Romans 6:12-14 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions… For sin will have no dominion over you…
At the coffee shop counter the other day, I asked if there was sugar in a certain drink. The question quickly deescalated into a discussion on the evils of sugar. I indicated that yes, I was trying to cut such wickedness out of my life. The barista then asked me, Do you have a cheat day? As I had been thinking about the concept a lot lately, the answer popped out of my mouth before I could filter it. Well, I am an addict, so no, the idea of a cheat day, for me, is terrible. It would turn into a cheat month or year. Apparently, that is a conversation killer. I got my sugarless coffee without any further probing questions.
The concept of a Cheat Day still though, is a dilemma. I get the theory, that perhaps allowing a small indulgence will prevent binge eating and quitting, for some people. For those of us who are truly addicts though, the concept of a planned relapse is horrific. One does not avoid addictive behavior by allowing small indulgences in that behavior. This would be like an alcoholic having just a few beers on the weekend so he can stay sober the rest of the week.
The absurdity is obvious when I see others try it. I recall as a teenager, receiving the instruction of a man in our church who felt that pornography and sexual fantasy were acceptable methods of preventing adultery. I was pretty sure that was not how one avoided adultery, but still, there are those who prescribe to this concept of a cheat day when it comes to the defects of the flesh nature. The very concept reveals, I think, that one has not taken his defects seriously enough.
Paul, in Romans six, explained exactly what Christ’s death on the cross provided for us. Through Christ’s sacrifice, we have been given this perfect spirit life. The old life is dead and we have been reborn in Christ so that we may be free to live with him, no longer living enslaved to our flesh nature.
Here then, Paul said, is our part. As Christ performed his transforming work, this is our only appropriate response. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God. As we have this new perfect life of God in us, we are to pursue him above all, abandoning the pursuit of self.
We are commanded to take this seriously. We must do whatever it takes to abandon our caustic behavior. As Christ freed us from ourselves, now we must do anything and everything in our power to avoid a return to slavery. Indulging in our destructive desires must not be an option. When it comes to our flesh nature, cheat day is a lie.
In pursuit of my addiction, I told myself the most outrageous lies. I can indulge in just a little… I should take just this one pill… I deserve a cheat day…
Thinking like this, reveals that I have not taken my responsibility seriously enough. A cheat day may be fine for the casual dieter. But the concept, when applied to the defects of my flesh nature, is disastrous. I do not enhance my pursuit of God by sinning just a little.