Ever since we became parents, my wife and I have been trying to eat and live in a more healthy manner. We’ve cut most snacks and junk food from our diet. We’re more active with our daughter, and we’re eating much more home-cooked, unprocessed, and organic fare. It’s been a good change overall, but I’ve noticed something unexpected lately when I’ve let myself slip back into bad eating habits – I simply don’t like the stuff I used to eat.
It’s hard to eat healthy, at least it is when you first start. The junk is so much cheaper, so much more available, and, quite frankly, the junk is addictive. Unprocessed food lacks the sheer amount of sugar, salt, and other additive that make your body crave those french fries, that bag of chips, that Big Mac, or that breakfast cereal. It’s not addictive. Once you adapt, though, it’s rough going back.
Case in point: Our daughter was having a very rough Sunday morning recently and fell asleep on the way home from worship. We decided to take “the long way home,” but we were also hungry, so we stopped by a Wendy’s to grab a couple of sandwiches and drinks. Now, relatively speaking, there are far worse places to eat than Wendy’s, but that didn’t matter. We both felt pretty miserable the rest of the day. More than losing our taste for this type of food, our bodies simply rejected the junk.
The same needs to be true of our taste for sin. In I Corinthians 6:9, Paul begins to list some fo the sins filling the past of those Christians in Corinth, but he concludes verse 11 by writing:
But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
At one point, our souls subsisted upon spiritual junk food. We lived in sin, but, upon joining Christ in baptism, we made a promise to reject that past life. Paul goes on in this chapter in I Corinthians to draw a contrast between how we should conduct ourselves and how we may want to conduct ourselves. Starting in verse 12:
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food” — and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
Paul is arguing against the idea that these past sins may have been seen as permissible, even beneficial, by their society, but they are not how the spiritual man lives. See also how Paul speaks to the addictive nature of sin: “I will not be enslaved.” Just as additives and sweeteners in unhealthy food can enslave our cravings, so too can the fleeting pleasures of sin ensnare us.
In the end, it comes down to the habits we make for ourselves. My wife and I have reached a point where those unhealthy eating choices make us feel miserable. Sin should do the same for anyone walking in the word of Christ. If we can acclimate our bodies and our minds to spiritual living, those times we slip and fall will be distasteful to us. They will make us feel miserable. Such experiences should only drive us to stay away from sin all the more diligently. I can assure you that Wendy’s will no longer look as appetizing to my family. Likewise, sin should lose its appeal to a Christian.
Put simply, we have to lose our taste for sin. Only then can we avoid returning to it.