I Know it’s Bad for Me but I Want It
Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey. And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter. Revelation 10:9-10
When I meet with the guys in jail, they’re sober and universally, they want life to be different. Upon being released from jail, no one plans on getting caught committing another crime so they must return to jail. They hate jail and they want to stay out. So, I ask – What’s going to be different this time? Recently, I asked one of the guys who’s getting out soon – Are you going to use when you get out? He was brutally honest and said that yes, he was going to use. He didn’t want to be in jail. He understood that his drug use is what brought him to jail. Yet, he desperately wanted to use when he got out. You could see that he was already planning it in his mind. I know it’s bad for me, but I want it.
It’s easy to sit back and sigh – What an idiot. This though, is my life problem. My self-inflicted misery has rarely occurred out of ignorance. It’s not as if I don’t know that unhealthy, fattening food is unhealthy and fattening. It’s not like I once thought using drugs were good for me. I’ve known these things are self-destructive, yet I want them anyway. I have two wills. Yes, tomorrow I want to be emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy, but the things I want right now are usually toxic and unhealthy. To find the life, joy, and peace I desire tomorrow, I’m still learning to say no to my now-appetite, sacrificing my desire for immediate gratification so that I may choose that which is truly good for me.
In today’s passage, John reports how, in his prophetic vision, he was commanded to consume a scroll, given to him by an angel. The angel told him it would taste like honey, but also warned him that it would upset his stomach. He knew this, yet he ate it anyway. As promised, it tasted sweet, but then turned his stomach bitter.
Most of us can identify with this conundrum. I know it’s bad for me, but I want it anyway. For some, it’s drugs, but for others, it’s greed, lust, status, or an inappropriate relationship. Whatever it is, we know it’s self-destructive, but we want it anyway. If we truly desire to know life, joy, and peace though, we must daily learn to abandon our now-appetite for that which is truly healthy.