One of my life-long battles has been with colas. Actually I can’t honestly say I have battled it my whole life, which may be part of the problem.
I am not going to debate temperance vs. abstinence concerning colas, but let’s face it, they have 0% nutritional value, and if you drink too much you have the risk of cancer, diabetes and acid re-flux. So you can’t really say the nutritional value is worth all the health risks. Anyway, believe it or not, colas are not the point of what I am writing about today. The point is repentance is a gift of God.
For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good. Matthew 5:45 NLT
God’s grace is not in response to my faith. God does not look down on me and say, “Well, okay, William believes, so I will give him my grace.” No, God shines His grace upon the good and the evil.
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8 NLT
My faith responds to God’s grace. The same sun that melts butter hardens clay. When God’s grace shines down on us, it hardens some and chases them away, like Pharaoh, for example. God’s grace melts other hearts, leading them to believe and have faith.
While my faith is in response to the gift of God’s grace, likewise my turning away from sin and repenting is a gift of His grace.
Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? Romans 2:4 NLT
Our repentance or turning from sin does not lead to God’s kindness. His kindness leads us to repent and turn from sin.
A while back while when I was trying to get off colas, I decided one was not going to hurt. This is how Satan gets us, not just on colas but on several areas of our life. First, depending upon what it is, it might be debated as to whether or not one time is going to hurt. Problem is that it’s usually never one time! I had been off colas at one point for ten weeks, when I was giving blood, and they offered me a Pepsi. Surely one time won’t hurt, I told myself. Well, it wasn’t just one time. I was back to drinking them all the time. So be careful. Even if it’s true that one time won’t hurt, it does not guarantee that it will be just one time for you.
Here is what happened later, and this is the whole point of what I want to share. I had cut way back again on colas. Thinking that one time would not hurt, I went to the store and bought myself a cherry coke. I took a couple sips and the sweetness was so sickening that I dumped it out and filled the cup with water instead! That, my friends, was a gift from God. God made the cola so sickeningly sweet to me that I would not want it. He gave me a craving for water instead.
The fact is you can develop a taste for water, and when you do, it tastes very good! The problem is that our tastes have become perverted. We have actually had to pervert our taste buds in order to develop a craving for unhealthy drinks. Once our taste buds are no longer perverted and are re-created by God’s grace to their natural state, we crave pure water instead of sugar and syrup.
I am so thankful God’s goodness led to my repentance. When the sugary syrup made me sick after two sips, and I had to dump it out and refill my cup with pure water, it was all a gift from God.