It was my last errand. I popped into my favorite grocery store for a few items. As I passed the meat counter, something caught my eye: bacon. In the spot where samples are normally offered were two paper holders with generous servings of bacon. All of a sudden, I was craving crispy fried bacon.
Each plate had two thick full-sized slices of bacon. I didn’t want to be selfish so I helped myself to just one slice. I have to admit I felt a twinge of guilt as if I was doing something wrong. These were not sample sizes, but I didn’t ask questions.
I walked away and ate faster as doubt filled my mind. What if these weren’t samples for the shoppers. My thoughts were interrupted by a store employee. I was so busted! I felt as if his eyes were searching for the telltale signs of a bacon-stealing shopper. With a smile, he asked if he could help me find anything.
The rest of the shopping trip was uneventful until check-out in the U-scan aisle when one item rang up incorrectly. I politely mentioned to the cashier that the item should have been on sale. The cashier checked it out and reported that it was an expired sale price. He then proceeded to ring it up for free. I objected and remarked, “I would be happy to pay the sale price. You don’t have to do that.” Even to my ears, it didn’t sound sincere. Who doesn’t want something for free? I watch our family budget and this was a clear windfall, even if it didn’t feel right to take advantage of a store policy over the fine print of an expired sale.
I learned some things about myself from that shopping trip. First, I have the tendency to be controlled by food and money. Second, a guilty conscience robs me of joy. I don’t want to blow this out of proportion. It was only one slice of bacon and a $3.99 item for free. There are certainly bigger issues in my life and in the world.
However, it was the trend, or rather my character-in-the-flesh that bothered me. I didn’t like how easily I was influenced by the things of this world. My mind had warned me to stop and ponder what I wanted to do. The flesh had other ideas and caused me to push aside any pangs of guilt. Once again, I am reminded that I need to be vigilant. Paul described the reality of the struggle in Romans 7:21-25a.
So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
We are to filter our daily decisions through the word of God with heaven’s perspective. I find that I can do the right things with the wrong motivations or the wrong things with the right motivations. My prayer is that my head, my heart, and my flesh will be aligned with God’s will. That’s when joy results! It is an ongoing process that oftentimes feels like work to transform my mind. Thanks be to God that He doesn’t give up on me or you because He wants us to know His joy!
In the meantime, I am avoiding bacon and reading the fine point!