Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sin and Satisfaction

Sin and Satisfaction

The trouble with Christians today is not that they aren’t saved, but that they aren’t satisfied.  This perpetual lack of satisfaction is the fertile soil in which sin springs up.  Why aren’t we satisfied?  Because we have taken our fill on the junk of the world and have left no room for what we really need.

Have you ever tried to eat healthier?  It is the worst.  When all you want is a bacon double cheeseburger and a large fry from Wendy’s, broccoli and salad sound downright horrific.  Personally I have struggled with weight for all of my adult life.  About 5 years ago I decided to change my habits when I found out I was going to be a father.  I didn’t want to be a fat dad who couldn’t play with his kids.  Cutting out all the food that I was used to was painful.  Literally.  For the first month on a strict dietary lifestyle change I went through what can only be described as withdrawal.  Headaches, body aches, all-consuming cravings.  And to make matters worse all these leafy green vegetables that I was now eating tasted like vomit.

After one year I had lost close to 80 pounds and felt better in nearly every way possible.  Here is the most shocking part, I really really liked vegetables.  My whole life I rarely ate vegetables and avoided them whenever possible(unless they were on a pizza or cheeseburger) and now I was finding myself filling half my plate with some sort of fresh vegetable or salad.  I said to my wife that my biggest regret looking back is that it took me so many years to make this change.

An amazingly simple thing happened during that first year.  When I stopped allowing myself to eat food that wasn’t good for me and only ate things that were good for me my taste buds actually changed.  Instead of craving ice cream, I craved a good grilled chicken salad.  Instead of needing a pop I looked forward to a big glass of fresh water with a splash of lemon juice. 

Physiologically the truth of how we are wired is that we teach ourselves to crave that which we feed ourselves.  The problem with most people who try to go from eating terribly to eating good, is that they just try to add some vegetables to their bad diet.  And the vegetables always lose out in the end because our addictions to that which harms us is so immediately and powerfully satisfying.  We know intellectually that we eat things that are just plain bad for us, but when that choice is staring us right in the face, the addictions nearly always win.  That’s why we have to break its back.

In an immediate momentary sense I will admit that a milk shake sounds better than a plate of broccoli.  That will probably never change.  But here is what I have learned.  My overall happiness and joy is significantly better because of the broccoli.  I no longer want to be a child who only thinks about “Right Now”, I want to live a fully integrated life that is balanced by “Tomorrow”.  And living beyond the moment leads to a more consistently happy life.  The milk shake makes me feel good at the moment it is consumed, the broccoli makes me feel good continually.

We have spiritually become addicted to crap.  Our hearts and minds are filled with so much junk that we feel as if the taste of real satisfaction, one for always, not just now, is objectionable to our souls palate.   Living for our self-centered satisfaction is always immediately and powerfully enjoyable.  Learning to be healthier is hard.  We may experience withdrawal.  But we can get through to the other side.

So here are my tips for breaking your souls addictions and beginning on the path to finding a lasting and powerful satisfaction in Christ.

1)      Break the addiction cycle.  What are the behaviors and choices that you make to find satisfaction that lead you away from God.  If you go out sinning on Saturday and show up to Church on Sunday, don’t expect it to suddenly make a difference.  You already got your fill.  A stomach full of milkshake isn’t going to like adding a vegetable.  As long as you maintain the same patterns, don’t expect to feel differently. 

2)      Don’t just starve yourself, that will only make it worse.  Start filling up on God and His word.  Guess what?  It won’t be as enjoyable as what you are used to….at first.  But if you stick to it, you will one day wonder why it took you so long to do it.

3)      Surround yourself with like-minded people.   Have you ever noticed that fat people have fat friends, and skinny people have skinny friends(generally speaking).  You are influenced by those you interact with.  If you spend the majority of your time at the early stages of change with people who do what you know you no longer should do, you will keep doing it. 

4)      Choose to stick to it.  My first month of changing my eating habits was physically painful.  Breaking patterns of spiritual bondage can feel worse…and take longer to break.  Make the decision to bare through no matter what it takes.  It’s worth it.  On the other side you will feel silly for waiting so long.

Stop living for a moment that leaves you desperate for more and unhealthier than ever.  Start embracing true satisfaction.

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff! I like the comparison. Very applicable...