There is a lot you can learn from story-time with kids just before bed. While tucking my daughter into bed recently, I picked up one of my favorite books off my daughter’s bookshelf. Its a story of two web-footed friends. One is named Frog and the other Toad. The moral of the story is its hard to say “No” to cookies. Here is a part of the story.
Toad baked some cookies. “These cookies smell very good,” said Toad. He ate one. “And they taste even better,” he said. Toad ran to Frog’s house. “Frog, Frog,” cried Toad, “taste these cookies that I have made.”
Frog ate one of the cookies, “These are the best cookies I have ever eaten!” said Frog.
Frog and Toad ate many cookies, one after another. “You know, Toad,” said Frog, with his mouth full, “I think we should stop eating. We will soon be sick.”
“You are right,” said Toad. “Let us eat one last cookie, and then we will stop.” Frog and Toad ate one last cookie. There were many cookies left in the bowl.
“Frog,” said Toad, “let us eat one very last cookie, and then we will stop.” Frog and Toad ate one very last cookie.
“We must stop eating!” cried Toad as he ate another.
“Yes,” said Frog, reaching for a cookie, “we need willpower.”
“What is willpower?” asked Toad.
“Willpower is trying hard not to do something you really want to do,” said Frog.
“You mean like trying hard not to eat all these cookies?” asked Toad.
“Right,” said Frog.
Where do you need willpower? In Philippians 3, Paul said that for so many people “their stomach is their god.” That is so true. As humans our sinful nature causes us to consume until we are slaves to what we consume. It can be gambling at the casino or sexual in nature. It can be slavery to substances like alcohol, tobacco or even, yes, cookies. For some of us it can be work. We don’t know how to turn off the computer or the email. A wise friend recently said, “the problem with a self-made man is that they are tempted to worship their creator.”
All is not lost, however.
“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
Look at what Frog and Toad did.
Frog put the cookies in a box. “There,” he said. “Now we will not eat any more cookies.”
“But we can open the box,” said Toad.
“That is true,” said Frog.
Frog tied some string around the box. “There,” he said. “Now we will not eat any more cookies.”
“But we can cut the string and open the box.” said Toad.
“That is true,” said Frog. Frog got a ladder. He put the box up on a high shelf.
“There,” said Frog. “Now we will not eat any more cookies.”
“But we can climb the ladder and take the box down from the shelf and cut the string and open the box,” said Toad.
“That is true,” said Frog.
Frog climbed the ladder and took the box down from the shelf. He cut the string and opened the box. Frog took the box outside. He shouted in a loud voice. “Hey, birds, here are cookies!” Birds came from everywhere. They picked up all the cookies in their beaks and flew away.
“Now we have no more cookies to eat,” said Toad sadly.
“Not even one.”
“Yes,” said Frog, “but we have lots and lots of willpower.”
“You may keep it all, Frog,” said Toad. “I am going home now to bake a cake.”
There’s some real practical wisdom here.
1. Remove the temptation. We have to cut out the internet. We have to buy carrots instead of cookies. We need to create boundaries on our time. The Bible says, “flee temptation.”
2. Find a Frog. Maybe you need to find someone in your life who will help you get rid of the temptation and hold you accountable. Right now think of someone whom you could confide in regarding your weak area of life? I am sure God has put at least one person in your life who can be a frog.
3. Be careful with Toads. Don’t get me wrong. I like Toad. He’s a good amphibian. But in this instance he was not helping Frog with willpower. You may have people in your life who are toads. Someone who will encourage you to give into your temptation. Someone that says, “live with your boyfriend.” “Come have a drink with me.” “Put work before family.” “Check out this explicit website or video.” Don’t let toads have too much influence in your life.
What’s your bowl of irresistible cookies. Take a moment to pray for God’s strength to face the battle of temptation today. Jesus will help you.
“Because [Jesus] himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2:18