Sunday, March 13, 2016
Diabetes and the Christian life
Fortunately, mine is fairly manageable and my sugar numbers aren't very high. However, this means a change of diet for me. Sweets are obviously a biggie to mostly cut out, but the list of foods that are bad for diabetes is a sad and long one. The hardest thing for me to cut back on - way back on - is not sweets. I love cake, pie, cookies....and all that, but I can handle that. Other things on that list, not so much.
I love, love, love mashed potatoes and gravy/or noodles. We have them a couple of times a week - always on Sunday - and I take a large helping, and then a second good sized helping. But mashed potatoes are bad for me, very bad. And fried foods are bad...... If I was dying today and had to pick my last meal, I wouldn't hesitate for a second. I would pick my mom's fried chicken, mashed potatoes with lots of noodles over it, fresh home made rolls, and her rhubarb pie. Oh yeah - bread: very bad. But all is not lost! Bacon is very, very low in sugars!!! And most meats are low in sugars also, and I love meat.
And it isn't just sugar stuff. I have to also avoid foods high in vitamin K for 6 months while I am on blood thinners...... which isn't quite as bad as the diabetes restrictions. As the nurse read off the things I should avoid or eat very little of while on blood thinners, I told him "I don't even like most of this stuff!" Spinach, kale, beef and chicken liver, mayonnaise....not feeling too deprived here, though there are a few things on that list I will miss.
You see, if I want to live as healthy as I can and not risk my sugar levels get to where I risk losing body parts and my life, I have to cut back and cut out certain foods. If I want the blood thinners to do their job and get rid of the blood clots so I am not in danger from them, then I must again cut out certain foods and be moderate in others.
Is it any different for us as Christians? I cannot ascribe to Calvinism, the doctrine that once we become Christians; we cannot miss Heaven no matter what we do. I have many Calvinist friends who are dear to me, and this is not a post to knock that belief.... but the distinction must be made for where I am going with this.
Once we become Christians and surrender our lives to God, the battle is only beginning. Satan starts an all out onslaught against us. As an non-Calvinist, I believe his aim is to turn us away from God and cause us to miss Heaven. I cannot fathom why he would fight us so hard and try to get us to give up otherwise.
But regardless of which side of theology you fall on, I think - and hope - we can agree on a couple of things:
1) The devil fights us hard and has a huge artillery of weapons
2) We need to do our best to live above sin
3) There are many things which can at least interfere with our relationship with God.
4) We should seek God's will on everything in life, and most of us tend to decide on our own what we can and cannot do as Christians
5) Being a Christian isn't a license to live as we please.
If it is important for me to cut out and cut back on certain foods from my diet so I can keep my sugar levels down, and avoid other foods so my blood clots will be dissolved; then how much more is our spiritual health?
We live in a world of convenience and technology. As devices are invented to make our lives easier and make tasks faster to do; so increases the amount of things to get between us and God. There are more things that Christians shouldn't do, or should cut back on. Just as I and others have had to learn we can't put everything into our bodies that we want, that some things will do us harm, and too much of some things will hurt us; so we Christians must learn that we can't let everything into our lives and souls that is out there.
What effect does some TV shows, movies, books, websites, and more have on our spiritual life? I had no idea I had diabetes and that I was doing myself harm that could eventually be fatal if I had not been diagnosed.
What if the same is true spiritually?
What if the movies we watch are hurting us spiritually and we can't even see the signs?
What if the music we listen to is draining us spiritually and making us more like the world than like Jesus?
What if those books with curse words and sex scenes are impacting our relationship with God in a bad way?
What if Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. are taking more of our time and hurting us spiritually?
What if we have become so arrogant that we think we know what is best for us, and we love entertainment, and "stuff" too much to stop and consider the effects it could be having on our spiritual life and our relationship with God?
What if our diet of music, movies, TV, and whatever else there is, is causing us to look more favorably on sin?
What if there are things we are dieting on and spending time on are even more detrimental to us than sugars and vitamin K are to me?
What is more important: entertainment and comfort, or pleasing God and getting as close to Him as we can?
Shouldn't it be more important to have a close relationship with God than to focus on getting to Heaven?
We can't walk into a doctor's office and have a blood test done that will test our spiritual health. The lab can't draw a vial of blood, and say "you need to cut out these movies, these TV shows, this music, these books, you need to cut back on this and that, and cut out that"....... but if we are as concerned about our relationship with God and pleasing Him; we will toss out this idea that it is MY right to do that. It is what I believe is OK. That unless the Bible says "Do not listen to Lady Gaga", then we are free to do it, and no one has the right to tell us otherwise..... even God. We may not add that last part, but we tend to have that attitude sometimes.
If we are as concerned about our relationship with God as we should be, we will seek His guidance on these issues. We should ask Him to show us what we should and should not watch, read, do, how we spend our time, and everything in our lives.
What can happen to our souls and relationship with God is far worse than what diabetes or any other disease can do to our bodies.
It will be challenging to watch my diet and avoid and cut back on foods I love, but it is far more challenging to live in this world and avoid and cut back on the things that are at our fingertips to entertain us and fill our time, minds, and souls with things that could and do come between us and God.