Today the doctor called me with the results of routine blood work. Not suspecting anything to be wrong, I wasn’t surprised when the report was favorable. As many others in my family, my cholesterol wanders higher than it should be and she noted that, as well as a slight rise in my A1C level. I don’t even pretend to know what it all means, I just try to ask good questions and listen carefully.
She advised eliminating sugar, simple carbohydrates and animal fats. In layman terms, she said get rid of the cake, the white bread and the beef steak. It’s the oddest phenomenon, but when I am told not to do something, I am overwhelmed with the desire to do that very thing. I don’t even eat baked goods that often but today I thought about cakes and cookies all day. How is it that learning those foods are not helping me stay healthy stirred up the desire for all those things?
Paul, in his letter to Rome, noticed the same principle about the law, specifically the Ten Commandments.
7Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, “You must not covet.” 8But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power. 9At one time I lived without understanding the law. But when I learned the command not to covet, for instance, the power of sin came to life. . .Romans 7:7-9
God in his wisdom, revealed that sin that separates us from him. Then he went to extreme measures to make a way for us to be reconciled to him. He sent Jesus.
I am always brought up short when I notice how little Jesus talked about sin. Consider the woman at the well – married five times and living with someone who wasn’t her husband. Jesus didn’t condemn her, he invited her into a relationship. Then there is the woman caught in the act of adultery. The religious leaders all wanted to stone her. Jesus told her he didn’t condemn her and invited her into a new way of living. What about the criminal who was crucified with Jesus? He knew he was a sinner and asked Jesus to remember him in Paradise. Jesus did more than that. He invited him to the kingdom dinner.
Awareness of our sin is not for the purpose of condemnation and judgment. It is the gateway that opens our hearts to repentance and a relationship with him. Just as my doctor wasn’t judging me for my cholesterol levels or my A1C, she provided information that invites me into a new way of living. A healthy, wholesome path that is best for me.
I don’t have to follow her advice but if I don’t, I will continue to move away from health and compromise my well-being.
We also don’t need to respond to Jesus’ invitation to repent and be made new either. But if we don’t, the path we follow will take us away from Jesus and into desolation.
You choose. I choose.
I choose life. How about you?