What do Mentos, Diet Coke, and the Bible have in common? More than you may think.
As many people know, there’s a way to make Diet Coke explode by dropping Mentos into it. The science behind it is remarkable. Did you know you have to use mint Mentos? It does not work as well with fruity Mentos because they don’t have as much surface area (they’re smooth).
You can try the experiment sometime. Buy a Diet Coke and some Mentos and go outside, then just dump the Mentos in the Coke. But, of course, this isn’t a science blog—it’s a Christian theology blog, so my intention is to make a transition to a spiritual lesson here. Bear with me. 🙂
The experiment is set up this way: you get two packs of mint Mentos and a bottle of Diet Coke and another bottle of something non-carbonated, such as tea. Set the Coke on the ground (outside!) and drop the Mentos into the opening at the top. Step back and watch the pop explode into the air. Once that is finished, take the other bottle (your tea), and drop Mentos in again. This time nothing will happen.
Even though you dropped the same thing into the pop bottle, the necessary conditions inside the pop bottle are not present to cause the reaction.
Now, Let’s Spiritualize This
First, consider James 1:14-15
14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (ESV)
Now all analogies break down somewhere, so the point of this post isn’t that the Mentos experiment is a perfect picture of temptation and sin. But the point is this:
In the same way, mint Mentos brings about a different response in Diet Coke versus tea, the external temptations that come upon us are not the determining factor in whether or not we succumb to the temptation and sin. We cannot blame outside factors, or even others, when we sin—but rather, as James says, we are lured and enticed by our own desires.
Remember that the same types of external temptations we all face were experienced by the incarnate Lord Jesus, and He never gave in. George explains here.
Men will either sin or not sin—erupt with anger or remain in control—based on what is in them already, not what is introduced from the outside. It’s not your kid’s fault that you got angry; it’s not your wife’s fault you’re irritable; nor is it that scantily dressed woman’s fault that you lusted. You sin against our holy God because you want to sin—and the environment around you simply gives you an excuse.
Thus, every sin ought to be repented of specifically, and we should admit our fault without qualification.
What Hope Is There?
Psalm 19:12 Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
I encourage you to pray to the Lord of grace to help you with your hidden sin of the heart. Our God is merciful and good (Psalm 145:8-9). We shall not even know in this life the number of times He protected us from our own evil intentions by keeping us from temptation. But praise Him for this wonderful gift!
Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart;Try me and know my anxious thoughts;And see if there be any hurtful way in me,And lead me in the everlasting way.