What This Homeless Man Did Showed Me How Much I Love Porn More Than Jesus

“When we accept that He has pleasures stored up for us beyond our wildest dreams, we will no longer want to return to those old habits we’ve been trying so hard to kill.”

I sometimes work at Chicago’s #1-doughnut-shop-four-years-running. And eat far more doughnuts than any human should.

And sometimes, I close the doughnut shop, which includes one of my favorite parts of working there (aside from…did I mention free doughnuts?). The location has a little window which opens to the sidewalk, where there is a constant stream of pedestrians. In the last 15 minutes or so of business every day, I start boxing up the doughnuts in four and six packs so I can give them away.

There are few things I love more than popping open the window and leaning out to yell “FREE DOUGHNUTS!” to people as they pass by.

“Wait…they’re really free?” is the most common response.

I shove the box into their hand and their day is instantly made. Their face brightens and I can tell they are bursting to tear that box open and dig in.

Last week, I was closing up shop and slid the window open to see a man digging through the trash can a few yards from me. Without hesitation, I held up the big box of Chicago’s favorite doughnuts and said, “Hey man, I’ve got some fresh doughnuts for ya!”

He looked at me, shook his head, and tossed out a limp ‘nah.’  Then went back to picking through the garbage.

I was blown away.

Who, when offered the best doughnuts in the city, turns them down in favor of rummaging through a public trash can??

Not a minute later I realized I had just witnessed the gospel. I saw myself in the trash man.

I would be remiss not to mention C.S. Lewis’ famous quote here:

It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

I realized that I am constantly trying to find my own path to pleasure. I am always trying to satisfy myself, be it with pornography, girls, money, et cetera.

The reason we can’t simply sit and let the Lord satisfy us is that we don’t trust Him. We don’t think He’ll really come through for us; therefore, we feel this need to provide our own satisfaction…which never really works, does it?

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I think part of the problem is this: Whenever I have messed up in the past, with pornography for example, I immediately begin to pile the shame and guilt upon myself.

However, I don’t think Jesus is standing there wagging a finger at me the way a master stands over her dog after he pooped on the rug again. In fact, I don’t think He even wants us to feel bad about screwing up again and again and again and again.

But I do think He is sad for us.

Instead of condemning us, I think Jesus is a few yards away hanging out a window offering us free doughnuts while we dig through the trash.

He has so much more to give us, so He stands there and watches us dig through the garbage, hoping to find something of worth. Maybe this year I’ll find that job that will really set my life up right…Or maybe next week I’ll garner the courage to talk to that cute girl at the coffee shop. Then…THEN I’ll feel whole!

He wants so badly for us to see Him, and what He is offering us. Jesus addressed this Himself in John 6:35-36:

Jesus answered, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never hunger, and whoever believes in Me will never thirst. But as I told you, you have seen Me and still you do not believe.”

We keep hearing Him calling to us and return to sticking out noses in the trashcans. We can’t imagine that Jesus could possibly have something better for us than what we could scrounge up for ourselves.

Jesus doesn’t want you to quit looking at porn.

…or whatever your habit of choice is.

He doesn’t want you to simply resist this one urge so much that you are beating yourself up. He wants us to realize that the pleasures He is offering us make everything we could find for ourselves look like trash.

When we accept that He has pleasures stored up for us beyond our wildest dreams, we will no longer want to return to those old habits we’ve been trying so hard to kill. They’ll simply fall away like powerless dead leaves.

They’ll start tasting like garbage.

Ethan Renoe
Ethan is a speaker, writer, and photographer currently living in Los Angeles. He has lived on 6 continents, gone to 6 schools, had 28 jobs, and done 4 one-armed pull-ups. He recently graduated from Moody Bible Institute. Follow him on Facebook here at ethanrenoe.com.

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