Archive for October 2nd, 2009

I had a cardio stress test yesterday – a stress test with Cardiolite. Sounds like a stress test on a diet. It’s not. It’s a stress test with a nuclear die injected into your body so they can see it flow through your heart after you’ve run on the treadmill.

The radiologist brought the Cardiolite into the room in lead-shielded containers that were obviously quite heavier than the small syringe of nuclear medicine they contained. When injecting the medicine, they have a lead shield around the syringe – so that the syringe is kind of like the lead in a pencil and the shielding is the wood that is around the pencil. Make sense?

I commented on the lead shielded heavy containers when the radiologist brought them into the room. I was immediately and repeatedly reminded that there were absolutely no side affects to the nuclear medicine. “The lady doth protest too much, methinks” (Hamlet) was just one of my thoughts that day.

I love modern medicine and I’m incredibly thankful for what it has done – Phil is alive today because of modern medicine. My dad lived longer than expected because of modern medicine. My mom still lives because of modern medicine. Heck, I can still walk and use my right arm because of modern medicine.

However…I don’t believe for a second that there are absolutely no side affects to pumping nuclear medicine into my body. There may be no measureable side affects or no side affects that anyone has recognized yet, but my body wasn’t designed to run nuclear material through it’s veins, so whether I feel the effects or not, there are side affects to this (and every) medicine.

OK, enough of a rant.

But I got to thinking about this (I had a long time to wait between the delivery of the lead-shielded nuclear medicine, the injection of the same, and the x-rays that showed it’s progress through my body). There are many things that this world tells us has no side affects. How about sex before marriage, abortion, pornography, recreational alcohol and drug use, and selfish ambition? I bet you can name many more. Scripture includes this list:

19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:19-21

Maybe you don’t feel like that list applies to you. How about some of the “lesser” sins: sarcasm, complaining and grumbling, speaking ill of someone (even your spouse or your children), being critical or impatient. The world encourages these qualities and more like them.

Anytime we look to the world to define appropriate behavior, we’re treading on very thin ice. There are fewer and fewer behaviors on which Scripture and our society agree. Society says “no harm, no foul” – if I’m not hurting anyone else, where’s the reason to cast dispersion on the activity. “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”

Such an attitude is totally inconsistent with Scripture on at least three levels: personal, societal and spiritual.

Personal: On a personal level, there is a price associated with all behavior that the Bible describes as sinful. Sometimes we, like my radiologist, act as if we believe that there are absolutely no side affects, but there is always a price for sin, and even though Jesus has paid the ultimate price, there is often (usually) an additional price paid here on earth. Sarcasm, for example, affects our attitude at a subconscious level. It plants negative seeds that grow into bitterness.

Societal: Even a cursory read through the Old Testament teaches that God treats us as “a people” and “His people.” Yes, He deals with us individually, but He also treats us as a group and what one person does impacts the entire group. My sin impacts those around me. I blogged about this here  using the simple sin of lying as an example.

Spiritual: Ultimately, our sin and puts a barrier between us and God. Yes, Christ makes it possible for us to cross over  that barrier, but our sin remains an affront to God. Until we have confessed our sin and accepted Christ’s death as the payment required for it, we remain separated from God. Even after we’ve received Christ, our sin is an affront to God’s holiness. Unconfessed sin has side affects.

The world says many sinful behaviors have no side affects. God says the side affect is that “those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” That’s a pretty stiff penalty, a pretty strong and undesirable side affect.

There is also a side affect of pursuing God, though. When we choose to live according to the spirit, saying “No” to the sinful things that the world tells us have no side affects, our life changes. Instead of the lifestyle that denies us the Kingdom of God, we have a lifestyle to be envied:

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-25

I felt like crap all day after having the nuclear medicine injected into my blood. Sin is like that, too. Yes, it may feel good “for a season,” but eventually, it will get into your blood stream and make you feel like crap.

I’d rather experience the fruit of the Spirit. How about you?

Lord, help me to crucify my sinful nature and pursue You each moment today.

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