Is there anyone in your life you have a hard time loving? There are definitely a few people in my life that I have hard time tolerating, let alone loving. But that's where God comes in:
"The fact is, I need God to help me love God. And if I need His help to love Him, a perfect being, I definitely need His help to love other, fault-filled humans. Something mysterious, even supernatural must happen in order for genuine love for God to grow in our hearts. The Holy Spirit has to move in our lives." p. 104
I would say that I readily agree with this sentiment. However, the direction in which Chan takes us with this idea IS NOT something I agree with... at least not completely. Or better yet, I just think he totally misses a HUGE stumbling block for so many of us. First, let's start with what he has to say:
"It is a remarkable cycle: Our prayers for more love result in love, which naturally causes us to pray more, which results in more love... Imagine going for a run while eating a box of Twinkies. Besides being self-defeating and side-ache inducing, it would also be near impossible- you would have to stop running in order to eat the Twinkies.
"In the same way, you have to stop loving and pursuing Christ in order to sin. When you stop pursuing love, running toward Christ, you do not have opportunity to wonder, Am I doing this right? or Did I serve enough this week? When you are running toward Christ, you are freed up to serve, love and give thanks without guilt, worry or fear. As long as you are running, you are safe." p. 104
Now, I whole-heartedly agree with the latter part of this excerpt, as it pertains to running toward Christ. My issue is with the first paragraph and the Twinkies... and yes, I have an issue with Twinkies in general (and you should, too! If not, try leaving an unwrapped Twinkie out to see how long it takes to grow mold... then get back to me in a few years!) But, seriously, the point I want to make here is significant, I think. Chan's "comparison" is based on the assumption that you can't eat a Twinkie and run at the same time... but I am here to say that you can! Of course, there is humor in this analogy... but there is also truth.... and a point. Just hang with me for a second.
Chan has admitted that he isn't an avid runner. So, I wouldn't expect him to understand that it is COMPLETELY possible to eat a Twinkie and run at the same time! Let me explain: I'm a runner... not an elite runner (in my dreams, maybe?) But I run. I love to run. One of the things I love to do most is train for endurance races... marathons and half-marathons. And while each runner is different, all endurance runners will agree that fueling your body is extremely important... especially those last 5-6 miles of a marathon. For me, that fuel is SUGAR. And while I would admittedly choose a Gu pack or PowerBar over a Twinkie... if all I had was a Twinkie, I would take it. But here's the important point: I wouldn't gobble that Twinkie down like Thanksgiving dinner... I would take small bites, every so often, over the course of 2 or 3 miles, slowly allowing the sugar to release into my body, giving just enough energy to sustain me through the race. Of course, if I crammed the whole thing down my throat in one bite, I would undoubtedly suffer from acute side cramps or just simply throw up...sorry for the visual!
So, to bring this all back to my main point: I agree that the Twinkie represents the sin in our lives. And I also agree that we are not capable of fully loving God when sin is taking up residence in our lives. HOWEVER, the problem with Chan's analogy is that it's black and white... while many of us live in the land of gray. Many of us nibble on the "Twinkie" throughout our day... throughout our lives. We go to church. We serve in the community. We admittedly love God. And we do all this WHILE nibbling on the "Twinkie"... and just in case you didn't get the reference, the "Twinkie" is sin. We rationalize our behavior by resting on the convenient fact that we are not perfect and that we all sin... but that doesn't mean we can't serve and love God. But, our problem is that we are CHOOSING the "TWINKIE" even though we know we shouldn't. We are choosing sin over God.
As tempting as it may be... DON'T EAT A TWINKIE TODAY! All this talk of junk food has me contemplating a quick stop to the gas station on the way to pre-school. Spend some time thinking about all the "Twinkies" in your life. Those "little sins" that you have a hard time letting go of, despite knowing that you should. Ask God to release the hold they have on your heart. And if you're unaware of any sin, ask God to reveal it to you.... He most definitely will!