When I was a kid, there was probably nothing I loved more than hitting up the Colonel’s Buffet at Kentucky Fried Chicken.
This wonder of the world featured fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and an endless amount of gravy you could put anywhere, and more often, everywhere.
It never failed, however, that for every ounce of excitement I walked into the restaurant with, I walked out with an equal amount of regret. In fact, I was typically far more full of regret, and mashed potato and gravy biscuit sandwiches — don’t knock until you try it — than I ever was full of pre-buffet excitement.
I had a similar experience at a Pizza Hut in Kentucky once. I’ll spare you the details, but that one meal caused my digestive system to take the rest of the week off.
Overindulgence is a nasty thing like that.
It’s not just food either. Drink, sex, money, and possessions make up the short list of life’s joys than can turn against us when taken too far.
These are all things I have to constantly be on my guard against, and maybe you do too.
I think that’s why God has given us so many laws and guidelines for the way we should handle each of them. It’s not to limit our joy of appropriately indulging in them, it’s to limit our regret from overindulging in them. It’s to keep us from ruining them.
But today I realized that while this is the case with life’s good joys, it’s far from the case with life’s best joys.
Today I was reading about the fruit of the spirit as listed in the fifth chapter of Galatians.
I’ve probably read this passage no fewer than 500 times thanks to it’s easy adaptation to almost any level of youth ministry activities, but today something stood out to me that I’d never really thought of before.
After the fruit are listed, the Bible says, “against such things, there is no law.”
There’s no law, no guidelines, and no limitations on how much love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control we can get down on.
The fruit buffet is wide open and completely free of any resulting bloated feelings of regret.
The sad thing is, much like the actual fruit on the Colonel’s Buffet, I rarely find myself filling up these joys and instead packing away life’s more cautionary joys in an unhealthy manner.
Over the years I’ve generally learned my lesson when it comes to actual buffets — hit up the greens and veggies, put down some lean meats, and avoid any sort of hot-pan casserole at all costs.
Hopefully I’ll soon just as fully embrace that even more important lesson when it comes to life’s buffet of joys.
Hopefully I’ll soon learn the real joy comes from overindulging on the best stuff, rather than the good stuff.