Fast food pies

The other day, I ate two fast food pies.

It upset my stomach, which I pretty much knew would happen.  Fast food is usually fakish food.  A lot of gobbledygook is added to real ingredients.  Fast food tastes so great, and it’s so convenient, the dismal lack of nutrition is easily drowned out by the temptation.

Even still, I don’t usually eat fast food.  But I was in a tight spot and I was hungry.  And I was just planning on getting chicken and fries, but when I saw the pies on the menu, and for so cheap . . well.  I ordered the pies.  And I ate the pies.

I pretty much knew those pies would upset my stomach, but of course in my Wistful Thinking World I had decided they wouldn’t upset my stomach.  I know I have food allergies and can’t eat fast food, and especially not fast food dessert.  So why did I do something dumb like that?

My teenager years and college life revolved around fast food.  Those pies brought back feelings of comfort, familiarity, splurging, and being young again.

But the very same pies were like garbage in my stomach.  And eating them wasn’t worth it, no matter how sweet they tasted in the moment.

Those pies remind me a lot of what it’s like for a Christian to go back to sin.

When I gave my life to God, God nailed my sin nature to the cross.  It was on display, for all to see, that Christ had died to this sin nature, my sin nature.  If anyone comes to Jesus for forgiveness, God posts their old nature for the world, the angels, Satan, the demons–everyone–to see is dead as dead can be: The sin nature of _________ is no more.

That does not mean Satan gives up.  Instead, he starts trying harder.  He is more motivated than ever to tempt us to sin, because we have aligned ourselves with his arch enemy, Jesus Christ.  (I say “arch enemy” which is true, but they certainly aren’t peers.  Jesus created all the angels, including Lucifer (who would become known as Satan), who destroyed himself with sin.)

Satan wants Christians to sin really bad.  But Satan can’t force-feed anybody sin.  It has to be our choice.  So what does he do?  He comforts us with sin.  It’s just like old times.  In other words, it’s just like Hell times.

It’s comforting to keep that grudge, he teaches us.  It’s familiar to have that jealousy.  You can splurge every once in a while and lose your temper–you deserve it.  It was more fun to be depressed all the time.  And so on.

Even with all I know about how bad food affects my health, I still like it on the same skin-deep level that I like to watch commercials or be first in line at the grocery store.  It’s an impulse towards what’s easiest–don’t think, don’t discern, don’t care about what happens.  It’s the 4-year-old in me that wants what I want with blind thinking and it doesn’t matter what happens afterwards.

Because of Jesus Christ, the sin nature in me is dead.  It can’t control me anymore.  But I can choose to sin as if I still had the same nature.  It’s the old impulse: easy, unthinking, unwise, me-centered, me-idolized.

But I can’t get away with it for long.  Like a butterfly trying to go back and eat leaves like the caterpillar did, I can’t survive on meals of sin.  It will, slowly or quickly, destroy my life and deteriorate my soul.

The very next day after eating those bad pies, would you believe that I bought more?  I had forgotten how sweet they tasted in the four or so years since I’d had one.  And I wanted more.

I wanted to eat them, all right, but I left them in the bag.  I remembered why I didn’t want to eat them.  I left them in the bag until they were cold, and I saw what they really were.

I threw them away.

I can still go back and buy more, anytime I want.  There’s fast food stops open 24/7.

I could also go through my garbage can and eat left-overs out of it anytime I want.  But I don’t want to.

I want to good food.

I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. (Romans 7:18, NIV)

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV)

The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) (Romans 8:3-9, NLT)

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Pig Pong (Part 1)

When I was a kid, I played a game called Pig Pong.  You can’t even get the game anymore, unless you find it secondhand.  I don’t know why they stopped making it.  It was a blast.

The game was simple.  There was a plastic net, like a tennis net, only for the tabletop.  There were little red pigs that skimmed the top of the net which kept score.  There was a fluffy “ball” made out of something like Styrofoam.  And then there were the handheld plastic pigs.  When you squeezed them, they blew air.

All you had to do was puff your pig enough to get the ball to land on the other side of the net, using only the air from your pig.  Of course, the other person was fighting hard to puff the ball on your side of the net.

There was always this certain feeling when the ball was a few centimeters from falling on your side of the net.  The pigs were way too big to get under the ball, then.  It was too late.  The point was going to be lost.

Trying to get God’s favor through good works is kinda like playing a losing game of Pig Pong.  Like, I’ve got one pig puffing on my side of the net, and there are, oh, 6,000 or so pigs puffing on the other side of the net.  Pigs like temptation, accusation, and regret blow jet streams of air and the ball ends of flat on my side of the net every single time.

Point after point after point . . . I lose.  Over and over and over.  Because the enemy pigs are way, way, way stronger than my pig of sin nature, and they will win every single time.

They may tease me by waiting a few seconds while I puff madly at the ball, but they’re just teasing.  One gust and the ball is flat on my side of the net again.

Good works just don’t get you into Heaven if you can’t do them.

For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8, ESV)

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

Romans 8:7

For the sinful nature is always hostile to God.  It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. (Romans 8:7, NLT)

Every human on the face of the earth recognizes their sinful nature.  It may be their closest confidant or their worst enemy, but it never goes away.  It never sleeps.  It never takes it easy on you.  And it never stops talking.

There have only been three humans to have ever begun their existence without a sin nature: Adam, Eve, and Jesus.  Adam and Eve brought the sin nature on humanity by choosing it over God’s nature already within them.  The rest of us, born to them, don’t know what it’s like to live without a sin nature.  We inherited it from the two very selfish people who wrecked the lives of every descendant they would ever have.

Jesus, however, is not a descendant of Adam and Eve.  Jesus, fully God, came down as a second Adam, to reverse the curse the first Adam placed upon humanity.  He did not lose God’s nature.  With His death, all people who accept His payment for their sins by believing in Him are eternally freed.

Eternally freed doesn’t mean this body isn’t still a mess.  Until our bodies are transformed (by our death or the return of Jesus), we are stuck with the sin nature.  I picture this sort-of like how a bulldog is stuck with its rather unattractive head.  The bulldog can’t leave its head behind to find a new one.

Even though Jesus’ followers are stuck with their sin nature as long as they live in these messed-up bodies, the good news is we don’t have to follow it.  God’s Spirit makes it possible for us to turn and follow Jesus Christ instead.

For the sinful nature is always hostile to God.  It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. (Romans 8:7, NLT)

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See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

Published in: on April 24, 2011 at 10:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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