My wife and I traveled to the United States two years ago for the wedding of two great friends, Neil and Andrea. After the wedding we stayed for a few days in Frankenmuth, Michigan. As we strolled through town and browsed the many shops and countless candy stores, we found ourselves in a small health food store. While many would consider me to be a bit of a fitness freak, I am usually quite reluctant to embrace special health foods, supplements and any kind of diet craze. Still, I found myself drawn to a display in one corner of the store that talked about nutrition tailored to suit one's blood type.

There I discovered a nutrition guide that listed virtually every food item I know, and many I didn't know. The guide showed which food items were beneficial to my health and which were considered "toxins" to my blood type. Imagine my surprise when many of the foods I like to eat were on the "avoid" list.

That can't be right, I thought. I like eating pork, milk, cheese, cashews, peanuts, kiwis, coconut, oranges, plantain, coffee, corn and wheat. Now I find out that for me they are toxic!?

It was hard for me to accept. However, every food that did not agree with me in the past was also on the avoid list. With a large dose of skepticism and a lack of desire to give up my regular diet, I decided to put the nutrition guide to the test.

For the next two weeks I avoided those foods that the guide discouraged me from eating. Instead, I enjoyed the large list of food that was supposed to be beneficial for my blood type. Bananas, plums, lamb, buffalo, red pepper, green tea, blueberries and many other foods I already like were on the beneficial list.

And I must admit that I felt much better than what I thought was normal. I was more energetic and felt less bloated when I ate. It looked and felt like my body fat was decreasing. I even noticed a difference in my temperament. I was not as grumpy as I used to be.

I think we sometimes don't realize how miserable we are in certain situations until we are drawn out into better circumstances and get a different perspective. I found the nutrition guide very helpful because it didn't just give me a list of things to avoid. It also gave me a long list of attractive alternatives that gave me better results.

I think it's the same with sin.

Sin is attractive and usually offers instant gratification, something that today's culture often craves and justifies. In the long term, though, it is destructive and drives a wedge between us and God.

Still, give me only a list of things not to do, and I'm instantly intrigued. I'm very likely to focus more on the sin itself and see it with an added mystique and appeal. Wouldn't it be nice to focus on ideas that are just as appealing yet carry long-term satifsfaction and open the door to being closer to God? Wouldn't it be nice if God provided that "instead"?

Thankfully, He does.

Take a look at all the scripture verses below. Take a close look at the "avoid" list. Can you spot some things that are now a part of your life? I certainly can for myself. Would you be willing, with God's help, to explore the "beneficial" list for the next two weeks and beyond?

Until we allow God to help us escape from the clutches of sin, we just don't realize how lost and miserable it makes us. It's an ongoing struggle, one we can't do on our own, but it is worth it long term.

Ask yourself...

  • What sin has its 'hooks' in me?
  • What is a beneficial alternative that I am passionate about?
  • Which results do I want more?

If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. - Ephesians 4:28

Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. - 2 Timothy 2:22

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don't use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. - Galatians 5:13

Don't be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. - Proverbs 3:7

Then why should we, mere humans, complain when we are punished for our sins? Instead, let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the Lord. - Lamentations 3:39-40

Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. - Romans 6:13

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. - Ephesians 4:31-32

So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God's wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. - Romans 5:21

Author's Bio: 

Humorist Will Rogers once observed, "There are three kinds of men - ones that learn by reading, a few who learn by observation, and the rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves."

Though he has never braved a real electric fence, Larry understands the above metaphor all too well. His life is more a series of clumsy learning experiences than a polished "how-to" manual.

Remarkably, God has called Larry to share these slices of imperfection and accumulated wisdom with readers from over thirty countries around the world - those fortunate souls who prefer to learn through reading and observation.

Larry's first book, Get the Prize, was published in 2003. He is currently writing his second book, expected to be released in 2010.

He lives in Canada with his wife and four children.

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