Beer, biscuits and butter – is that settling for less?

Beer, biscuits and butter – is that settling for less?  Some people will ask, “less than what?”  Others will just say, “I’m fine with that.”  How about you?  Is that enough to make you happy?  Keep you happy?  Or do you want more?  A whole lot more?

beer, biscuits and butter - is that settling for lessOf course, some know the three B’s as butter, bacon and bourbon.  Especially if you’re from Kentucky, apparently.  Or maybe for you, bacon and butter are good enough.  Anything with a B can be used.  But the question remains – is that enough for you?  Or is it settling for less?

Beer, biscuits and butter - is that settling for less? is article #1 in the series: Settling for less. Click button to view titles for entire series

It seems weird – a site about religion talking about beer, biscuits, butter and bourbon.  Relax, I’m not going to get into the evils of drinking and eating unhealthy food.  Anything, taken to excess, can be bad for us.  Even presumably healthy things like Orange Juice – too much acid that’s bad for our teeth and too much sugar that’s bad for pretty much everything.  

No, we need to consider something Jesus said.  Something we probably just assume means we can eat whatever we want.  Pork, shellfish, and other tasty foods aren’t prohibited anymore.  Which is true – up to a point.  There’s still the issue of too much not being good for us.  But Jesus points out a whole new category of things that we should have been watching out for all along.  But probably didn’t.  Check it out.

 

Clean and Unclean

15:1-20 pp — Mk 7:1-23

Mt 15:1 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”

Washing hands – or not – isn’t really the issue here.  It’s going to get a whole lot bigger when Jesus gets to the real problem.  It’s going to be a question of settling for less.  Settling for physical cleanliness, rather than spiritual cleanliness.  More directly to the point, clean versus holy.

Mt 15:3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ 5 But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,’ 6 he is not to ‘honor his father’’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

Mt 15:8 “ ‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.

Mt 15:9 They worship me in vain;
their teachings are but rules taught by men.’”

Jesus introduces the concept here that what I’m calling settling for less came about because of rules taught by men.  Yes, there were actual physical reasons for some of the prohibitions in The Law.  But there was also the intent for the people to be not only physically clean, but holy as well.  But because the Israelite / Hebrew / Jewish leaders taught more about cleanliness than holiness, those points were lost.

Mt 15:10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.’ ”

Here’s the point at which we really rejoice over the ability to eat pork fat and loads of shrimp, crab, lobster, Etc.  But that misses the main point.  The big thing Jesus is saying is, what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean

Here’s the eye-opener. What comes out of our mouths might not have anything to do with what went in our mouths!  This isn’t a case of getting sick and vomiting because we ate something bad.  No – it’s something entirely different.  Like settling for less – beer, bacon, bourbon and butter instead of being holy.

Mt 15:12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”

Mt 15:13 He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”

Maybe not entirely obvious at first glance, Jesus just told the disciples to ignore the Pharisees and teachers of the law.  They aren’t teaching God’s word.  They are blind, so don’t follow them and fall into the pit with them.

Mt 15:15 Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.”

As I’m writing this, it occurs to me, we might think it’d be nice to have Jesus to explain these parables to us today.  It must have been nice for Peter to just turn to Jesus and ask for an explanation.  Too bad we can’t do that today.

But is that really true?  Can we ask Jesus today?  Why not?  Probably because we don’t even realize that we can.  As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit.  However, in order to actually have any benefit from the presence of the Holy Spirit in us, we need to ask Him something.  Like insight into what the Bible means.  If we don’t ask – we’ll never get an answer.  If we don’t truly believe this is even possible, then the act of “asking” will be in vain.  And we still won’t have an answer.

That’s what happens when we settle for less.  

Mt 15:16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. 17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.’ ”

Jesus very clearly makes the point here.  What goes in the mouth comes out someplace else.  The things that come out of the mouth – come from the heart.  And that’s what makes us “unclean”.  Unholy.

As sometimes happens, something got lost in the translation there.  I used the 1984 NIV above.  However, the 2011 NIV says:

Mt 15:16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. 17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”  1)The New International Version. (2011). (Mt 15:16–20). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Does that help?  Instead of clean and unclean – now we have clean and defiled.  Much more obvious.

Let’s look at that word that got translated as unclean in 1984, but as defiled in 2011.

2840 κοινόω [koinoo /koy·no·o/] v. From 2839; TDNT 3:809; TDNTA 447; GK 3124; 15 occurrences; AV translates as “defile” 11 times, “call common” twice, “pollute” once, and “unclean” once. 1 to make common. 1A to make (Levitically) unclean, render unhallowed, defile, profane. 1B to declare or count unclean.  2)Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

Now we can really see what happened.  A word got left out.  See that word in parentheses up there – “Levitically”?  That one word makes all the difference.  It’s not about being clean, as in not having dirt under your fingernails before you eat.  It’s not about settling for less.  It’s about being holy.

So let’s go back to Leviticus.  On this exact topic of clean and unclean, there’s a section the NIV calls Clean and Unclean Food.  It’s the entirety of Leviticus 11.  I’m not going to go into the whole chapter here.  It describes in great detail how to tell which animals are “clean” and which are “unclean”.  Except that, as we’ll see, it’s not talking at all about clean versus dirty.  Then we’ll look at the why.  Why were the people supposed to remain “clean”?

Clean and Unclean Food – Leviticus

Lev 11:43 Do not defile yourselves by any of these creatures. Do not make yourselves unclean by means of them or be made unclean by them. 44 I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves about on the ground. 45 I am the LORD who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.

Lev 11:46 “ ‘These are the regulations concerning animals, birds, every living thing that moves in the water and every creature that moves about on the ground. 47 You must distinguish between the unclean and the clean, between living creatures that may be eaten and those that may not be eaten.’ ”

It’s the same thing.  Clean and unclean.  Even the 2011 NIV uses clean and unclean in Leviticus.  Maybe we’re expected to assume that because it’s Leviticus, we know it’s Levitcally clean?  I don’t know.  But for most people who read it – it honestly sounds like clean versus dirty.  Especially since shellfish are often so-called bottom-feeders, that eat the junk at the bottom of the water.  And already dead animals have who knows what kind of issues.  Not to mention that animals like vultures and ravens will eat pretty much anything, and can’t be counted on to be healthy to eat.

It comes down to this.  The Bible really can’t explain everything.  It’d be so long, no one would ever read it.  So it’s another question of whether we’re willing to settle for less.  Will we read it at face value, not take the interest or the time to learn anything deeper?  Or will we consider it important enough to want more?  Are beer, biscuits and butter enough?  Or are they settling for less?

For those who want more – here’s the Hebrew words behind clean and unclean in Leviticus. 

2889 טָהֹור [tahowr, tahor /taw·hore/] adj. From 2891; TWOT 792d; GK 3196; 94 occurrences; AV translates as “clean” 50 times, “pure” 40 times, “fair” twice, “purer” once, and “variant” once. 1 pure, clean. 1A clean (ceremonially—of animals). 1B pure (physically). 1C pure, clean (morally, ethically).  3)Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

We see the word “pure” – physically, ethically, morally. 

That’s as opposed to what we read about “unclean” below. 

2931 טָמֵא [tameʾ /taw·may/] adj. From 2930; TWOT 809a; GK 3238; 87 occurrences; AV translates as “unclean” 79 times, “defiled” five times, “infamous” once, “polluted” once, and “pollution” once. 1 unclean, impure. 1A ethically and religiously. 1B ritually. 1C of places.  4)Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

This one’s more to the point, when we read things like defiled, polluted, and impure in an ethical and religious sense.

But all of that is not only backed up by what comes in verse 44 – it’s actually expanded on.

44 I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.

Yes – the people are to be holy, because their God is holy.  

And in case it’s needed, which it probably is, here’s what meant by the Hebrew word we read as “holy“.

6918 קָדֹושׁ [qadowsh, qadosh /kaw·doshe/] adj. From 6942; TWOT 1990b; GK 7705; 116 occurrences; AV translates as “holy” 65 times, “Holy One” 39 times, and “saint” 12 times. 1 sacred, holy, Holy One, saint, set apart.  5)Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

So God’s people in the Old Testament were to be set apart – just as Christians are supposed to be set apart from the world.  As usual, we see that what Jesus speaks of isn’t something new.  It’s a continuation, an enhanced explanation of what God’s people were told early on.  In this case, going all the way back to the time of the Exodus – when The Law was formally established.  

But the human leaders of God’s people were willing to settle for less.  Rather than be Holy, they were satisfied to be clean.  

Don’t believe that?  Why do you think Jesus said this:

Seven Woes

Mt 23:27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

Please see Blessed are those who mourn for much more about what whitewashed tombs really meant at that time.  Suffice it to say, for now, it was about our topic of settling for less.  God wanted Holy.  They settled for clean.  On the outside.  They paid attention to what went into their mouths.  But not what went into their hearts.  They were today’s equivalent of beer, biscuits and butter – rather than Holiness.

So what’s this thing about beer, biscuits and butter?

It’s from a song.  The song is about a guy who’s working hard to get, among other things, beer on the table, butter on his biscuits, a scratch-off lottery ticket, eggs & bacon in his belly and the Saturday night poker game.  Obviously, with words like that, it’s a country song.  Naturally, it’s got a catchy title – Beer on the Table.  It’s got a catchy tune.  Pure country in the words.  You can read the lyrics here.

The song’s part of my playlist.  It’s a reminder of what too many people are happy with.  Less.  I’m quite sure the singer isn’t happy with just these things.  He’s surely got enough money to do a whole lot more than those items.  But there’s a lot of people who are just fine with them.

And like I said – it can be the stuff in the song.  Maybe it’s binge-watching shows.  Playing video games.  All sorts of things.  But all of that is “of this world”.  No matter how much we have in this life – money, good food, fame, Etc. – it’s so much less than what Jesus spoke of.

Even things like being satisfied thinking that unclean means dirty, or the wrong kind of food.  That’s also settling for less.  Less than what Jesus spoke of.  And that means it’s also settling for less than the things Jesus promised.  Such as: 

The Shepherd and His Flock

Jn 10:1 “I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. 3 The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.

Jn 10:7 Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Jn 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

Jn 10:14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

One of the things in that passage is: I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  Jesus came to earth and died – so that along with eternal life, we could have life to the full, even in this life.  But when we settle for less, we don’t achieve that life to the full He spoke of.  That Jesus died for.  That’s what I mean by settling for less.  Way less.  So much less that it’s barely living.

So much less that Paul wrote about it.  It may seem a bit odd that it’s in a section the NIV calls On Divisions in the Church.  But that’s where it is.  You’ll see why as we go through it.

On Divisions in the Church

Let’s look at this section.  Yes, it’s about divisions.  Just like when Jesus answered Peter’s question about the Pharisees by responding, Leave them; they are blind guides.  It’s also about what happens when we follow the blind guides.  When we settle for less, because we listen to people, not to God.

1Co 3:1 Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere men?

In Corinth, the divisions were about following different people, who were teaching different things.  Paul tells them they’re acting like “mere men“, as opposed to Christians.  Further, for the amount of time they’d been following the teachings, they should have moved beyond where they were.   However, since they were busy following what people were teaching them, and that was different from what Jesus taught, they were still immature in their faith.

1Co 3:5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

Paul goes on to remind them, and emphasize the need to follow God – not man.  To want more.  Not to settle for less.

1Co 3:10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

And here’s the key for today’s topic.  

If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

If we settle for less, we run the very real risk of being the one who will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.  Further, if we settle for too much less, we could be someone who Jesus spoke of in this passage:

A Tree and Its Fruit

Mt 7:15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Why was there no fruit?  If the person’s not Christian, well, it’s just not possible.  It’s like not being pollenized.  No baptism, no Holy Spirit, no fruit.  But even if the person is claiming to be Christian, settling for less can result in no fruit.  We don’t allow the Holy Spirit to transform us, work through us.  So there’s no fruit.

Mt 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

Ultimately, if we allow that to continue, even the person who claims to be Christian will hear those words from Jesus.  To me, they are the scariest words in the Bible – I never knew you.

For a much deeper look at those words, please see and I Never Knew You, Part 2.

So yes, if we settle for too much less, that can be what we hear at the end of our life.  Not what I want.  I want more.  A lot more. 

As should every Christian as Paul writes:

1Co 3:16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.

I think we tend to forget this.  Being a Christian isn’t just say a prayer and you’re all of a sudden a fully mature Christian.  I invite you to check out Pop Tart Christians for more on that thought.  It’s also about wanting to be set apart.  To want more.  Not settling for less.

After all, we are God’s Temple.  God, in the person of the Holy Spirit, resides in us!  How often do we actually think about that?  If we did, how much of our behavior, even our thoughts, would that change?

We’re often told that God loves us just as we are.  And He does.  But realize this – God wants to transform us.  Because, as we are initially, we don’t really love God.   Let’s look at something John wrote, and then explore that thought before moving on.

God’s Love and Ours

1Jn 4:7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

This sets up an interesting, almost circular, scenario.  John says, if we love, we know God.  Also, if we don’t love, we don’t know God.  We probably turn that into something like – if we love, then we know God.  Likewise, if we don’t love, then we don’t know God.  That turns it into kind of a chicken and egg problem.  Which comes first?  On top of that, we all think we “love” – therefore we must all know God.

However, that’s not the case.  That’s not the conclusion John comes to.  Something must be faulty in our thinking.  Let’s keep going.

1Jn 4:13 We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.

Here’s a clue.  because he has given us of his Spirit.  That means we’ve been baptized.  As we’ve already talked about, it also means we should have done something as a result of being baptized.  If you’d like to read more about that, I invite you to read The problem of Good Deeds and Faith, which looks at when James wrote: 

Faith and Deeds

This section is about faith and deeds.  It answers the question of which comes first, just like having God in us and the ability to “love”.  And more.

Jas 2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Faith, without action, is dead.  I submit that having the Holy Spirit, but showing no evidence of Him, including love – is similar.  What good is it if we “have the Holy Spirit in us”, and yet don’t allow Him to do anything?  If we keep the Spirit from transforming us?  Answer – probably no good at all.

Jas 2:18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

Another topic we’ve looked at – just saying we believe something doesn’t make it true.

Jas 2:20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

Jas 2:25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

In the end, we see that love without knowing God isn’t possible.  Not “love” the way it’s used here.  Not God’s love.  However, even having the Holy Spirit in us doesn’t automatically make us show God’s love either.  We must have God in us, and must allow Him to begin to transform us, before we can show His love to others.

1Jn 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17 In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

1Jn 4:19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

And here’s the key.  We love because God is in us.  And we allow Him to work in us.  Transform us.  Only then can we begin to show God’s love to others.  But just because we can doesn’t mean we will.  John’s example makes that abundantly clear.

1Co 3:18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; 20 and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” 21 So then, no more boasting about men! All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.

Finally, returning to 1 Corinthians, we see more on the idea of being different.  And that the only way to do it is through Jesus.  Through the Holy Spirit, the mind of Christ.  Through God.  And don’t settle for anything less.

We’ve seen many opportunities to settle for less.  So many times when, as a Christian, something is in our grasp, in our very lives, and yet we fail to take advantage of it.  We have God in our lives.  But if we don’t allow Him to work through us, transform us, we settle for nothing.  Yes, to the extent that we hold Him back, to the extent we don’t do the things the Holy Spirit leads us to do, we settle for less.  But when we’re at the point where we refuse to allow God to do anything in our lives – we settle for nothing. 

Conclusions – settling for less

So the beer, biscuits, butter, bourbon, bacon, Etc. are just ways to catch your attention.  They’re all popular things.  I kind of like all of them.  And country music.  And other things as well.  But none of them enough that I’m willing to settle for less.  For those who say we should stay away from one or more of those things, because they are evil, we need to consider what we’ve read here.  

For sure, alcohol is something some must stay away from.  Alcoholism is a disease, and there’s shouldn’t be any messing with it, or thinking we can somehow outsmart if, or cope with it.  But for the most part, it’s not the things, it’s what we do with them, to get them, to keep them, Etc.  It’s what they do to our hearts.  That’s the long-term, eternal point of view.  

But even in the short-term, depending on their effect on our hearts, literally anything can lead us to settle for less.  

As John wrote:

Do Not Love the World

1Jn 2:15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

Yes – anything can be a problem if we love it too much.  For an interesting, and different, look at that, I invite you to check out one of my ” food issues” in Will there be cheese in Heaven?  I love cheese.  I always thought, there’s no such thing as too much cheese.  Except there is.  Too much cholesterol in this life.  And what if there’s no cheese in Heaven?  Would that be a deal-breaker for me? 

And what about you?  Do you have a deal-breaker?  Something you’re so happy with here in this life that you’ll settle for it, rather than go for more?  Is that desire so strong that you’d even give up Heaven for it?


Image by Karin Henseler from Pixabay

 

References   [ + ]

1.The New International Version. (2011). (Mt 15:16–20). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
2, 3, 4, 5.Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

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