Confession #15 [of a prodigal pharisee]

Confession # 15:

I sin because it seems to taste better than Jesus

Blargh.  I hate this confession. I feel bad even writing it.  This one is all prodigal (or younger brother), and I can tell because the pharisee (or older brother) in me is like ‘shhhh!  you don’t need to type all this!!’.  But it’s a kicker.  An obvious confession for many of you – but for me – a new realization.

I always try to intellectualize my sin.  Give me a cup of coffee and a couple of minutes and I can trace my lack of faith back to a twenty second conversation with my sister in 1987.    Do I covet because of that yellow dress that I wanted so badly and was forced to watch as it was given to my friend on the day after I didn’t get to go to Disneyland?  Seriously, time is all it takes for me to find a way to somehow blame my parents for pretty much anything in my life. (good luck parents)

Here’s the horrible and horrific and shameful reality:  The prodigal in me sins because I just straight up like it.  I just like the pig pen.  I really do.  I don’t return to the mud out of some deep psychological experience or scarring.  I think it’s just that sin tastes good to me.  And in the moment I choose to sin I do so because it seems to taste better than Jesus.

I can hear you freaking out.  How could anything taste better than JESUS?!?! Yes. I know.  I know you’re judging me. The pharisee in me judges myself too, so if you want to jump on the bandwagon i’ll sell some rocks that you can throw at me on Sunday.  At least I’ll make some cash out of the deal.

I know Jesus is better.  So it’s been a mystery to me for some time that sin could taste better than Jesus.

Track with me here.  I indulge my thoughts in a certain way and honestly – it feels better than having a quiet time.  blick.  I eat more food than I should because – it feels good. ugly i know.  But here’s what I realized this past week.  There’s a reason sin sometimes feels better than sitting at my desk reading my bible.  Because my feelings are this amazing indicator of what I truely value.

My pharisee talks all day about how I value Jesus above all.  And all the time I’m using grand words to tell you how amazing I am at loving Jesus, I hide my heart with it’s treacherous sin behind my back, like the wayward child that it is.  For some reason my heart won’t act like I value Jesus above all!

So, this week I had to have an intervention with my heart.  I got together with my thoughts and my actions and I sat that heart with all it’s crazy emotions down to try to get to the bottom of why it won’t just behave as if I value Jesus most?  Heart, why can’t you just pursue what I value most?  Why do you pursue things I don’t really value. And sad news.  My heart answered back: I only pursue what you truly value.  I am nothing but a lackey of the mind.  You tell me what you treasure, and I find myself running towards whatever you desire.

Where my treasure is, my heart will be.  My heart is the true indicator of what I value.  My mouth can confess all day that I love Jesus more than the approval of man, but my heart calls me a liar every time it finds more joy in a gold star than time in the Word.

When we get our true treasure we always are filled with this weird sense of happiness and fullness.  I sin in worship of approval and power because I find my value more in the respect of my peers than in the words of Jesus Christ.  I don’t have to work at feeling joy in their praise.  That flicker of happiness comes naturally when I get what I want.  And my heart testifies to where my value truly lies.

Why is it that I have to work to have joy in the Lord, when a date has a 100% success rate of making me happy?  ugh.

What we value will always bring us joy.

Blick.  What this means is that I may not find as much of myself in Jesus as my pharisee self might like to pretend.

The good news is that Jesus is better.  That’s the reality.  He does actually taste better than sin.  It’s just that my tongue has been so badly burned by the world that I don’t taste very well anymore.  So, I think Wendy’s fries taste better than Fogo de Chao.  The pattern of this world has taught me that.  But in Jesus, I don’t have to conform to that pattern anymore.

And even though my pharisee self thinks that I should have gotten perfect tasting skills the moment I was regenerated, Jesus doesn’t seem to be shocked that I struggle with this kind of stuff post salvation.  In fact – Paul tells me that even though I’m a new creation, it may take my flesh awhile to get the memo.  My life this side of Heaven might be a process of putting to death – through the Spirit – those deeds and calling out the places I find my treasure other than Jesus. My life this side of Heaven might be the restoration of one taste bud at a time until I can finally taste correctly and savor the glorious sweetness of my Jesus.

phew. good times.

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