Of debt, diet cokes and ticks
By Jimmy Cochran
‘Tis the season, it seems, for me to be inundated with things that cause my focus to drift from the things of importance to the things of annoyance. My focus should remain on God and trying to live my life in a manner pleasing to Him. However, being the human I am, it is hard to keep that goal clear. I guess you could almost describe me as an ADHD Christian. I really want to keep myself in tune with God, but it is a difficult thing to do in the everyday world of 2017. Now, don’t be getting all smug, because I also know most of you fight the same battles.
Recently, my battles have been against three very tangible things. One of them is debt. Being a single guy, I often find myself battling a Lexus desire with a Gremlin wallet. I love electronic toys, clothes, books, and traveling, however, the checkbook doesn’t always allow for such luxuries. The evil plastic card often takes over at that point and all of a sudden, I find myself in a higher debt ratio than I want or should have. Paying off these bills, plus the rising costs of gasoline and other sundries, depletes the bank account faster than it used to. Somehow that retirement check just doesn’t go as far as it used to. In these times, what is the first thing to cut? Support for the church, missions and God’s work. It is a terrible thing to admit, but it is often true. As Christians, we are to give a portion of our earnings back to God for His work, however, when the choice is between the house note and a check to the church…. well, the house wins.
I also tend to have an addictive relationship with Diet Cokes. Now, in and of itself, that’s not such a terrible addiction to have, except that there is no nutrition in those cans and it takes even more money to feed my fix. As a result, I have gained unnecessary weight, spent more money than I need to and have not kept my body in the best shape by not providing the fruit juice, water, or other healthier beverages. We are told in the scripture “our bodies are the temple of God,” well, this temple is pretty fat, unhealthy, and broke. I feel bad physically and then emotionally, so I know that God is not pleased with how I am keeping house for Him.
This past week, my leisure time activities seem to be primarily that of checking for ticks. The woods and privet in my backyard must be a fertile breeding ground for these horrid creatures and I think my name is on their list as a good meal. The purpose of a tick is to, well, let’s just say, they have a parasitic relationship that does a person no good, but benefits the tick greatly. Then, there is always the chance of several deadly diseases that can be transmitted to humans (and I’m sure I have all of them by now, plus a few yet to be discovered).
Where am I going with all this? I am learning that I need to keep my physical and financial life straightened out so that nothing can stand in the way of my relationship with God. Being a better steward of my finances and my health will keep my desire for God from being sucked out of me like some little parasite. These are just a couple examples from my life, but you need to examine yourself for what is keeping you from that God walk. Could it be a bad relationship that you can’t get past and forgive? Can it be pride that keeps you from letting go and trusting God for your guide? Drugs, alcohol, language, wanting to be like someone else? Anything to excess will affect you and put a barrier between you and God that becomes harder and harder to break down. Let me challenge you today to examine your life closely and be honest with what you find.
And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.
Jimmy Cochran is a resident of McDonough, a musician, a minister and the author of Being God’s and Staying God’s, both available at Amazon.com. Being God’s is also available at Moye’s Pharmacy in McDonough.