****Disclaimer: Heavy metaphors, particularly of the apple and steak variety, will be used in the following post. They will be switched between randomly and without warning, so pay attention and just let it happen. Thank you and enjoy***
I’ve reached a crossroads at several points in my life where I’ve had to stare at a nice juicy apple hanging from the forbidden tree in the garden and have had to walk away. Well, in some cases, I start eating the apple and then get dragged away by the grace of God, gagging on apple bits that, yes, give me lovely little wisdoms and cause some nice growth, but come with pain, anguish and whatever other word that’s synonymous with those. And lately, quite encouragingly, it seems as though I’ve caught myself mid-reach as opposed to mid-bite or last bite. Progress? Let’s call it that. But needless to say my eyes keep getting stuck on the apple.
Anna has a good metaphor for this too. She describes it as:
“It’s as though I’m sitting at a table and I’m handed a knife, a fork, and a napkin, and then a big, juicy, perfectly cooked steak is placed right in front of me with the instructions ‘don’t eat it’.” Really?
It’s happened in my life where I start eating the steak because…well, it’s there and if it’s there it means I should probably not waste what God clearly wants me to eat. Just LOOK how things came together. One person handed me a knife, I mean, why would they do that? That was out of nowhere. It was such a God thing for them to hand me that. And then when someone came up with the fork I was like NO WAY, a fork! This is PERFECT! A NAPKIN?! Man oh man, if this isn’t God spelling it out for me than my name’s not Erin Kathleen.
The steak looks way too damn good, but then mere minutes later it gives me a terrible stomach ache.
Why? Why can’t I do the things I want to do? What purpose is it serving to put these things in front of me, that look and feel right, only to be told I need to walk away? As Christians, a lot of outsiders look at us with pity. They see the list of Christian ‘can’t do’s’ as something keeping them from signing up. We’re so limited because of what we have to conform to. I remember talking to my friend Christina who joined a religious order to become a sister. I asked her if she was allowed the internet, or cell phones, those sorts of things, and when she answered in the negative (at least for the first couple years), I was like dude there is no way I could do that. That’s giving up too much. But then Christina was like, Erin, you’re looking at it the wrong way. I’m gaining so much more than I’m losing.
Heh. That can’t be a thing.
Give up my steak? To what? Get the lobster? Well fine. That doesn’t sound too bad. Only problem is, I have yet to see any lobsters or tiny forks or tiny melted butter dishes being passed around here, so WHY OH WHY MUST I PASS UP THE STEAK? Welp, here’s the scripture I’m going to cite as my current answer to this:
“You are not your own, for you have been purchased at a price.”
1 Corinthians 6:20
“You were bought with a price, do not become slaves of men.”
I Corinthians 7:22
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Don’t take the apple, don’t give into the apple. BUT EVERYONE ELSE IS EATING APPLES!!! Great. Let them. But you’re on an apple-free diet, my friend. I have been called to take up my cross, lose my life, to gain the world. And because of that, I can’t do what a non-Christian version of Erin would do. And that’s a tough pill to swallow, cause my flesh is weak and doesn’t want to.
And for each of us it’s something different. What I struggle with, many of you wouldn’t bat an eye–no temptation there! But then you’ve probably got something that’s kryponite for you, and like Flinstone’s vitamins for me. It’s all valid. But if God’s calling us to lay it down, to refuse to would be choosing to ignore the price you were bought at (if you don’t know what price you were bought at, google: gospel message).
We often get hung up on why a particular apple is bad for us. It’s like the argument that led to Adam and Eve nicking the apple in the end. Who really says it’s bad? Are there situations where it can be good? God was a little vague here, since it’s gray, do you think I can just make it black or white? That’s truly what I’ve found myself using to dive into my steak dinner, and it’s not until I throw up afterwards where I see went wrong.
Again I say, I am on an apple-free diet, my friends, so I’ll identify my apple and concentrate on laying it down. After all, my life is not my own anymore.