Old self: Come, my love. I need you. I desire you. I cannot go through the evening without you. Your creaminess soothes my soul. Your sweetness lifts me up and enables me to soar. Come, cherished chocolate, and become me.
New self: Cut the ‘I’ business. Life isn’t about ‘I’ anymore. Life is about Him and your body is His Temple.
Old self: My need for those treats isn’t related to God stuff. We’re talking food for the BODY, sis. Energy. Lift. Life. Love. How can we serve Him without the extra ‘oomph’ of those occasional daily treats?
New self: We read it this morning, remember? Paul wrote, “… put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds….” (Ephesians 4:22b-23 NIV) Hate to say it, because you and me, sister, we’re one, but I reckon this addiction has to go.
Old self: That is unfair and bad theology. Paul NEVER wrote about junk food. He would have enjoyed his chocolate … or maybe chips? … as well as the next person. How else would he have got through all those harrowing events in his life? Can YOU imagine recovering from shipwrecks or imprisonments or being let down city walls in baskets without the help of this bronze beauty?
New self: Unless Paul had unrecorded travel in South America, he’s not likely to have indulged in chocolate in moments of stress, let alone a block at a time. And those South Americans didn’t add sugar or milk to their cocoa back then anyhow, so their ‘chocolate’ wasn’t the artery clogging gunk you insist on insulting our body with day after day. Chips were not on the menu either. Too modern. So it’s you who is ‘SO wrong’.
Old self: Paul would have had junk food. Even Jesus Himself would have surely enjoyed a treat here and there.
New self: Here and there is the key, my pathetic sister. I’m on the up-and-up and you’re on the down-and-down. Indulge if you must but you know the outcome. More flab; harder to get around; uncomfortable, especially in the heat; less energy ; blotchy skin; whacky digestion. You’re sending us both crazy with your overindulgence in that ‘bronze beauty’.
Old self: I’m ignoring you, sister. Now, come, my love. I need you. I desire you. I cannot go through the evening without you. Your creaminess soothes my soul. You lift me up and enable me to soar. Come, cherished chocolate, and become me. Back off, new self! Leave me alone to enjoy this moment … and the next moment in five minutes time … and the next one just after that. Go AWAY.
Choose your own ending:
Option one: The old self sometimes had her way for a few more months but the voice of the new self became stronger and stronger as the mind and attitude was transformed by the Spirit of God Himself. As a result, her body became stronger and she was of greater use to her Master.
Option two: The old self squashed the voice of the new self over and over again. The body of these two suffered as a result. No, this was no mortal sin. Nobody else was hurt, unless, perhaps, you count the loved ones of this self whose well-being was impacted by his increasingly poor health. But it isn’t the happy ending we’d like.
A personal note from the author:
Chocolate is NOT evil in and of itself, and there is no need to totally abstain from it. Nor is any other form of junk food ‘wrong’ in and of itself. However, this piece is being written by an overweight chocoholic, whose ‘old self’ and ‘new self’ constantly do battle regarding the apparent emotional comfort of chocolate.
The Bible does not address the misuse of junk food. Yet this command of Paul’s is to put off the old self, corrupted by its deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the attitude of our minds, putting on the new self. Surely this is incompatible with an unhealthy addiction to junk food. It’s a modern problem but one to which an ancient principle clearly applies.
My story is as yet unfinished. The battle continues – and probably will for the rest of my life. It is my hope, through His Spirit as well as my moment-by-moment choices, that, eventually, the new self wins the chocolate battle.
I want ‘Option One’ – the happy ending.
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