phrase “you can’t have it.”

You who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ

I believe that I can manage the little cheats without them taking over but, eventually, I have to go cold turkey again to get back on track. It’s literally, one little morsel leads to another.

It’s the same in living and leadership for me. It’s pretty easy to avoid the deal breakers but I can be lured away by little things that derail my spirituality, productivity, and personhood. It reminds me of the verse that says Satan comes as a wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing. Most of us would never do something that we knew would destroy us but we convince ourselves and allow ourselves to be convinced that these little things aren’t deal breakers.

Unfortunately, small failures and little lacks of discipline tear away at most of our souls. These little cheats, bad attitudes, and less than good habits carve away at our self confidence, happiness, and productivity. It seems that we often rebel at the idea that we were chosen that we might obey God. Why does obedience seem so difficult when in the end following God’s eternal ways always result in a better life? Why choose the fries of life instead of the salad?

I have found that obedience is difficult when I focus on what I shouldn’t do. What I shouldn’t do brings up all kinds of temptation and rebellion in my soul but following God’s ways is easier when I focus on the value of that kind of living. It’s about choosing what is best for me and getting busy doing those things. If you struggle with making the best choices, let me suggest four simple steps that might help:

  • Buy a simple Bible and read it first thing each morning. If you need quick insight on great versus not so great living, read Proverbs, James, and 1 Peter.
  • If you aren’t being productive late at night, go to bed. Get some sleep and come out of the gates running in the morning.
  • If the “crowd” around you doesn’t seem to be wanting to follow God, change your crowd – quickly.
  • If you find yourself straying to the less productive or to what isn’t good for you, stop and do something good.
  • At the end of each day, make a quick list of all the things that you need to do. Check the list against what is good for you. Call someone smarter if you need some help.

What do you want to be when you grow up? Take some time to create a life plan that achieves that goal and don’t let anything take you off-track!