It seemed like I was living “the dream” for three months.
From January through April of 2006, I was constantly hungry. I ate everything in sight –pizza, steak, ice cream, candy bars- you name it. Every night, I would wake up 5-6 times and raid the refrigerator. On one occasion I ate an entire chocolate cake in one night!
The best part? During those three months of unprecedented eating, I lost 30 pounds (much to my dieting friend’s chagrin).
But, as they say, all good things must come to an end. One night, I remember telling my wife, Jill, how great it was to finally be one of “those people” who could eat all they wanted and not gain a pound. But Jill didn’t share my excitement. As an RN, she knew something wasn’t right. In every sense of the phrase, it was too good to be true.
The next day, Jill came home with a glucometer (a device that measures blood sugar levels). She checked my blood sugar and confirmed what she had suspected: I was diabetic.
We made an appointment with my doctor who officially diagnosed my condition and explained why I had lost all of the weight. My pancreas had quit producing insulin which means I couldn’t process sugar into energy. That’s why all of the sugar was building up in my blood. Basically, my body had put itself on the Atkins diet. No matter what I ate, my body was rejecting sugar and carbohydrates. As a result, my body was burning up fat as a means of energy.
As the doctor finished explaining my weight loss, I asked, “So why should we try to stop it? Why not let it continue burning fat?” My doctor replied, “Because when it finishes burning your fat, it will eat your organs.”
That got my attention.
Then, the doctor told me the words I didn’t want to hear: “Your life is about to change.”
My diet was about to change, my exercise regimen (or lack thereof) was about to change, and my perspective on life was about to change. Oh, and did I mention my medical bills were about to change too?
I can only imagine that my experience in the doctor’s office was a bit like the meeting that took place between God and the first couple (Adam and Eve) in Genesis 3.
Adam and Eve’s sin was motivated by a “too good to be true” sales pitch. Genesis 3:6 explains that Eve saw that the fruit was a “delight to the eyes” and that “the tree was “to be desired to make one wise.” Satan had promised something outside of God’s righteous law. Perhaps, between the moment of her biting the fruit and her offering of the fruit to Adam, Eve experienced the false sensation of “living the dream” -only the “dream,” as it turned out, was a nightmare.
Like the moment Jill helped me realize “something wasn’t quite right” with my health, Adam and Eve realized “something wasn’t quite right” soon after their sin. Genesis 3:7 points out that “the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.”
Next, they visited the Doctor’s office. More precisely, the Doctor made a house call.
In Genesis 3:8-19, God diagnosesd the first couples’ issue: sin. He told Eve that she would experience pain in child-bearing and Adam would have to labor through thorns and thistles as he worked the land. In other words, God said, “Your life is about to change.”
Fortunately, God offered hope to His patients who were now plagued with sin. In Genesis 3:15, known as the first-giving of the gospel, God promised that a “seed” of Eve (Jesus) would come and “bruise” (or in some versions, “crush”) Satan’s head.
Adam and Eve, in the very same visit, were both diagnosed with a fatal disease and also provided with hope for a cure.
Centuries later, Christ came on the scene. The effects of sin had been manifested greatly in the world’s population. Just as a diabetic’s condition gradually worsens, sinners had become more and more wretched –plagued with pain, hurt, grief, and anger. It is a diagnosis that no man can escape (Psalm 51:5, Romans 3:23). Sin is hereditary -and fatal.
Any attempts to heal man’s condition with man-made remedies fall short. No matter how many good works a person performs, he still has a heart contaminated with sin.
When I asked my doctor how I could be cured of diabetes, he replied (jokingly), “Get a new pancreas!” (The pancreas makes insulin for blood sugar regulation)
Similarly, Christ (the great physician) shared the long-awaited cure for sin –Get a new life. Jesus described this concept with the word-picture of being “born again” (John 3:3).
In John 3:16, Jesus shared that “new life” is given by God the Father through the Son. In other words, Christ performs “life transplants” –His life for your life.
The effects of sin and the wrath of God for our sin were absorbed by Christ on the cross so that “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36).
When we come to Christ by faith –receiving His new life- it’s as if Jesus says, “Your life is about to change.”
Even if I could receive a pancreas transplant and be cured of diabetes, it wouldn’t change the fact that my body will one day stop functioning and die. However, when I received a life transplant from Christ, I received eternal life that extends infinitely beyond the grave!
That’s better than receiving a new pancreas!
If you have never received the new life Christ offers, there is good news –Jesus makes house calls!
His Word diagnoses our condition as sinners (Romans 3:23). But the good news is that God offer a free gift of grace in which Christ redeems our old life for His new life taking our sin and shame upon Himself (Romans 3:24-25). In this way, Christ absorbs the punishment for our sin and at the same time grants us his righteousness. This happens by faith (Romans 3:25) in which we turn away from our sins and turn completely to Christ, trusting Him –and Him alone for new life. Whereas we once followed the desires of sin in our old life, we now follow our Lord in His new life.
Now that’s living “the dream!”