As I packed my groceries into my car, I pulled out the bag of white grapes. As is custom, I unzipped the bag, pulled off a grape and popped it in my mouth. Perfect, I thought. Then, as I eyed the prized pumpkin spice bagels, a knot formed in my stomach. I looked at the grape bag in horror and threw it into the trunk in disgust. Idiot! How could you do that?
Let me start this by saying I picked a bad week for a juice fast. On the Sunday before, I decided to do something called a juice fast- not for any spiritual reason but more for the actual health benefits. I’ve done it before and decided that this would be a good time, forgetting that I had agreed to put together a breakfast on Tuesday morning. When I remembered that on Monday, I had a choice: forgo the fast and binge on breakfast or skip an amazing breakfast in order to continue and complete the fast (which I was already 24 hours into).
I chose to continue the fast.
Then came Tuesday morning. I dashed to the grocery store at 6 am and loaded the cart with fresh fruits, pancake mixes, bagels and juices. This was going to be one good breakfast. I rolled out to my car, and popped that little white grape in my mouth. I chomped around on it and thought, “Hmmm… a pumpkin bagel would be so good.” As I swallowed, I thought, “I’ll have to have one of those when I get ho– Oh no! What have I done!?”
I broke my juice fast with a little white grape.
Now, it wasn’t the end of the world and I doubt my body would have known the difference, but if you had been inside my mind in that moment, you would have thought I had just made one of the worst decisions of my life. The battle that came in the moments after was comical (in reflection).
I thought, “Well, I’ve already messed it up, might as well eat that bagel. What’s the point, I’ll just start again next week.”
Truth be told, that little grape did nothing to destroy the benefits of a juice fast. In fact, it was practically juice when I swallowed it. Still, I was willing to throw the whole thing in and just chow down on a bagel (which I assure you would have destroyed the benefits of a fast).
But the thought occurred to me as I drove home, disgusted at my apparent lack of self-discipline (yes, over a grape).
At times, this is how we handle lust!
So many young women I’ve talked to (and myself included) can have this mindset when we are walking in freedom from lust. We have habits that our sin has engrained in us. We have thought responses that are part of our make-up. Now that doesn’t make those thought responses right and part of God’s working in our lives is to change those, but let’s be honest here, there is no way we can go from a background of lust to never ever ever thinking about sex in any way ever again.
The problem is, we adopt a white grape mentality. We are triggered in some way by something and it makes us think about sex. It could be a fleeting thought, but we still thought it and the following thoughts go something like this.
Oh great, there goes that clean streak. Now I get to start all over again. Hey, since I’m starting all over, why not just go all the way and just look at some porn and masturbate. I’m starting over tomorrow anyway.
It’s twisted logic but it’s what we do! Even when we think good things about sex, we can guilt-trip ourselves into going back to square 1.
Here’s the deal: There is nothing wrong with sex. There is nothing wrong with acknowledging sex’s existence, and there is nothing wrong with acknowledging your own sexual desire. That’s part of humanity- we don’t continue without it
The issue comes when our acknowledgement comes at the expense of our purity. I guess that’s the best way I can put it. It’s not like we are supposed to walk around with blinders on pretending that babies are made in a factory in Heaven and dropped off by storks. However, we are not supposed to walk around with a flippant disregard for the sacred and holy.
So before you go and throw yourself off the cliff into the black hole of pornography or masturbation again, stop yourself. Evaluate the situation. Take it to God in prayer. If you are in a current temptation, get out of there. If it was nothing more than an “Oh, he’s hot” ask God to guard your heart and mind. If it was a fantasy or lustful thought, ask for forgiveness right then, that way you don’t have an excuse to sin freely until midnight. Realize that this is a learning moment for you and mark it down as something to be aware of. Don’t throw in the towel because of one moment.
Heaven has no concept of time. There is no “Days Since Last Failure” sheet in Heaven. If you slip and fall, get up and walk on, don’t run back to the starting point and start over. Ask for forgiveness and start from right where you are!