Let’s start with a list. God is:
love, loving, lovely, kind, gracious, generous, helpful, a healer, good, merciful, funny, just, our protector, light, life, salvation, strong, joyful, holy, perfect, infinite, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, at hand, sovereign, righteous, unchanging, active, caring, concerned, eternal, impartial, wise, true, transcendent, imminent, free, freedom, freeing, pure, unfailing, never-tiring, rejuvenating, life-giving, inspiring, available, powerful, sacrificial, sufficient, one who sanctifies, peace, our provider, our healer, victorious, accepting of people, against evil, our comforter, almighty, a good father, trustworthy, real, reality, trinity, one, beautiful, author and perfecter of our faith, creator, creative, happy, for us, crazy about us, hope, hopeful, encouraging, tender, warm-hearted, patient, honorable, a good listener, a good communicator, dignified, necessary, an artist, individual, universal, humble, glorious, welcoming… (feel free to add to the list)
All of these things are available to you (yes, you) always. God is available to you (yes, you) always. If you want him, he’s yours. It’s that easy. You don’t have to fix yourself up first. You don’t have to make amends first. You don’t have to kill a goat first. You just have to say, “Hey, I’m on board,” and Jesus responds, “Welcome.”
A friend asked me to do a follow-up to the last post with some more examples of what freedom from sin looks like in the reality of God. I’ll do my best. And just for funsies, let’s talk about the 7 Deadly Sins (that’s fun, right?). We won’t get through all of them in one post because nobody has time for that, but I’ll do a few today and a few next week, and we’ll see how it goes.
Oh wow, we’re just jumping right into the deep end here, aren’t we? Deep breaths, aaaaaaaaand go…
Lust is an excessive desire, usually for another person sexually, but not always. It could be about power or fame or other things as well. But just because it’s familiar as a term (and probably as an experience for most of us), we’ll talk about it in terms of sex. Sex is about connection, love, acceptance and knowing/being known. There is a very real physical element to it that I won’t go into right now because there are just so many rabbit holes that could lead us down, but spiritually and emotionally, when you want to have sex with someone, you’re looking for connection, love, and acceptance. You want someone to know you completely and love and accept all of you. You want to show love and acceptance to someone you know completely.
Here is truth and freedom: You are already known better than any other human will ever be able to know you, loved more perfectly and more completely than any other person will be able to love you, and accepted as you are – warts, skin tags, body hair, cellulite, fat, morning breath, dandruff, freckles, moles, worries, recklessness, volume, size, emotions, baggage, neediness and all. Sex will not make your body image issues go away. It will not manufacture the deep connection you long for. It will not make you confident that you are a lovable person. Even in a marriage that is safe, loving and happy, sex is not a magical thing that satisfies your desire for love and acceptance completely. And thank God, you don’t have to rely on sex for any of that. He provides it generously. Love and acceptance are yours for the taking. They are gifts God is holding out to you like an excited kid at a birthday party saying, “Open this one next; it’s from me!”
Thomas Aquinas broke gluttony down into six different sins:
- eating too soon
- eating too much
- eating too expensively
- eating too wildly
- eating too daintily
- eating too eagerly
I think these are kind of funny. Could someone please explain to me the difference between eating too wildly and eating too eagerly? Either way, I’m definitely guilty of that one around Girl Scout cookie time. And how dainty is too dainty? Are little girls everywhere going to hell for having tea parties?
Essentially, what it comes down to is using food (or money or other resources) for something more than just a tool to meet a basic need. I think we are meant to enjoy food (because come on…basil exists), but when we trust in food or money to satisfy us, and when we withhold food or money from others who need it, we are fending for ourselves. We are believing the lie that God is not for us, that he cannot or will not provide for us, and ultimately, that he does not love us. We are trying to get love and provision for ourselves, but we don’t have to do that.
Here is truth and freedom: God loves you. He just does. That’s what love does. And the confidence that we are loved is freeing. It frees me to enjoy food because it tastes good and fuels my body. And it frees me to give some of my resources away so that other people can enjoy food as well.
That might be enough for today. Next week, we’ll try to tackle greed, sloth (my favorite), wrath, envy, and pride. Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all! You are loved beyond your capacity to understand it.