All of us have habits and hobbies of different types. Some of those things we like to do can be good for us. Some can hurt us. Take for instance playing sports. This can be both healthy and hurtful. Exercise is good for us. It can also be unhealthy if we do too much and not take into consideration our health issues. We know we have to use wisdom and good old fashion common sense. Doing what we like is fun but if you do not discipline yourself, and obey the signs your body gives you the results can be quite unhealthy.

One such habit we all participate in that can be both beneficial and damaging is eating. I read this story in a devotional from that illustrates my point. It is based on Romans 6:6-7, “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin--because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.”

Canadian journalist Thomas Costain described the life of Raynald III, a fourteenth-century duke in what is now Belgium. Grossly overweight, Raynald was commonly called by his Latin nickname, Crassus, which means “fat.”

After a violent quarrel, Raynald’s younger brother Edward led a successful revolt against him. Edward captured Raynald, but decided to not kill him. Instead, he built a room around Raynald in the Nieuwkerk castle and promised him he could regain his title and property as soon as he was able to leave the room.

This would not have been difficult for most people since the room had several windows and a door of near-normal size, and none was locked or barred. The problem was Raynald’s size. To regain his freedom, he needed to lose weight. But Edward knew his older brother, and each day he sent a variety of delicious foods. Instead of dieting his way out of prison, Raynald grew fatter.

Raynald stayed in that room for ten years and wasn’t released until after Edward died in battle. By then his health was so ruined he died within a year--a prisoner of his own appetite.

To often we fail to realize that our habits or hobbies can ruin us. Anything that takes our focus off Jesus Christ will ultimately harm us and is sin. What is it about sin that so easily draws us in? While we read the story of Raynald and shake our heads in disbelief, we’re no different when we choose sin and self-indulgence over the wisdom of obedience and the abundant life Christ offers. So instead of sin, choose Christ, who died for you so you could experience freedom from the chains of disobedience!