Thursday, October 15, 2015

Time to confess

This post is painful, because I feel the need to confess. I am a diabetic. 

I hate that term. 

Now you probably are thinking, "We already knew that you are a diabetic. What's the confession?" Well, that's it. I am a lousy, stinking, no-carbs allowed diabetic. And I fail constantly at trying to control my blood.

See, I went to the doctor yesterday to check my A1C....for those who don't know what that is, it's sort of an average of your blood sugar levels over the last few months. While I knew I'd been "cheating" for a while, I really did "feel" like my numbers would be improving. I was wrong. My numbers went up. (Wonder if it had anything to do with the three, make that four, pieces of fudge I'd had after lunch? Actually, it wasn't just the candy I'd had after lunch THAT day, but the candy I'd probably indulged in a lot of days.) I discovered my "feelings" lie.

See, I am a diabetic. Sugar has a really bad effect on me. I really can't eat carbs, well, not like everyone else. Because I am a diabetic. I can pretend I'm not. I can feel like it won't have an effect on me. I can make excuses (like I've been good all day so I DESERVE to splurge on an ice cream cone this afternoon, which of course leads to an ice cream cone the next day and the next and the next...well, you get the picture. I have almost NO willpower when it comes to Ward's ice cream cones.) 

But the fact remains, I am a diabetic and sugar DOES have an effect on me. I can do a lot of things to help myself, like take my medicine and use things that help me keep my cravings under control, but if I then go ahead and eat things I know I shouldn't...well, I guess my A1C answers what happens when I do that.

Being a diabetic is a little like being a sinner. The problem is in my blood. I can try to pretend it's not and that I am fine, but my blood tells the story every time....and eventually my body shows what my blood has already known for a while. Sugar, like sin, may seem innocent, but it will kill me...slowly, secretly, but surely.

I'm not making light of sin by comparing it to diabetes, just trying to make a word picture here. Just like with that extra piece of candy, or that ice cream cone, I try to convince myself that just this once won't hurt. The problem is it is never just one. Once I get the "taste" for that forbidden fruit, I only want more, and more, and more. And all the while, it is killing me.

I am a sinner, saved by the pure blood of the only One who never sinned - Jesus. I can try to convince myself that the little "sins" somehow won't hurt me, but my blood is tainted. It will never be right, no matter how much I try to pretend that it is. Sin, no matter how innocent it might seem to us, kills. It's like those hidden carbs that do a number on me. Mix the "sugar" into the meal any way you want, the effect is pretty much the same. Death.

So there you have it. I am a diabetic. I am a sinner. For the diabetes, I take medicine but I also HAVE to watch what I eat. There is no cure. For the sinner part - well thankfully for that I have a Savior, Jesus. Jesus is more than a medicine, He is the cure. 

Unfortunately, I can still choose to sin which still kills all that Christ has died for in me. It can kill my joy and peace, my testimony, and yes, it can even kill this body. I can't tell myself, "Well, I'm saved, so I'm good." That's like taking my insulin and then eating three, make that four, pieces of fudge and expecting it to have no effect in my body. 

I am reminded of something my Nurse Practitioner told me when she first diagnosed me. She said that learning to eat right would be tough, but once I did I'd be amazed at how good I felt. She was right. When I did "right" I was amazed at just how alive and full of energy I felt - I had felt bad for so long, I'd forgotten what it was like to feel good. Sugar, and sin, does that to you. It's sneaky, but it steals your life from you a little at a time.

The good news is, while my insulin is a temporary fix and sometimes "fails" me, Jesus never fails. He is not a temporary "fix", He is the cure. I confess....I need Jesus. We all do.

When Death Becomes Life

1-3 So what do we do? Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving? I should hope not! If we’ve left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there? Or didn’t you realize we packed up and left there for good? That is what happened in baptism. When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace—a new life in a new land!
3-5 That’s what baptism into the life of Jesus means. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus. Each of us is raised into a light-filled world by our Father so that we can see where we’re going in our new grace-sovereign country.
6-11 Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin’s every beck and call! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ’s sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did.
12-14 That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you’ve been raised from the dead!—into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God.

What Is True Freedom?

15-18 So, since we’re out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we’re free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it’s your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you’ve let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you’ve started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in hisfreedom!
19 I’m using this freedom language because it’s easy to picture. You can readily recall, can’t you, how at one time the more you did just what you felt like doing—not caring about others, not caring about God—the worse your life became and the less freedom you had? And how much different is it now as you live in God’s freedom, your lives healed and expansive in holiness?
20-21 As long as you did what you felt like doing, ignoring God, you didn’t have to bother with right thinking or right living, or right anything for that matter. But do you call that a free life? What did you get out of it? Nothing you’re proud of now. Where did it get you? A dead end.
22-23 But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way! Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.

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