My wife hates mayonnaise. I asked her what would be something gross to eat, and she said a mayonnaise sandwich. I asked her if she likes chocolate. She said yes.
I said, “If you were hungry and wanted to eat some chocolate would you accidentally eat a mayonnaise sandwich?” She said, “No.” I said, “Why?” And she said, “Because I hate mayonnaise, and I like chocolate.”
This conversation happened because we were talking about sin. Why do people sin? Why do Christians think they want to sin? Part of the answer is that they do not know that sin is a mayonnaise sandwich, and righteousness is chocolate.
In an earlier post I said that being a Christian is, in part, its own reward. I don’t mean that the rewards in heaven for being a Christian aren’t greater than anything we can imagine, but that the “life” (and life abundant) of a Christian is very rewarding and fulfilling if you know what you are doing.
In my aforementioned post I said that the problem with the older brother in the prodigal son story (Lk 15:11-32) is that he doesn’t know how good he has it. He thinks it would be fun to go live like his foolish younger brother, as though the life he (the younger brother) has been living in a far country, squandering his money on hedonism (death) and being reduced to eating after the pigs was some great time. It was not a great time, but a bankrupt existence he was glad to leave behind.
Meanwhile the dad says to the older brother something like, “You and I are always together, and all my stuff is your stuff. You own the world and have an awesome life, so why are you complaining?”
Why would we complain about eating chocolate? Why would we think we wish we could eat the mayonnaise sandwich (or whatever food you hate)? Because we are confused. We don’t understand that our purpose on earth is to live. Living entails more than just continuing to breath. God always holds out the choice between his way, and some other way. His way he calls “Life,” the other way he calls “Death.” His way I’m calling “chocolate,” the other way I’m calling a “mayonnaise sandwich.”
According to God’s way there are bedrock principles of virtue that are based in the reality of life and existence with a body and a spirit. Truth, justice, love, productiveness, creativity, purity, contentment, and excellence are all part of God’s way. These are the principles by which through Jesus we pursue our lives, for our own sake, and ultimately for his sake and his glory. Seeking to live accordingly is going to be the most rewarding and powerful way to seek life.
That is what it means to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness. That’s the chocolate that we actually want, and if we aren’t confused about that, we will never settle for a mayonnaise sandwich. Choose Life and live.