“And this is where we get into trouble. We try very hard.”
Chapter 4, Page 29 –
Thus, in Seventh-day Adventist theology, physical health is very important. We call it “the health message.” You and I try very hard to have a healthy lifestyle. And this is where we get into trouble. We try very hard.
You and I cannot have physical health by trying very hard – for the same reason that we cannot have spiritual health by trying very hard. Let me repeat that for emphasis: physical righteousness does not happen by works just as spiritual righteousness does not happen by works.
Now use your sanctified imagination and visualize these three scenarios.
Scenario 1: Imagine two joggers running down a road under a sign that says “Gates of Hell.” The first jogger says, “I love this healthy life style – good food, good exercise.” The second jogger says, “Yeah, me too. I’ve never felt so healthy in my whole life.”
If we try very hard and are successful, we think we have earned good health. We become proud that we have done this great thing and we forget God.
Scenario 2: Imagine again an old lady in a wheel chair in a nursing home. A young attendant brings her a bowl of oatmeal. The old lady throws the bowl on the floor and cries out, “Take that stuff away and bring me some eggs right now.”
The young attendant says, “But you never eat eggs. You know that they aren’t good for you and will raise your cholesterol.”
The old lady shoots back, “I don’t care. I ate healthfully all my life and look at me. I’ve got cancer. A lot of good that healthful living did me. I always wanted those eggs but never ate them. Now I want my eggs and I’m going to have them.”
If we try very hard, follow the rules, but don’t get what we think we’ve earned, then we become angry. We become bitter toward God and we turn away from Him.
Scenario 3: Here’s one more. Imagine a young man pacing in front of a drug store magazine counter. As he walks back and forth he is nervously turning a cigarette pack over and over in his hand. With each pass he steals quick glances at the girly magazines, then suddenly shouts, “What’s the use? I can’t take this anymore. I give up.”
Snatching one of the offensive magazines he heads for the counter. As he slaps the magazine down on the counter, he shakes a cigarette from the pack and puts it in his mouth.
If we try very hard to follow the rules and fail, we get discouraged and quit – and blame God.
The result of trying very hard is one of the following: pride, bitterness, or discouragement. Do these three results sound like anything you have experienced? Are they familiar to you? Do you know who you are?