Junk Food and Jesus?

Hey Everyone,
        I remember my time working in New Orleans for an urban ministry, there would always be a lot of pastries and junk food laying around. Fats seem to be the most popular of the food groups among mininstries and churches. Anyway, I would rarely, I mean rarely indulge in any of these sugary, regretful treats. To my surprise my withdrawal from these delights caused quite the reaction from my co-workers. They could not understand how I could always turn down these treats and I think they were also somewhat envious as well, as they wish they would say NO more often to Mrs. Debbie and all the local bakeries. You see it wasn’t that hard for me, I would look at that piece of cake, pie, or cookies, and not see the short term gratification of tasting those delectable sugary treats on my palate but those regretful long term effects, no need to go into detail we all know them well. Growing up it wasn’t always so, I ate whatever was in front of me, especially dessert. I began to try to avoid the junk food all together which didn’t work out all to well either. Sure, I could go a day maybe two without some junk food, but my will-power was not stronger than my eyes. You see I would just avoid it, but avoidance isn’t enough, because junk food will always be around especially if you work in ministry. I instead learned to replace the junk food with healthier foods, especially fresh fruit, which I love. My body started to want the healthy foods instead, which it needs anyway.
        Students should hear that avoiding sin is not the focal point of their life. Instead, pursuing Jesus is their only hope. Too often we think that our faith is just about avoiding sin, especially the one’s we think are the big one’s. That is not what Jesus call us to. That is one heavy burden everyday we carry just trying and trying to do the right thing by avoiding the wrong thing. One of the problems with that is that we are seeking to rid sin from our lives under our own power which scripture states is impossible. It also can lead to a self-righteousness that God clearly opposes in scripture. You see we can start to look at our avoidance and become proud of our ability to not give in and indulge. Soon our faith has more to do with our “goodness” than God’s. In times of temptation, we need to run to the one who calls us by name to to come to him and he will give us rest. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11: 28. The heavy laden of avoiding sin is a big burden and that is what leads to religious legalism. This is what Jesus is calling us out of, Jesus provides rest for our souls (v.29) that is eternal rest for all who seek forgiveness of their sins and freedom from crushing legalistic burden and guilt of trying to earn salvation by good works or just avoiding the bad one’s. Our actions reflect the condition of our heart, we need to be more concerned with our kids and our own heart more than just the outwardly action. Don’t just avoid the junk, but replace it with the thing your body and soul needs to survive. You will soon crave that which is good!
Chris Countryman
Christian Education & Youth Director,
Wesley UMC

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