Almost every Tuesday I have the privilege of having lunch with an extraordinary bunch of guys. They are good friends, and Godly friends–a winning combination, to say the least. They are a huge encouragement to me during the week, and I laugh more with them than I ever did watching an episode of Seinfeld. They truly demonstrate to me the Biblical principle of iron sharpening iron (Proverbs 27:17), in more ways than one. Our weekly haunt is a Thai place–nothing fancy, but a quaint little place filled with regulars.
Of all the entertaining things they do, few amuse me more than the macho posturing two of them do over how hot they like their Thai food. Now, I don’t know if you know anything at all about Thai food, but it basically comes in one of three spices: 1. Spicy 2. Really spicy 3. Call 911.
This particular establishment breaks their heat into 10 levels. At least, that’s what they say. I have ordered a “2”–only a “1” is lower on their heat index–and felt my lips spontaneously ignite. Two of my friends, however, constantly go back and forth over whether their food is really that hot or not. The running joke is that they no longer order a “10”, they ask for a “15”. The other lunch attendee, who like myself likes a little heat and not a lot of punishment, usually takes the sidelines and just watches the fun. Recently, however, when we were eating out after church, this friend and I were at another eatery that features any number of hot sauces. He decided to add a little Brother Bru-Bru’s Hot Sauce to his sandwich. I believe he realized his mistake at the time, but it wasn’t until some hours later that the true consequences of his actions came back to haunt him.
As Christians, we like to think of ourselves as willing to be on the front lines, ready to charge hell with a water pistol, and that’s a good thing. We should be prepared to follow where ever our Savior leads. But we also need to realize that there is a price to pay for being on the leading edge of the battle. There is a attraction to the idea of being the heroic warrior, facing overwhelming odds and yet over coming–until the time comes that we are the ones facing those odds. We want the glory, but not the struggle.
We want to get the taste, but we don’t want the burn.
My friends with the tongues of steel have developed the capacity to enjoy the flavor as they endure the burn. As Christians, we have the same goal before us, don’t we? The Christian life is one of difficulty, trials, and overwhelming odds. And yet, in order to truly experience the abundant life Jesus has for us (John 10:10), we need to be willing to take the burn with the flavor.
It’s an aquired taste, but its more than worth it.