The Mustard Trap
Ephesians 2:1 “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.” Vs. 3 “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts.” NIV11
My husband and I recently became guardians of Bengali high school siblings who, prior to living with us, had never left their country. Our cultural confusion has been nothing short of comical with new hurdles every day. One of our greatest hurdles has been food. Since a steady diet of curry (with its smell) is not an option in the Cochrane household, our mission has been to Americanize their taste buds a bit. Having never really eaten processed foods in Bangladesh, our American food-tastes were foreign to them. (Disclaimer: I really do cook from scratch most nights but admit to the occasional frozen chicken nuggets and boxed mac-n-cheese dinners for the sake of survival!)
Since nutrition labels are rare in Bangladesh, our students find them intriguing. Recently, our discussion over the nutrition of mustard turned humorous. Prince (our Bengali young man) asked, “Why would anyone eat mustard? It has no food value.” Half believing him, I reached for the mustard to check it out. And, guess what value mustard is to our daily food intake? Basically ZERO! Mustard has ZERO calories, ZERO percent fat, ZERO percent carbs, ZERO percent sugar, ZERO percent protein, and only three percent sodium. So, in the event of an apocalypse, if mustard were the only food available, you would be out of luck because mustard contains nothing to sustain life. (Mental note to self: Mustard should, however, be on all future diet plans!)
So, why use mustard at all? Because it tastes good!
In our theme verses, Paul indicates that before turning to Christ, the Ephesians fell under the Mustard Trap, so to speak. Remember, a singular diet of mustard has no value to sustain physical life, but we like it. Similarly, the Ephesians’ diet of sin had no value for sustaining a life in Christ, but it was gratifying. Evidently, they enjoyed sin so immensely, they were once dead in their consumption of it. Sounds appalling, right? But, today, can’t sin appeal to us in the same way? That is why Paul’s warning is so important. As children of God, we must seek a life that is healthy in Christ.
So, if feasting on sin leads to death, our spiritual diet should crave the Galatians 5 nutrient rich Fruits of the Spirit. Feasting on this list offers a healthy life in Christ: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Now, you may find some of these fruits harder to swallow than others. For me, patience is a difficult chew! But, let’s face it, healthy diets are difficult, having the life expectancy of the first Dunkin Donuts commercial! And, diets require incredible discipline, meaning we must choose between what we want NOW and what we want MOST.
Gratefully, Paul, in Ephesians, offers us encouragement and a reminder of what we want most. As children of God, we seek a healthy life in Christ - one that is full of love, forgiveness, and the grace of a loving Father.
Lord, may we never lose our taste for an abundant life in your love. May we ever feast on the fruits of your Spirit. Help us keep our eyes on what we want most: your love, your grace, and an eternity with you.
Blessings for a Fruitful Week,