Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Free to Love

A discussion has been brewing on campus. A discussion of broken hearts, healed hearts, and redeemed hearts. Hearts that are not afraid to love. The wise words of C.S. Lewis have often been quoted, one of my favorite quotes of all time.

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.

Monday, November 7, 2011

If You Love Me...

I watched the documentary Forks Over Knives this past weekend. The basic conclusion of the documentary is that animal foods are detrimental to the human body. My family is mostly vegetarian and I have read The China Study, so a lot of the information was familiar.

The data is solid and compelling. I believe it. So why did I enjoy chicken and sour cream along with my beans, salsa, rice and lettuce tonight? Why did I just eat a mini Hershey's bar?

Because I like the way chicken and sour cream taste. And yes, I even like milk chocolate.

You see, the crux of this issue isn't really about what I eat. It's about why I eat what I eat. And it's about my sin.

Yes, my sin.

You see, every time I've tried to change to a healthier diet, it's been for vain, selfish reasons. That's why it's never stuck. I've been trying to deny my flesh for fleshly motives, and a house divided cannot stand.

But the real reason I should eat healthy foods has to do with me. The real reason is that if I want to serve Jesus with my body, I need to take care of it. And if I really believe that a vegan diet is the healthiest diet, then I should be vegan.

Simple, right? Uh, no. I kinda drool at the thought of bacon, chicken tenders dipped in ranch dressing, and moose tracks ice cream. So I give in to the temptation on a regular basis.

"So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him that is sin." ~ James 4:17

Ouch. How long have I known the right thing to do but not done it? How incredibly pitiful is my self-control! But it gets worse.

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments." ~ John 14:15

I say I want to serve Christ wholeheartedly. But how can I expect to do great things for Him if I can't deny myself the ice cream cone, or the chicken tenders with ranch? How horribly selfish and shallow of me to place my own temporal pleasure over the importance of serving the One who ransomed me from the very pits of Hell.

[Edit] I am not trying to say it is sinful to eat an animal-based diet. Look at the last five words of James 4:17- "For him that is sin." If the Lord has not convicted you about your diet, then by all means exercise your sanctified common sense and Christian liberty. :)

Now I know Jesus never said, "Thou shalt not eat animals." In fact, Jesus Himself ate animals.

But that's not the point. The point is that in this day and age, the healthiest possible diet is animal-free, and very low in sugar, refined flours, and oil.

As a Christ-follower and as an athlete, don't I have a responsibility to eat healthy? Yes.  But I now realize I can't do this on my own.

My friend Sarah has agreed to be my accountability partner. Starting this Sunday she and I will eat completely vegan until Thanksgiving- that's 10 days. It's not yet set in stone that I'll stay vegan, but I think the best way to see if it is reasonable is to give it a try. By God's grace, we will not fail!