Wow! What a trip around the proverbial “mulberry bush” I take every time I get caught up in yet one more vain attempt to manage my eating of unhealthy carbohydrate foods. That, for me, is the EXACT equivalent of an alcoholic trying to manage his alcohol consumption.
I think the phrase “vain attempt” fits really well for me, too. Why? Because it is so plain to me that it is vanity on my part to keep trying to manage my life. In the Book of Mormon, there is a really diabolical character named Korihor who was an “anti-Christ” or in other words an “anti-Savior” person. He taught the people that we prosper in this life, not through Divine intervention, but by our own “management of the creature,” and our own “genius” and “strength.” (See Alma 30:17.)
Being a child of the modern age (since the 1950s), I’ve grown up with those very ways of thinking and believing riveted upon my heart by the teachings of secular science. Secular science, like Korihor, teaches that any success we obtain is all about us and our abilities, because there simply isn’t anything or anyone greater than us and our own management, genius and strength to turn to. According to scientific thinking humans are nothing more than a highly evolved ape-like creature who is the highest, most intelligent life form on earth and even in the heavens, as far as we can observe. There’s no one “out there,” there’s nothing going on that is the slightest bit personal or interested in us. In short, we’re on our own. There is no such thing as a “God.”
And then there are the people that believe there is a God, but that He put us here in this life to prove ourselves worthy by showing how well we can do on our own, first, before we can expect any help from Him. . . . and that He expects us to do that on our own, without any help from Him until we’ve shown Him what we can do without help from Him. Only then will He get involved in our lives to save us–only after all that we can do. Those who function from this perspective, believe that the instructions to do many good works “of our own free-will and choice,” somehow translates into doing these good works by our own management, genius, and strength, in order to prove how “worthy” of help we are.
This is the kind of person I was like for years. I believed in God in exactly those terms. That’s how I saw His character and personality. He put me (all of us) here and then stood back and gave us the smallest amount of help possible so we could demonstrate what we could do on our own, without Him. I know. I know. I already said that. But you know what? It bears repeating, because it is one of the most “anti-Savior” ways of believing and thinking that a person could ever blunder into (with a lot of help from the adversary, Satan, who is doing all he can to convince us that God either doesn’t exist at all–or better yet, to convince us that God does exist but has left us here, in mortality, to blunder around on our own.)
Satan is a Liar and his tactics haven’t changed since the beginning with our first parents. Think about it. He used those same lies on them: don’t trust God, take your salvation into your own hands, rely on your own management of the situation, and your own genius, etc. And to take it yet one step further at least in my ability to relate to his tactics, I find it so interesting that he used the same tactic then to get them to ignore and abandon the counsel and companionship of God–he got them to lust after something “delicious to the taste.” Boy, do I relate with that form of lust. It’s exactly what kicks in when I start thinking of the foods I just want a little bit of. Just one bite. Just one more time. . . .
Thus, every time I try the “prove yourself worthy” approach to my behavior around food and eating and make it a predominant subject of my time and attention, trying to manage it, sooner or later my will-power crumbles. No matter how hard I try to ignore it–this eating thing is a VERY spiritually significant symbolism in my life–and only a spiritual solution deals with the desire/disposition/inclination to do myself “evil.” (See Mosiah 5:2.)
Only when I humble myself as Ether 12:27 testifies I must do, before the Savior, and give Him and my Heavenly Father all credit and all glory and honor, can I trust I will be carried past moments of temptation to resort to my addictive behaviors.