My wife started a new diet recently. It’s the plan that assigns points to foods and you are allowed a certain number of points per day and per week. It is actually very practical and seems to be working for her. Here’s the real problem though, when she is on this diet- so am I! Whatever she cooks, I eat. Whatever food is in the house is what I have available. It actually wasn’t so bad because the food choices were better and healthier, but it still wasn’t my diet, it was hers. Over time I started to, not embrace, but acquiesce to this eating plan and began to count my own points, just to know what I was eating. (It was a lot). I hadn’t committed to do the diet but I would fiddle with it around the edges – counting some points but not others, not having enough to eat or eating too much. I wasn’t quite 100% committed but I also wasn’t not doing it. It was half-hearted at best. Needless to say it wasn’t very effective for me, caused me to stress and, of course, caused my wife stress until she finally said to me one day, “Either you’re in this thing or you’re not. You can’t have it both ways.” Whoa, talk about being direct! I guess she told me! She was right and I knew it. (I hate when that happens). Either I chose to be fully committed or not at all, but living along the edge was just not an option. So I jumped in.
We all have a similar decision to make about our relationship with God. Either we are 100% in or we are 100% out. There is no in-between. Living along the edge is just not an option.
Jesus said, “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.”
He also said, “You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other.”
And Paul in his letter to the Galatians says, “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.”
Paul also said in his letter to the Romans, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;”
All these verses are really saying the same thing. Either we are with Christ or not, either serving God or not, either living by the spirit or not. This may seem a bit harsh to us. It may sound awful demanding, but think about this. When a woman gets pregnant, she is 100% pregnant. She doesn’t get up one morning and say, “Today, I think I’ll be just a little bit pregnant and really get serious about it tomorrow.” Ridiculous isn’t it? But isn’t that how some people think about their relationship with God. “Today, I just want to do what I want and tomorrow I’ll get serious about following Him.” Or someone might think, “I like this part of what Jesus said but not that other part. I think I’ll just believe the nice parts and ignore the parts I don’t like.” I really don’t think that is an option that we are given.
I’m not trying to be difficult here or make folks feel bad, but the truth is that living along the edge, trying to have it both ways, is not satisfying for anyone. We feel guilty if we aren’t pursuing God and we can’t fully enjoy pursuing sin. We don’t quite have the full “life and peace” associated with living by the Spirit but we know that giving up on Him leads to a dead end. All I am suggesting is for those who may be sitting on the edge of the pool of Christianity with your feet dangling in the water – Jump in and get fully wet or get out. Really, one or the other. You pick. To the church in Laodicea (a city in ancient Asia Minor), Jesus said, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!”
So I got really serious about following this new diet and eating better. Now I’m watching my points, making different food decisions (except for the donuts this morning at work) and shedding pounds. Life is a bowl of cherries! I wonder how many points those are.