Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 

Colossians 3:2-3

 

What is a diet?

A diet is a restriction. Usually of food or some other desired thing, for a temporary amount of time, in order to accomplish some goal.

We diet from carbs or sweets or fast food in order to lose weight and become healthier. We diet from television or movies in order to read or finish a project. We diet from stressful situations in order to collect ourselves.

Diets are difficult because they require us to give up the immediate good for the eventual better. Every diet is a tradeoff. But one made with the promise of two things.

First, that what I am giving up is worth the reward I will get afterwards.

Second, that I can have what I am giving up again after the diet.

 

Now, what is death?

Death is dark and heavy. It signifies the end. Death is loss and permanent separation. It’s nearly always unexpected, unwanted, and unstoppable.

People do everything they can to avoid death. We live our whole lives reading statistics and hearing stories about other peoples’ deaths, believing that somehow we’re excluded.

Even on a lighter note, we avoid small deaths. The death of relationships, the death of seasons, the death of opportunities. We believe the proverbial door will always remain slightly ajar, because the alternative is unpalatable. That a friendship could never be rekindled or an opportunity re-examined is unthinkable.

Somewhere along the way, sales advertising and sequels have convinced us that endings are only temporary. That a closed door will always reopen. And that death, in any form, does not actually exist.

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Every year I try to pick a set of verses that will be my focus for the entire year. A while back, Colossians 3:1-17 was that set of verses. However, over time it has evolved from a passage I wanted to study, to a passage I knew, to a passage I could never forget.

Often, I find myself trying to live the Christian life like I would adhere to a diet. I plan, I avoid temptation, I peak over at what other people have on their “plates,” and convince myself that everything is fine because I am a Christian. And as a Christian, I am choosing differently.

I won’t look at that, or say that, or look like that because now, right now, for now, I am a good Christian. Sometimes I fall off the bandwagon, like any ordinary Christian does. In diets we call them cheat days. It’s where I decide to live like the world again. To want what it wants and to think like it thinks. But it’s alright so long as I go back to my Christian diet…

The problem is, Scripture doesn’t call us to go on a diet from this world. Jesus doesn’t ask us to switch to world-light or world-decaf. He asks for death.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  Galatians 2:20

If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself...  Luke 9:23

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.  John 12:24

 A diet is temporary.

A diet asks us to withhold from what we want.

A diet serves our goals.

Death is permanent.

Death asks us to stop wanting those things.

Death requires surrender to His plan

A diet is not easy. But a diet is nowhere close to death. And this is the difference Jesus is calling us to. If we try to “diet” our minds and set them on things above, we will always fail. They will always be pulled back down. The earthly things will always win out.

The life God offers is not one defined by pursuit. You don’t pursue death. You accept it. A diet is hard because it asks us to do something we do not want to do. Death is harder because it asks for something only God can do.

He must increase, but I must decrease.  John 3:30

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