[forthright] Acquired Taste

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Sat, 29 Aug 2009 04:49:01 -0700 (PDT)
Forthright Magazine 
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Straight to the Cross

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COLUMN: FIELD NOTES

Acquired Taste
 by Michael E. Brooks

"O taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the
man who trusts in him" (Psalm 34:8 NKJV).

When eating at a familiar restaurant I commented to one
of my companions, "The food does not seem to be as hot
(spicy) as it used to be. Have they changed the
recipe?" He replied, "It is the same as it always was,
your taste has changed."

I must agree that I not only have a greater tolerance
for spicy food than I used to have, but I now like it
better that way.

When discussing the Bible with those who are not
religiously involved, I often hear statements like,

   "I just don't think I could live the way you
   Christians do. I would have to give up too
   much that I like, and do things like going
   to church that I just don't care for.
   Sundays are my only time for rest and
   recreation and I just don't want to give
   that up."

It is a common misconception to think of the Christian
life as one of deprivation and sacrifice. Are there
things we must do without? Certainly. Are there
hardships that may befall us if we are faithful to the
Lord? Yes, without doubt there are.

Paul said, "…and all who desire to live godly in
Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (2 Timothy
3:12).

Yet all of life, on whatever basis it is lived, is
vulnerable to hardship and loss. Whether our philosophy
is Christian or pagan, religious or atheistic, Stoic or
profligate, suffering will likely come to us.

Are the sacrifices and denials of Christianity greater
and more demanding than those faced by others?
Frequently not. Consider the rigorous training of the
world class athlete. Few young people are more
restricted in their pleasures or more driven in their
efforts than these. Christian morals do not require
more self-denial than does their training. This is only
one example.

False religions are often severe in their restrictions
(See 1 Timothy 4:1-5). Many human non-religious
philosophies have demanded asceticism and other
lifestyles of denial.

The question is not whether the Christian must suffer
or do without. Nor is it whether Christian demands are
necessarily greater than those of other systems. The
true question is whether the life experienced through
faith in Christ is one of loss or of gain.

The athlete who wears a gold medal won in a tournament
knows satisfaction and reward far greater than the
difficulties of training. The parties he or she did not
attend are more than repaid by the victory achieved.

But it is not just competitive success that rewards.
Frequently such athletes point to the joys of training,
the companionship of coaches and teammates, and the
routine of competition as more rewarding and fulfilling
than other more normal experiences of their non-
athletic friends.

So it is with Christianity. Before one blithely states,
"I couldn't live like that," one should try some of the
things being refused. 

Dr. Seuss had it right in Green Eggs and Ham - "Try it,
you'll like it." Is that always true? Of course not. Is
it frequently true? Absolutely.

And when it comes to Christian principles Jesus assures
us that those who live by them sincerely and
faithfully, will find great reward. Life may not be
easy always. We may find some practices and attitudes
difficult to adapt (like turning the other cheek).

But like spicy curry, we will find our tastes changing
as we adapt to different likes and desires. Beyond
doubt, the Lord is good. Try following him and obtain
the proof.

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