If you have read any of my previous posts, you know I like to grill. Anytime of the year, in summer or winter, you can find me starting a fire and grilling something. In fact, I have a an old winter coat that my wife “suggested” I keep in the garage just for grilling. It is a good idea as there is a certain barbecued essence that invades our house if I keep it inside.
This summer I expanded my outside cooking experience by purchasing a smoker at a rummage sale. I have not yet mastered the art of this cooking method. But I have learned that smoking a piece of meat is a lot different from grilling–if I want an edible product. I have also learned that it takes a lot longer to smoke a piece of meat than to grill the same cut.
Most often, you smoke meat that is tougher or needs long slow attention to make it tender and flavorful. This is something that you cannot rush, as I have discovered. It needs the right temperature, the right fuel and maybe even the willingness to put up with some tears from the constant supply of smoke in my eyes. But the finished product is worth the effort.
It took me a while to understand, but I believe God had my wife and me show up at just the right time to be able buy that smoker. I feel that he wanted me to take a closer look at something important in my life. Since God blessed me with recovery, one of my ongoing struggles is dealing with the sin in my life. While the program refers to these a defects of character, I know them simply as sins.
No matter how many years I am in recovery I need to accept I am still sinful. Romans 3:23 tells me “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Sometimes, that is disappointing for me. It is not really the fact I am sinful. Rather even with a number of years in recovery, I still find myself struggling with some of the same sins I committed when I was drinking.
I think that getting that smoker has opened my eyes to my main issue with sin. I try to change by identifying it, using all my willpower to fight against it and then expect it will be gone forever. That is sort of like my throwing a roast on a high temperature grill, browning the outside until it sizzles and looks good, and then wonder why the meat is so tough that it is inedible. When I use an ineffective method to do anything, the outcome will always be a failure.
I need to remember what is written in Romans 7, “For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing.” Sin is tough. It fights to stay alive within me. And there is always the devil who is there to remind me what a poor job I am doing. Dealing with sin is ongoing. I will often fall short in my quest to resist my sinful, weak self.
But there is more to that passage in Romans 7, “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! ” Through his death on the cross, Jesus took the punishment I deserve. And if he was willing to take that punishment for me, he is there to give me strength to fight against the temptations to which I give in far too often. After all Jesus has done for me, how can I not respond to that love by using his strength to live a life, no matter how much time God gives me here on earth, to say thank you and strive against my sinful self, no matter how tough it seems.
I will never achieve complete victory over sin while here on earth. But at least I better understand my struggle, the fact I am forgiven for my sins, and where I can turn for real help.
To some, grilling and a smoker and sin may not seem to fit together. I believe, no I know, that God loves everyone. He puts the Bible, people, places and things in their lives to give everyone a chance to get to know him. It all started with his Son, Jesus. And for that I am so thankful.
Come on back sometime – I will wait you.
As I promised a few posts ago, here is another example of my favorite, less traditional Christmas Music. This one is Mary Did You Know by Peter Hollens. A few ads but in full screen you miss most of them.