My wonderful husband took me out to dinner this week (he knows how much I love to eat out!). We went to a restaurant that neither of us had been to before and ordered the special. It was amazing! It was a fairly healthy meal (meat, rice, and veggies) and I ate as much as I could, but still couldn’t finish all that was on my plate. My tummy hurt I was so full. But then, the dessert tray came around. And there, calling my name, was a creme brulee cheesecake. Well, what did I do? I took the cheesecake, of course! There was no decision making to do. Why? Because I always take the cheesecake. It didn’t mater that there wasn’t another ounce of space in my stomach for it. It didn’t matter that I know that I need to be dairy free or I will pay later. It didn’t matter that the calories would go right to my butt. It doesn’t matter that my butt is already the shape and texture of a cheesecake! I always take the cheesecake. It is my practice. My tongue wins out over my health every time. I tell myself that next time I will resist. Or that next time I will really be dairy free. And then I have the gall to pray and ask God not to have it land on my hips!
I like to think that I am healthy. I know how to make healthy meals, I love salad, and I have been known to work out occasionally. But, if you actually watch me, or if I were to take accurate account of my meals and snacks and exercise (or lack thereof), it would not be difficult to come to the conclusion that I am anything but healthy. The occasional incidence of healthiness does not make my lifestyle healthy. And no matter how good I may have been this week or month, if the cheesecake shows up…. I am taking it!
Our pastor this past week was preaching about walking the talk. God call us to live out our faith, not simply to say we believe, but actually to live that way. I admired his boldness as he called the church to repentance. What is God pointing out in my life that I need to deal with in order to live for Him more appropriately?
1John 1:5-9 says:
“This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
We are entering a season where there is no grey. There is only black and white. There is no more room for mediocre Christianity. You are either in Christ or you are not. John continues in 1 John 5:11-12: “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” Christians around the world are being persecuted for their faith. We are also being persecuted here, only a little more covertly. But if it is our practice to be “Christians” only between 10 and noon on Sunday mornings, and the rest of the time live for ourselves, what will we choose when persecution comes our way? When it is our friendships, our jobs, our homes, our freedom or our very lives? If it is our practice to live for ourselves, we will choose ourselves over God. The cheesecake will win every time. Do not be deceived – we will do what we always do.
So where do we go from here? I believe we must start again with the fundamentals. First choose your god – as Joshua lays the choice before us (24:14-15): “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Then we need to make it our practice to stay away from the old gods and seek only after the real God. Joshua continues (24:23) “Now therefore, he said, put away the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to the Lord God of Isreal.” There will be some repenting required here and some resetting of priorities.
The writer of Deuteronomy presented the same decision before the people, the same one that we have before us today, “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them” (30:19-20).
Choosing God is not a simply a declaration, but a lifestyle. I know that God has spoken to me about areas that need refining. And God is faithful. If I seek Him, I will find Him, and the abundant life that He promises. What will you choose?