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Impulsive Acts May Bring Regrets

This message is for me as much as it is for you, my readers. I’ve always had an impulsive nature and at times it has led to trouble. I pray it may not be so for you.

Eternal Perspectives by Sally Bair

Impulsive acts

As a youngster, I was small for my age but had a big appetite. In fact, I ate more than my dad, who farmed. I’d come home from school starving, yelling to my mom, “Food, food! I need food!” She’d have homemade bread still warm from the oven, and I’d down half a loaf.

I was like Esau of the Old Testament—to a point. Esau actually ate his way right out of his inheritance. He came home from hunting one day and demanded his brother Jacob give him some homemade stew. “I’m starving!” he said. Jacob thought, “Aha! Here’s my opportunity,” and offered Esau the fleeting meal of stew in exchange for his birthright. Esau clearly allowed his hunger to get the best of his common sense.

Hebrews 12:16-17 tells us that “Esau for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected …” He traded God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. Sadly, regrets and copious tears over his impulsive act failed to get his inheritance back.

Other kinds of hunger can get the best of us if we’re not careful. Families have been destroyed because the woman or man of the house maxed out the credit cards for items they believed would satisfy their “appetite.” For many others, the appetite for money, alcohol, or extramarital sex has brought ruin to marriages and families. And spiritually speaking, many Christians have lost out on God’s blessings of peace and joy 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 may have weaknesses and vulnerabilities that come in the form of short-lived desires.

The acronym HALT, used in some diet programs, can help prevent us from acting impulsively. Before taking action too quickly, we’re encouraged to HALT—stop and think—asking ourselves, are we Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired? Those four attitudes are the cause of many of our impulses. Eventually, because of them, we may lose out on God’s gracious promises—our spiritual inheritance of peace with him and the hope of eternal life.

Lord, thank You for Your power which helps us in our weaknesses. Make us aware of them so we will HALT, stopping and thinking before we act. We don’t want to miss out on Your blessings, such as did Esau, which You have promised through Your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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