red man

image courtesy of Google

I used to hate the taste of coffee… A vicious winter in Texas with an unusual snow while living outside wore that hate down a bit. It was a long twelve hour drive from my own shelter, albeit humble, it was home and I sorely missed it while struggling to sleep in the elements.

With a snow falling, ice forming and only a sleeping bag along with a portable cot, sent me and the other two guys I was working with to the public library for a time and finally to the shelter of a restaurant. We sat there for hours… I feel bad for the waitress in hindsight, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do…

As much as I disliked the taste of coffee, enough cream to cut the bitter taste and I was happy to warm myself with what I could barely afford, but the refills were free… That started a habit I still practice today… Everyday…

This wad of Red Man chewing tobacco I have in my mouth as I pen this post reminds me of another habit… I sure enjoy the taste of spicy tobacco. It’s been about three months since my last chew and after I finish this pouch it will be probably be another three months till I partake again. I know it’s a bad habit, but aren’t most habits?

I remember being down in a trench that we were digging in Oregon, leaning against the wall of the ditch, head spinning dizzy, spitting with urgency and disgust the chewing tobacco out of my mouth… then I barfed… Not sure how I got from there to here, but that’s not the point I guess.

I know tobacco is a very hot issue in the modern church and while I’ll be the first to admit it’s a bad habit, even if only partaken occasionally, I’m pretty certain it won’t keep St. Peter from letting me through the pearly gates.

Before anyone condemns me to eternal torment, I want to consider habits, their effects and origin. Some habits we come by honestly, like the coffee, but I think most of the bad habits we come by less than honorably. That free will is a double-edged sword to be sure.

While none of us will have to be put in a position to fail like Adam and Eve did, all of us are given like choices and all of us are prone to develop bad habits in our fallen nature. Even the good things, including gifts from God, can be used to lead our weak flesh down the wrong path.

I’m not trying to give myself a pass, I’m guilty as charged, but what about the people that use the gift of voice to gossip? How many of us can say we haven’t over indulged on dinner or dessert? I don’t always fall into that category, but sometimes I do… Kinda like a do this plug of chew.

What about the habits we can’t see? How many of us have helped as many people in need as we could have or were called to but didn’t? I wonder how many reading this have ever broken the speed limit? I fall into all the categories mentioned, not all the time… just occasionally. Like this wad of tobacco leaves in my mouth.

My guess is that all of us are weak and flawed. Sure some of us more than others, but does that mean our hearts don’t know truth? Hardly… I think it means, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak…”

What say you?