In elementary school, my best friend had a birthday party. Pretty common. Just your standard kids birthday party. Nothing extravagant, in fact I think there were only three of us that went. First you’ve got to understand my level of success with my childhood friendships, and you can obtain a clearer understanding of this in an earlier blog titled ‘Dirt.’ Basically, I was always struggling to fit in and would do anything for the acceptance of those around me.

One of the best illustrations of this devotion took place at this birthday party. At one point we all received Push Pops. If you’re not familiar with the classic candy of the day, it was a small hard plastic tube slightly larger than your index finger. Inside this tube was a large flavored candy stick. You simply remove the cap, insert your index finger into the base of this tube and lightly press upward, revealing the magnificent mysterious candy that had once lay hidden inside its tomb. Needless to say, this candy was quite the delectable delight.

My two friends, being the mischievous young boys that they were, wanted to see how far I would go to impress them. Not that I was being picked on, but I was certainly an easy target for them. So we took a stroll outside with our Push Pops and stood on a big mound of dirt. My friend’s house was still partly under construction so there was plenty of freshly dropped dirt all over the place, among many scrap pieces of wood, tool belts, and the anticipated dropped nail every step taken. As we stood there talking, I wanted to be accepted by them so much. My intent was to do whatever it took to gain this acceptance. I would do anything for them. All they needed to do was tell me to jam my Push Pop into the recently dumped dirt pile and digest the candy mixture, and before they could finish explaining the task, I was already stirring my Push Pop around in circles to get the most dirt-coating possible.

As I raised the Push Pop toward my mouth, I looked at each of them as if it were all in slow motion. Huge grins stretching across their faces, looking toward one another to make sure the other one wasn’t missing any of this. As they turned their faces back toward me, their laughter ignited and was my green light to stick the dirt-coated candy into my mouth. Let me tell you, it was not pretty. This thing was disgusting. Everything about it tasted horrible. The once Strawberry-flavored candy that was so beautiful in every aspect had been turned into something so dissatisfying that I could hardly contain myself. But I did it. As I looked at them enjoying every minute of it, I couldn’t believe they were just watching me do this for them. Of all the things I had ever done for my friends because they told me to do it, this one neared the top of the charts as being the worse. But I didn’t back down, I wouldn’t stop just because I didn’t like it. I held it in, and took it like a man because it’s what they wanted. I was doing this for them, in the end getting nothing out of it but an intimate encounter with the toilet bowl in the middle of the night, coughing up all that I stomached through for their satisfaction.

In the first book of bible, we are told that the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being (Genesis 2:7). In the bible, the word for ‘breath’ is the same word as the word for ‘spirit,’ and some pronounce God’s name as ‘Yahweh’ although the ancient rabbis believe that the name of God is so mysterious, sacred and holy that there is not even a word to name Him with. In fact, they believe that the letters of Yahweh, YHVH, function as vowels in the Hebrew language. They believe they were kind of breathing sounds and that ultimately the name is simply unpronounceable because the letters together are essentially the sound of breathing: Yod, Heh, Vav, Heh.(Rob Bell, 2006).
Is the name of God the sound of breathing? If so, then could it be that God has breathed some divine spirit into each of us when we are born. Every breathe we take is more than just the second nature of breathing, there is something that resides in us that cannot be taken away. There is this divine breath that is in every single human being. Ephesians 4:6 tells us that there is ‘One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.’
If there is something of God living inside each and every one of us, whether you are a Christian or not, is it safe to say that in someway, Christ resides within each of us?

What did Christ do by dying on the cross? He took our sins… he took the sins of the world on His shoulders so that we wouldn’t have to. Before Jesus came around, whenever people sinned against God, they had to make a sacrifice, as a way of repentance, seeking forgiveness. But then Jesus landed on the earth, and saw the sins we were committing, and knowing what the consequence for sin is [death], He followed His Father’s plan to pay the ultimate price and die on the cross. He knew what He needed to do, He knew what we were doing and what we would do, but looked past all our stupidity and selfish desires and said ‘You know what? I’m going to pay the penalty for your decisions and there is nothing that will stand in the way of that love for You.’

If we take this knowledge then, considering that Christ dwells within each of us beginning with a divine breathe being breathed into each and every one of us by Yod, Heh, Vav, Heh, and that Christ knows of the choices we will make and made the decision to take the consequential death onto Himself. Could we then, picture in our minds that as we sin, when we make the decision to sin, He is right there with us, in us, a part of us. And He isn’t going to stop us, He won’t stop us, He gives us this choice and all He says is, ‘no matter how sick or disgusting this thing is that you are doing to yourself, I am going to hold my tongue and take the pain for you. You are essentially making me do this same sin that you are doing right now therefore I am in fact facing the horrible results of what you are you doing to yourself… what you’re doing to me.

When we sin, are we really telling Christ to take that Push Pop, swirl it into the dirt and eat it? And does He do it? He knows He’d just be doing this disgusting act for our sake, for our amusement, but He’ll do it because He loves us so much that He’ll do anything for us… and this what we choose to do with His love? In the end, we get some real kicks out of the sin we put ourselves through, what we put Him through, and we walk away scotch free. Meanwhile, He’s hurling himself over the toilet seat the rest of the night, dealing with the aftermath of our decisions.

To the friends who decided I should eat that dirt-coated Push Pop… I forgive you.


Anonymous said...

ben... soo good... i love the knowledge in here, i long for that... makes me want more. awesome analogy

Anonymous said...

Reading this blog, it amazes me how much you just bare your soul for the world to read. It takes a lot to talk about the moments that have hurt us, and I really admire your ability to get so personal.

Great analogy, very powerful. Just more proof to me why you were THE best choice for Ministry Director at MYW last summer... will it be a spot you'll fill this summer?

Here's hoping.

Anonymous said...

I belive the word ´wisedom´ best describes the insight and thought you have put into your writing. Many of your other entries have reflected the same maturity and clarity; your words show a depth of understanding that other writers will envy. You express yourself in powerful ways, Ben. More importantly, however, you express God with a simple faith that seems to grow every time you write, even when your topics are a little random... Praying for you and your ´ministry´ here.
God bless. In major ways.