How Every Diet Ends
For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 2 Peter 2:20
The problem with dieting is that it’s usually only a temporary reprieve from a self-destructive behavior. We become overweight by consuming excessive calories and we try to undo this with a few weeks of change. Maybe we even intend to eat differently for the rest of our lives, but eventually, we cheat. We cheat once, planning to get back to it tomorrow. Once we’ve cheated once though, the next cheat is that much easier. We were doing well and we lost weight, but we began cheating a little and now every day is a cheat day. Soon, we’ve gained back all the weight and we’ve even put on a little more. We’re worse off than we were before and now, it’s that much harder to lose weight.
I did this in my addiction too. The first time I tried to get sober, I had some minor consequences. I had to jump through some professional hoops. My wife was hurt and angry. Everyone was pretty forgiving once I got clean though. I’d made mistakes, but I learned my lesson and I was never going back. Except I went on to relapse a couple more times and every time things got worse. The destruction got progressively deeper, and it became harder to stay sober. I’d known sobriety. I’d tasted recovery, but I went back and ended up in a worse condition than I was previously.
Though he was referring to our spiritual condition rather than dieting or sobriety, this is the principle of which Peter spoke in today’s passage. In it, he said that once someone has known Christ and escaped corruption, but then returned to it, they are even worse off than before knowing Christ. It would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness (2 Peter 2:21). Those living in ignorance simply don’t know any better. At least there’s still a chance for them. Those who’ve known the truth and rejected it though, are in a terrible place. It’s even harder for them to return.
A lot of us have found ourselves here. We’ve known right, but we’ve chosen wrong. We’ve known God, but we simply live how we want. Peter’s warning applies to us. Little cheats become big cheats. Experiencing the new life but then returning to the old life is disastrous for our souls. Faith and recovery are matters of spiritual and physical life and death and so, daily, we must treat them as such.