Ragged Genes

genesSilly me, I thought the Washington Post article, “Cheating May Be in Your Genes” was speaking of unfairly playing a game.  You know, bending the rules to get an advantage; however, the focus is on cheating as in having an affair.  I guess that sounds a little nicer than calling it adultery or breaking one of the 10 Commandments.

According to research done by Brendan Zietsch at the University of Queensland in Australia, “an individual’s genetic makeup in general influences how likely he or she is to cheat.” The researchers at Queensland could have saved themselves a lot of time and money.  The answer to their hypothesis is in the Bible.  Ever since Adam and Eve messed things up in the Garden of Eden, 100% of men and women have been struggling with their desires and emotions.

Whenever a person, like these researchers, overlooks the obvious, I remember my old friend Ted and how he expressed his frustration.  His language in such instances was so razor sharp and electrifying he left the recipient of his diatribe shockingly bewildered.  His language was so colorful, it would make your teeter, totter.

My language won’t be nearly as graphic, but I will state the simple truth:  Your nasty sin nature wants you to wallow in the pig pen of life.  It lies to you, and tells you it’s okay to cheat, swindle, steal, and do whatever you feel like doing.  It’s the author of the bestseller: If It Feels Good, Do It.

Here’s a little secret:  It doesn’t make any difference whether you call it your genetic makeup, your DNA, or your sinful nature, you’re still responsible for your actions; and, there are consequences to your behavior.  Sin will always takes you farther than you want to go; it always promises more than it gives and, it always costs more than you want to pay.

It’s time to dial down the static noise and be emphatic about the truth:

  • When you cheat, you rob yourself of your character.
  • When you lie, you exist in a delusional environment.
  • When you steal, you rob yourself of your integrity.

If you will ask yourself these questions, they will help you temper your temptation:

  • Is 15 minutes of pleasure worth risking an eternity of joy?
  • Is the self-soothing value of false pretense worth losing the value of a good name?
  • Can I find genuine satisfaction and fulfilment in stealing something that belongs to another person?

Fortunately failure is not final, and you can learn this from the example of the Prodigal Son.  He was starving and stuffing “himself with the food the pigs were eating.  When he came to his senses he said, My father’s servants have more food than they can eat and here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go back to my father .’”

When you come to your senses, you can come back to your Father—He still loves you.

Discreetly Discrete

character_stonesSometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with strange or random thoughts on my mind.  When this happened recently, I was thinking of two statements that Jesus made:

  • The first is an admonition to be discreet: Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
  • The second is a command to be discrete: Be in the world, but not of the world.

As I thought about these two statements, the words discreet and discrete came to my mind.  Even though these words are homophones, they are not synonyms.  Discreet implies wisdom in your behavior or speech.  Discrete means: distinct or separate.

What section of the Bible outlines a discreetly discrete Christian life?  I think it’s the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
  • Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
  • Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
  • Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
  • Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
  • Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.
  • Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.

What change can you make to help you become a discreetly discrete person?

Cravings

Due to my love of ice cream, I often joke and say I have a body by Braums.  I have a particular fondness for their yummy Rocky Road.  Because I have trouble controlling my ice cream cravings, I keep very little of it at home.

My craving for ice cream is not hunger related.  There are many times that I feel hungry, but I have never felt the pangs of starvation.  The hunger I feel is directly connected to the fist sized part of my body that I call my stomach.

Even though the average stomach is just the size of an adult’s clenched fist, it has an above average capacity to influence the behavior of the rest of the body.  When a person is really hungry, he wants to eat his food.  When a person is starving he may even riot or steal to get food.

When we look at the ministry of Jesus, we find several cases in which he fed the people.  One of the more remarkable stories is when He used the bread and fish of the small boy to feed many people.

A key point of this story is that Jesus did not take the bread from the small boy, but the lad gave what he had to Jesus.  Even though the little guy had very little himself, he had a craving.  His craving was to help others who were hungry.

This young boy gave a swift kick to the can of logic, and showed his faith through his actions.  He craved the will of God, and he did what he could do.  And God, I think He smiled.

Then, there is you and me.  What about us?  Will we allow our lives to be controlled by the desires of our belly?  Let’s learn from the lad and crave the presence and will of God for our lives.