Our wonderful youth minister Colie offered the sermon for our Ash Wednesday service this past week because our terrific Pastor Dave was busy moving his whole family here to Oregon from North Dakota. During the sermon Colie shared an illustration that got me thinking. As I pondered the illustration, the idea for this blog post came to mind.
Colie was talking about how much we love our own sin, we find pleasure in it, but that God wants something better for us and wants us to see how harmful our own sin is. The illustration she used was of a young child who loves sweets and only wants to eat candy and sweets. The child’s parents are saddened by his excessive sugar consumption and the damage it is causing to his teeth and overall health. So the parents present to the child some healthy foods and encourage him to eat the healthy foods instead. But the child refuses and just keeps eating the candy and sweets.
We are like that with God when we cling to our sinful behavior that we find pleasure in. We think that the life of obedience that God offers to us is designed to prevent us from the good things in life, when in reality the damage that is caused by our sin saddens God and He only wants what is best for us.
In this illustration it is easy for us to see the point because we all know that eating only candy is bad for us. And there are sins that we easily agree are bad and should be avoided by all of us.
But as I thought about this, it occurred to me that sometimes the world tells us that a certain behavior is okay, or even beneficial, when in God’s economy it is not. Some sinful behavior is not so obviously sinful.
It reminded me of my recent discovery that I am allergic to dairy. All my life I’ve been told that consuming dairy products is not only okay, it is beneficial. According to the USDA Food Pyramid, we are all supposed to eat 2 – 3 servings of dairy products every day. Milk is supposed to promote healthy bones, and the probiotics in yogurt are supposed to promote a healthy digestive system.
But for me, following the Food Pyramid on this recommendation is just as unhealthy as consuming nothing but sugar. And yet for years I have kept consuming dairy having no idea the damage it was causing me. I didn’t realize that the health issues I struggled with in large part stemmed from a dairy allergy.
This revelation has me thinking about what sinful behavior I have allowed to take hold in my life because I don’t realize it is sinful and damaging to my spiritual health. What blessings have I been missing out on that God wants to give me? What blessings does God offer that will only come from turning away from behavior that the world says is beneficial but that God knows is not in my best interest? What healthy alternatives does my Heavenly Father have in store for me if only I will turn to Him and live?
I don’t know the answer to these questions, but during this season of Lent and beyond I want to find out. I want to turn towards God and seek His best for me. I pray you will seek God’s best for you, too.