I’m allergic to wheat. It’s funny because when you tell people you’re allergic to wheat, they offer you “white” bread instead. They think because bread is white, it doesn’t have any wheat. I guess after all the chemicals, there might be some truth to that.
Interestingly, they say you often crave the foods you’re allergic to (that’s right all you chocoholics!). That’s bad because you really want what doesn’t want you. And when you end up eating whatever you’re allergic to, it’s like putting a little dose of poison in your body and, over time, it wears down your system.
I always forget how bad I’m going to feel before I gorge myself on my fav—pizza. All I can think about is how that yummy cheese, soft, doughy crust, and other delectable toppings are going to taste (love the new improved Dominos pizza). I focus on how happy I’m going to feel while eating. I forget about the stuff I’ve got to put up with later—lethargy, eczema on my hands (an itchy, blistery rash), zits, stuffy nose, bloating, brainfog, and really bad aches in my muscles and joints. Sometimes I even get severe stomach pain.
Sounds terrible if I stop and think about it, but in that moment, when I’m staring down a pizza—all the bad associations are completely gone out of my brain, and all I can think about is feeding my voracious pizza appetite. If I do give a fleeting thought of the price I’m going to pay later, every pizza-loving cell in my body screams back impatiently, “It’s worth it—eat the pizza already!”
I have another allergy but this one is a little different. Ever since I became a devoted follower of Jesus, my new born-again self is allergic to sin. The funny thing is, sometimes I crave it even though it’s not good for me. In fact, like any allergen, it is toxic to my spiritual life and if I give in to it willingly and repeatedly, over time it wears down my faith.
But sometimes, all I can think about is what I want right now—what looks and sounds good to my nagging appetite. Like buying (or eating) that thing I really want but really don’t need, or like when I’m all too eager to jump in on some juicy gossip about people I don’t like. Or dwelling on something (or someone) I really shouldn’t be. All of that might make me feel good momentarily, but it’s pretty short-lived until the remorse sets in.
There are always the harsh symptoms later from giving in to sin. I feel empty, far away from God, restless, and dirty. A vicious cycle of shame and hiding from God often begins. It gets me off track and I don’t have joy or peace. Unfortunately sometimes it takes getting to this point to realize that sin just isn’t worth it. So then why do I keep going back to those same sins—ones that feel good for a moment but then make me feel so lousy for a long time later?
We never have to hide from God or let our sins keep us sick. There is always forgiveness with God, and complete restoration. But just like my pizza allergy, it would have been far better for me to say “no” before I ate than to deal with the horrible consequences later. The key to victory over sin is planning ahead, reminding ourselves before we indulge how bad we’re going to feel later if we give in. If necessary, make a list of reasons not to give in to the same old temptation and carry it with you. Then in a time of weakness (when your brain leaves), you’ll have a little arsenal of strength to help you through.
In the mean time, I wonder if there will be pizza in the Kingdom? I’m sure counting on it!