Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Destructive Mind-Set, Revisited

Phillip Yancy says in Rumors of Another World that sin is both a point of view and a series of choices. And both have the effect of avoiding “the truth about God’s world.” He says sin “retards growth, ravages health, and chokes off the supply of new life.”

Our behavior is often subtly sinful as we engage in activities that harm our bodies. To make his point, Yancy explains that in America, the “primary health issues are life-style-related”—in many cases of heart disease and diabetes, some cancers, violence, and AIDS, for example. These are all physical things, of course, yet the bottom line is that many of them are caused by spiritual problems. In India, on the other hand, the main health issues are malaria, leprosy, dysentery. We Americans have conquered the world’s worst diseases, but we are so separated from God that we destroy ourselves by the choices we make.

I see how Yancy’s diagnosis of our national spiritual/physical malady rings true in my own life. If I keep on eating endless piles of chocolate chip cookies, potato chips, and cheese enchiladas because they taste good, I am making a choice that avoids God’s truth and harms my body, which is his temple. And I am making it hard for myself to experience wholeness in this body, which was in perfect health when he put me in it.

Echoing Paul, I say, why do I keep on doing this, even though I don't feel right about it? Even though I know what overeating will do to me? Who will rescue me from this body of death?! Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. (That’s in Romans 7:24-25.)

Yancy, Philip. Rumors of Another World. Zondervan, 2003.

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