"Hating" and "Occupying the Land"

He’s right, you know.  Having kicked a meth habit, he sat in my office and politely recoiled at my words of congratulations for his strength of will to overcome the highly addictive drug.  “People say that – but really it’s that you have to hate what you are doing so much that you say, that’s it.  I’m done.”  


‘Hate’, hmm, I have to admit, I hadn’t thought of that motivation.  But he’s right.


I got up and actually ran around the block today.  And, although I had a delicious Thanksgiving dinner last night, I didn’t gorge.  The reason?  I hate the way I feel being “out of shape,” having packed on a few extra pounds over the last few months.  


When my child was young and she would use the word “hate” I would say, “hate is a strong word – use the word ‘dislike.'”  But sometimes a genuine change in ourselves has to come about through a hate of the choices we have made and a real grieving over not doing that which we know to do.  James, the brother of Jesus, told us if we know the right thing to do, and don’t do it, then it is sin. 


We tend to relate easily to the physical realm – things like the effects of abusing our bodies with destructive substances or even overeating or a lack of exercise or sleep.  But that which is true in the physical realm also has application in the spiritual realm.


The choices we make everyday – whether to not to pick up our Bible and read what God would say to us, or whether or not we seriously make a focused effort to pray have an effect on our souls – just as real as the choices we make for our minds or our bodies.


In Deuteronomy 32:47 we read, “These instructions are not empty words – they are your life!  Be obeying them you will enjoy a long life in the land you will occupy when you cross the Jordan River.”  At this point in history God was speaking to the children of Israel before they crossed over into the promised land. But the principle of what He said is just as true today.  If we do what the Bible tells us to do, we will have a full and meaningful life full of purpose and meaning.  Do notice that I did not say an easy life – but a very good life.  


So, sometimes hate can be good – good in the sense that hating to do the wrong thing – whether it affects my body, mind or soul – can propel me to do that which is right and good and all the great experiences that come along with those life-giving choices.  And ultimately those choices affect all those around me for whom I care deeply.  

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