The Third Slice Blues
I have a pizza problem.
Whenever I’m in the same room with pizza, I constantly think about it. If I visit your house and you have pizza, I’m going to ask for a slice.
My obsession with pizza began in the old Raleigh Springs Mall in Memphis. Milano’s, which serves New York style pizza, sat near one of the anchor stores. We called it “mall pizza.”
Eating one slice was not an option. A mall trip meant at least two slices, maybe three.
The closest Milano’s to Jackson is in Somerville. Donna and I claim that traveling Highway 64 is more relaxing than I-40 when returning to Jackson from my parent’s home in Fayette County. I think, deep down, it’s because I know I can turn into Milano’s if I want.
I’m not limited to New York style pizza. Papa John’s runs a close second; but I’ll slum for just about any combination of dough, sauce, and cheese.
I can even remember certain pizzas that I’ve eaten. I’ve blogged in the past about my love for the original Planet of the Apes (https://johnenoch.com/2011/12/30/hey-hey-were-the-monkeys/) The movie made a big impression. The large cheese pizza from Dominos was just as good.
If I was down to one bagel bite, and had to choose between eating it or feeding my family, I’m not sure Donna and the girls would do so well.
The inspiration for this blog began after a long day of driving. Everyone was tired, so we ordered pizza. I planned to eat two slices.
This strategy has succeeded in the past.
I crashed and burned.
The third slice determines everything. Two slices, for me, cure my hunger and don’t leave a too full feeling. By the third slice, I’m completely full. So, why not keep going? I’ve already had too much. Why not just enjoy eating? Three slices become four and four becomes…
My pizza issue isn’t exactly an earth shattering problem.
But, truthfully, we all do struggle with certain temptations.
Have you noticed that Christians sin?
Even though we have been forgiven and the Holy Spirit lives within us, we are not yet perfect.
The Bible likes to list sins. For instance, Proverbs 6:16-19 says, “16 There are six things which the Lord hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: 17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, 19 A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers (NASB).”
We aren’t limited to these seven sins. While some wouldn’t even think about being envious, others constantly look towards greener grass. One person never struggles with addiction, while another is pulled towards drugs, alcohol, or pornography. You may easily walk away from gossip, but your friend may think they have to know.
In Romans 7:14–25, Paul wrote, “14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. 16 But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. 17 So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. 19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. 21 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. 22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin (NASB).”
Paul reminds us that sin still exists in the life of Christian. However, in the very next verse, Romans 8:1, he wrote, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (NASB).”
Christians will continue to struggle with sin. We must remember, though, that our sins have been forgiven. We will not suffer God’s wrath for a sinful life. Jesus took that wrath for us on Calvary.
What we do need to understand is that our lives are to be a reflection of Christ in us. When we choose to sin, we live as if our new life in Christ makes no difference in how we think or act.
Your severest temptation can be overcome. Being born again means that you are not the same person you were before salvation. Your spirit has been made alive by the Holy Spirit.
Will you continue to sin?
Do you have to sin when tempted?
That third slice isn’t necessary.