It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. – Revelations 10:10b
I bet you didn’t know that the Bible prophesied McDonald’s 1900 years before their creation.
If you are anything like me you’ve done this: you’ve been hungry, and you think, “a big mac will be good.” So you go through the drive-thru, get your big mac, and anticipate the great taste. You enjoy the first couple bites, but quickly realize how garbage the food really is, yet finish it because you paid for it. Very quickly you start feeling gross, and say to yourself, “that’s the last time I’m going to McDonald’s”. But not too long later, you find yourself going to McDonald’s again, and having the same regret.
I’ve realized that this is how is seems to work with sin too.
Sin (like McDonald’s food) leads to death (Romans 6:23). For example, we know that porn destroys relationships, purity, trust, intimacy, marriages, not to mention the women and men in the industry. And yet many still use it, even habitually.
It’s because we go through the McDonald’s effect; we believe the lie that this will somehow satisfy us, we think it’s going to be great, so we use, and only slightly enjoy it, then feel completely disgusting, and more unsatisfied then ever, and say to ourselves, and possibly to God or our mate that we’ll never do that again, only to be tempted a short time later.
That was only one example, but it happens with every sin. I think of co-dependants going from relationship to relationship, and keep getting destroyed. Or gambling addicts having the delusion that gambling can make them rich, then loosing everything again, only to be back the next payday. Or obese people thinking McDonald’s will satisfy them, when it never does.
The core of the problem is a forgetfulness that borders on delusion that can happen to us all.
There’s not a quick fix solution or we’d all be living perfectly, but recognizing this part of the problem is the beginning of the solution.
Satan is the father of lies, and lying is his native language (John 8:44). He is the one who originates the McDonald’s effect. That initial thought that the sin will be good, or satisfying, or will stop the pain comes from Satan, either directly or indirectly. It is never true. Giving in to the sin never satisfies deeply, never brings life or any real deep lasting joy. It always brings destruction in some way.
So to start to break the McDonald’s effect, we need to immediately recognize the lie as a lie. But more than that, we need to do battle.
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. – Ephesians 6:17
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12
The powerful weapon God has given us won’t use itself, we have to wield it. So this is how we practically do this:
When a temptation comes, when the lie starts bouncing around in your head, immediately stop, recognize that it is a lie and renounce it. Say out loud, “it is a lie that _____ ” and then if you remember a verse or at least the concept of scripture that reveals the truth say it. For example “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman (Job 31:1)” if it were lusting bothering you. And usually there’s multiple lies/excuses, so do this will all of them. Common lies are “you need this, you deserve that, it’s not normal to go without _____” Reject them all as lies and find the scripture.
But to make this even more powerful, share this struggle with someone you can trust. Another of the big lies we believe is that we’re the only one dealing with _____, or at least the only one in church. That is a lie we need to disbelieve, and the scripture for that is 1 Cor 10:13. Often we don’t even recognize the lie, so others can help us, but beyond that, there is real comfort you’re not alone in your struggle.
And then of course, embrace the truth, and pursue Christ, Who is Truth (John 14:6) and only then will the truth start setting you free (John 8:32) from the McDonald’s effect.