How Wrestling With God Can Help Break Your Chains of ‘The Cake’

by | Mar 22, 2022 | Purpose & Identity

Brian “Head” Welch, founding member of the rock band KoRn, doesn’t drink alcohol anymore. He hasn’t for years.

Welch is my cousin, and he and I were talking on the phone late one Friday afternoon when I mentioned I was very ready for a few drinks. I remember saying that I enjoyed the occasional week-ending alcoholic buzz on Fridays. I enjoyed the pleasure and looseness that came on the heels of a few beers with family and friends.

Without judgment, Welch said in passing, “Scott, for me, it doesn’t stop with pleasure. It doesn’t stop with a buzz. It never has. I mean, why eat a slice of cake when I can eat the entire cake for the next 20 minutes?”

His tone was reflective and kind, informative and not condemning. And then we continued to make casual conversation. But my mind kept coming back to what he had said to me, “It doesn’t stop with pleasure … why eat [just] a slice of cake.” So after we said goodbye, I grabbed a pen and wrote what he told me about pleasure and cake in my journal.

You see, all the symbolic “cake” that surrounds me in life as a person living with bipolar disorder is wildly tempting. And while indulging in a piece of cake might start with pleasure, it has often ended with me being controlled and mastered by an appetite.

The fact is, in this regard, I’m not all that different from what my cousin described. My tendency is not to only figuratively dip my toe in the water, but instead, to essentially tie a rock to my neck and jump off the pier headfirst, being dragged to the bottom by what I crave. And the bummer of it all is my appetites tug on my mind daily—some less, some more.

As you might imagine, this is why I have a generalized love/hate relationship with the metaphorical cake. Because of this tug, there are types of cake I need to choose to never allow into my life at all. If I do, as my cousin expressed, I know I will eat the entire dessert, not just the one slice.

That afternoon, what Welch said to me highlighted a lifelong struggle I’ve had within my heart. I’m not anti-pleasure. I’m sure he isn’t either. But most importantly, I know God desires pleasure Himself. Pleasure is a gift to humanity from God. The King James Bible translates God’s will and purpose as “God’s pleasure” in Revelation 4:11 and Philippians 2:13. Even God loves pleasure!

Sin has owned me in the past. Food has owned me. Idols owned me. I thought I was acting in freedom, but I was a slave.

My things, desires, body, hypomania associated with my bipolar disorder, my devices, the streaming services with countless entertainment choices mastered me—all of it, at times, were precious pleasures that became embarrassing excuses for more, more, more. Oh, how I loved the pleasure of the cake. And yet oh, how I hated what I became when I chose not to stop at pleasure.

Almost immediately, I loathed myself. I felt like a filthy, greedy, all-consuming monster. In a way, the cake began to eat me.

It’s excruciating; I used to think I could run from the cake on my own. I was wrong. I learned that not unless I’d surrendered my lifestyle and health to the actual Great Hero, Jesus Christ, could I effectively, consistently and obediently turn and run from the power the cake had over me. To this day, my cravings and appetites still try to wrestle me away from God. The irony I learned was I was wrestling with the wrong thing; I suppose I might say I was wrestling the cake monster instead of God.

I’d suspected it for years, but it wasn’t until I watched my cousin Brian’s courage to grow in his faith and friendship with Jesus that I realized how necessary it was to honestly wrestle with God, like the ancient Hebrew, Jacob, did in Genesis 32:28. In contrast, the lifestyle I saw Brian trying to live was the same kind of lifestyle I saw Jesus live through the pages of the four Gospels in the Holy Bible.

Just like the ancient Hebrew father, Jacob, learned, the lifestyle of heroic disgrace resulted from wrestling with God, not wrestling the cake monster. In much the same way as Jacob, for example, Jesus poetically wrestled with God the Father daily to avoid the cake the devil tempted Him with while in the desert.

What I learned by watching my cousin and later, getting to know Jesus as my friend are three valuable points:

— To avoid the cake, wrestle with God.

— Wrestling with God gives confidence and power to remain obediently resolute in the face of temptation and to confidently run from it.

— Wrestling with God takes the mind off the cake.

I use these tips to stay healthy even though I’m not healed from my bipolar disorder—I choose to not eat the cake! No, I’m not perfect, but I am consistent as I manage the health of my mind, body and my spirit.

And I’m getting stronger. I’m so thankful my cousin shared his conviction about cake with me. Because in the end, purpose, joy and reward are the outcome (Ps. 16:11) of wrestling with and obeying God, carrying a cross and choosing to no longer eat the cake. {eoa}

Scott W. Box is the founder of the ministry Worship Hero. Scott’s mission is to change the way people understand and practice worship by providing tools to “Pursue Jesus. Reflect Jesus.” as a habit leading to hope; to become heroic worshippers. Scott’s a nice guy, and you’ll have all the time in eternity to get to know him and go on adventures together. But first, introductions are necessary. He wants you to meet the great hero, Jesus Christ.

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