Impulsivity often costs us dearly. The words that cut. The drink that distorts. The debt that accrues. Why is eating carrots not impulsive but eating cookies is? Why is saving $100 so much more difficult than spending it? Why is scrolling longer more simple than closing the app and moving on? Why is a sharp word easier than a gentle one?
In Hebrews 12:16-17, the writer points to Esau as a terrible example to follow. If Hebrews chapter 11 is the faith “hall of fame,” Esau is squarely on the list for a faith “hall of shame.” In Hebrews 12 we’re told that God disciplines those he loves. Discipline produces great things in our life, but when we resist, when we’re impulsive, lacking self-control things fall apart quickly. We’re called to live in peace and be holy. Verse 15 implores us to make sure that “no bitter root grows up” which causes trouble and defiles. Being holy like God, accepting discipline, and disciplining ourselves is the best way to live. It’s not easy, but it is best.
Esau despised his birthright. I assume it’s because it was a reminder of just how foolish and impulsive he was. We’ve all been there. We’ve all screwed up badly. We’ve all looked at something that was going to be good, but we messed it up and now it makes us mad. Maybe it was a previous marriage. Maybe it was more money that led to an aggressive lifestyle change we can no longer sustain. Maybe it was a leadership position that once thrilling is now crushing. Whatever it is, it’s not a death sentence.
God can free us from the weight of carrying our bad choices and bad circumstances. He can forgive us our sin, and he can lead us out of our mess. And yet we will need to discipline ourselves, exercise humility, and use self-control to undo some unintended consequences in our lives.
Humbly ask God to start today to help you see a path forward toward simplicity and to give you the will to pursue it.