Tuesday, November 9

Sin and Chocolate Sauce

Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed which is idolatry. --Colossians 3:2, 5

Over the weekend I made biscotti--not just plain biscotti either; we're talking fancy stuff, drizzled with white and semi-sweet chocolate. The drizzling process made the cookies look great, but my kitchen...well...that's another story. After preparing no fewer than 8 dozen cookies, I decided to survey the damage. To my chagrin I discovered dried chocolate on the counter, the wall and even the floor! Those weren't too difficult to clean up (especially since my husband helped), but the worst mess was in the saucepans where I had actually melted the chocolate. The warm, gooey, white and dark chocolate concoctions were now cocoa and vanilla bricks, impervious to my scouring pad. How could something that was so delectable merely hours before have turned into such a nauseating mess?

During the 45 minutes or so that it took to clean up after my "biscotti extravaganza", I decided to multitask and use the time for prayer and reflection. I'll never cease to be amazed at the little lessons God teaches me in the midst of commonplace tasks. I never would have guessed that God would use cake-on chocolate to provide an illustration of the effects of sin.

Indulging in our sinful desires is a bit like melting chocolate in the saucepan. We set out to pursue something that seems fun or pleasurable. We fool ourselves into believing that we are in control not only of the sinful actions themselves, but of the resulting outcomes or consequences. This is simply not true. We cannot control everything, nor do we have the energy or the time to do so. The chocolate sauce was easy for me to control, so long as I had the right amount of heat applied and was constantly paying attention to stirring it, but as soon as I turned off the burner and walked away, I lost control. The sauce hardened and made a big mess. Trying to re-melt and re-stir only resulted in a bigger mess and some unsavory burnt chocolate.

If we live only for the purpose of gratifying our sinful desires, we will make a mess that could eventually become too big to handle or clean up on our own. Take pre-marital sex for instance--what may seem like harmless fun to the two people directly involved, could result in a huge mess. That mess could come in the form of an unwanted pregnancy or an incurable sexually transmitted disease. Undoubtedly those messes would have messes of their own as well, such as irreparable emotional damage, loss of self-esteem, or skewed attitudes about healthy sexual expression. The longer any of those messes goes unattended, the bigger the problem it will create in the long-run. Eventually, the mess will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to clean up.

I only wish that the messes of sinfulness could be cleaned up with a scouring pad, some hot water and a little elbow grease. Unfortunately, they're not. Cleaning up the sin in our lives is not something that we can do on our own. Only God has the ability to right the tremendous wrongs in our lives. He has the patience and dedication required to scrape through layer upon layer of the caked on messes we accumulate. He has a scouring pad big enough and tough enough to get into the corners of our hearts that we are unwilling or unable to reach by ourselves.

One my kitchen was cleaned, I found a renewed sense of enthusiasm and creativity. I found new joy in preparing a meal, and I delighted in using all the counterspace as I made dinner. When God cleans out the sin in our lives, he gives us room to experience his goodness more freely. God has so much more to give us than the fleeting things we selfishly pursue. He offers us an eternity of contentment and a life of peace. Unless we surrender to him and ask him to help us clean up the caked on messes of our sinfulness, we will never have room in our lives for the things he wants to give us. The things of this world are temporary, but God's blessings are eternal.

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