When it comes to impulsive acts, I consider myself the queen of errors. Some have been humorous, others seriously stupid. I thank God for His patience and the refreshing ways He uses to turn something not so great into something wonderful. However, that should not keep any of us from trying to mend our impulsive ways. Happy mending—with the perfect thread and needle of God’s Spirit.
ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES by Sally Bair
To my regret, many times I’ve acted impulsively. As a small youngster, I still ate more than my farmer-dad. I’d come home from school starved—yelling to my mom, “Food, food! I need food!” I’d down half a loaf of Mom’s homemade bread, still warm from the oven. Trouble is, even when I wasn’t hungry, I often stuffed my mouth with food, without thinking.
Esau of the Old Testament ate impulsively, too. In fact, he ate his way right out of his inheritance. After hunting one day, he demanded that his brother Jacob give him some homemade stew. “I’m starving!” he said. Jacob thought, “Aha! Here’s my opportunity,” and offered Esau a meal of stew in exchange for his birthright. Esau allowed his hunger to get the best of his common sense.
Hebrews 12:16-17 tells us to “watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite.” Esau later regretted his impulsive act but in spite of his copious tears, he could not get his inheritance back.
Other kinds of unsatisfying hunger can get the best of us if we’re not careful. How many families have been destroyed because one spouse maxed out the credit cards on items that bring “happiness” for a short time? How many marriages have been shattered because of excessive drinking or taking drugs? How many Christians have lost out on God’s blessing of peace because they allowed worry or fear to cloud their reliance on God?
Esau saw his physical prowess and hunting ability as his strength and it led to one huge, impulsive act that brought great regret. Like Esau we too have short-lived desires that make us weak and vulnerable.
The acronym, HALT, can help us prevent impulsive acts. We can HALT—stop and think—whenever we’re Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. Those four feelings tend to make us act impulsively. Eventually, because of them, we can lose out on God’s gracious promises—our spiritual inheritance of peace with him and the hope of eternal life.
The HALTing part can include taking a walk, seeking out a supportive friend, praying, or bringing to our memory a Bible verse. God is our strength in times of need. In believing, we will receive. We don’t have to trade away God’s lifelong gifts in order to satisfy our short-term appetites.
Lord, Thank You for Your blessings, especially for Your strength that helps prevent us from acting impulsively. In Jesus’ name, amen.