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Good or Bad for Me?

Good or Bad for Me?

Drink no wine or strong drink, you or your sons with you, when you go into the tent of meeting, lest you die. . . You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean . . . Leviticus 10:8-10

When I was quite young, I loved potatoes – baked, mashed, or fried. At mealtime then, my behavior was driven completely by my appetite and so, I ate potatoes until I was stuffed. I had no concept of carbohydrates, obesity, or healthy eating. I simply loved potatoes and I acted accordingly.  This may have been cute as a kid, but that same behavior was echoed years later in my addiction. As an adult, I wanted pills and so, I took them. They felt good and I desired more. It was as simple as that. There was no stopping to ask, Is this good for me? My behavior was driven not by what was healthy, but simply by what I wanted.

Recovery then, has been an ongoing process of relearning how to make decisions. Instead of getting up in the morning asking – What do I want? – I’ve had to learn that my appetite makes terrible decisions and that I must defer to something outside myself to determine what is good for me. It’s a struggle I’ll have to work on for the rest of my life, but I’m learning to get up in the morning, look to God, and ask – What do you want me to do? Recovery has meant continually asking – Is this good or bad for me? – and then making the right choice.

This was God’s message to the priest, Aaron, in today’s passage. In the story, his two sons (also priests) had just been struck dead for offending God. The passage implies that they were drunk at the time and therefore, made a terrible decision that cost them their lives. Their punishment may seem harsh to us, but it should serve as a sobering reminder – You must learn to make decisions based on good and evil, not based on your appetite. Your life depends on it.

Our daily choices determine the course of our lives. Daily, we make decisions that bring us closer to God and the life he desires for us, or we make decisions that take us down our own path. This isn’t just about alcohol and drugs. This is about everything we eat, say, think, and do. Is this thought or behavior healthy for me? Does it turn me towards or away from God? The Christian life is one of continually asking not – What do I want? – but rather – What does God want? – and then acting accordingly. My way is disaster. God’s way is life.

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