Monday, May 24, 2010

Why Do I Do That, Lord?

Romans 7:15 says "I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate." (NLT)

This seems to be my life theme verse lately. I have every intention of acting "right" in my daily interactions, thoughts and behaviors, and then before I know it, I've messed up again.

I have every intention of not being impatient with my children, but then I am. I have every intention of not getting irritated at little things, but then I do. I have every intention of not coveting someone else's item or success, but then those feelings bubble up. I have every intention of not arguing with my husband, or saying things that do not build him up, but then I do exactly that. I have every intention of not complaining about stuff, and then what do I do? Yep, I complain.

Why do I do that?

At times I just feel like a hopeless case; a glaring example of a girl who wants to always portray the character of Christ and make my outward life match my inward faith, but who routinely seems to fall short of God's glory.

I sure am glad that we are told in Romans 3:23 that we will ALL fall short of the glory of God, because we are all sinners. Even though this adventure of living out our faith can sometimes be a challenge, and maybe even seem impossible, I take comfort in knowing that we are all in this journey together. This journey of life that sometimes feels like a battle for righteousness that we are losing big time.

You may be familiar with the song by D.C. Talk called "In The Light" . The song begins this way:

I keep trying to find a life
On my own, apart from You
I am the king of excuses
I've got one for every selfish thing I do

The disease of self runs through my blood
It's a cancer fatal to my soul
Every attempt on my behalf has failed
To bring this sickness under control

I find it interesting how this song refers to our shortcomings as the "disease of self", and relates it to being a cancer of the soul. Just as we cannot cure real cancer on our own, we cannot cure the disease of self on our own either - it takes a mighty God to do a thorough healing.

I've always heard that people do not trip over boulders, instead they trip over pebbles. That is so true with respect to this whole mind and heart issue.

We usually stumble in our faith walk over all the little, monotonous, repetitive, routine, annoying, daily challenges that we tackle, interactions that we have with people, and situations that we face - not the huge boulders that are rarely thrown into our path.

But when we stumble, God is there to help us regain our footing, time and time again.

When I fall short of His glory, which is more often than I like to admit, God usually immediately speaks to my spirit - not with condemnation, but with conviction. He immediately causes us me to desire to ask for His forgiveness, and to apologize for my actions, even if I was not solely to blame.

You see, I have prayed countless times for God to allow me to see into the window of my own soul, so that I can see what areas are in great need of His healing. Now trust me, friend, that is a dangerous prayer to pray, because if we ask, we will receive. Because of God's answer to that prayer, it seems like the moment that I do or say something that I know is not pleasing to God, regrets fill my heart. I feel like the song, despising my own behavior, being frustrated with my own lack of self control, and irritated that I tripped over those same pebbles yet again.

But the benefit of that prayer is that I believe it is God's desire to not only help me become acutely aware of my own shortcomings, but to fill me with a compelling, desperate longing to look to Him for help to overcome them.

Another verse in this DC Talk song goes like this:
What's going on inside of me?
I despise my own behavior
This only serves to confirm my suspicions
That I'm still a man in need of a Savior

I never doubt for a split, microscopic, nano-second that I am in desperate need of a Savior. Oh sister, how well I know that. However there are those times when I catch myself walking apart from that Savior, and falling short of His glory, all the while making excuses why it was not really my fault.

We are all guilty of becoming focused on "self" and allowing that misguided focus to be fatal to our attempts to be the woman God called us to be. Each one of our attempts to "be good", become an open door for Satan to penetrate our mind with the disease of self, and once again, we may find ourselves looking up for forgiveness, redemption, and restoration.

Lastly, the chorus of that DC Talk song goes like this:

I wanna be in the Light
As You are in the Light
I wanna shine like the stars in the heavens
Oh, Lord be my Light and be my salvation
Cause all I want is to be in the Light
All I want is to be in the Light

I want that to be my prayer every day. To be in the light. To shine.

If we focus on our shortcomings, and beat ourselves up over our infinite failed attempts to be who we know God wants us to be, we will end up feeling condemned and hopeless. However, if we embrace the understanding that sin will occur, that we will mess up time and time again, but that God is there to help us pick up the pieces and start anew, allowing God to teach us through our mistakes, we will end up feeling renewed and restored.

Condemned and hopeless, vs renewed and restored. I know which one I choose.

If we desire to live in the Light, the Light will shine upon us, even when we fall. And in that Light, we can shine... shortcomings and all.

Why Do I Do That, Lord?SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


Tracey said...

You hit the nail on the head with this one. I have been there and done that too many times to count. I just started the Beth Moore "Breaking Free" womens bible study last night. I think God is trying to show me that I shouldn't get discouraged even though I messed up...again. That He will be my strength and I will learn no matter how many times He has to show me.

Greg Ferguson has a song called "I Stand, I Fall" and it talks about how patient God is with us and we try and try again until we learn. Similar to when a baby starts to walk. Eventually, step by step, I will learn.

Angie said...

This is soooo what I needed to hear today. And the verse from Romans, yes, I can relate.

The actions from my heart and the words from my mouth are habits that still need to be broken. And I have prayed that when my response comes from old habits and are wrong, that He would tug my heart. Make me aware so that I will deal with it or change it.

For years it was easy to tuck things back. I had a special little closet in my heart that was like an ice box. It is like whatever I put there just froze. It wouldn't stir to cause discomfort in my heart. Nor would it spoil and become smelly causing me to want to get rid of it.

This is a closet I asked God to close. So what happens now to those things that I use to tuck away? I have to deal with them. And this is something that has been hard for me. Some have been easy that causes me to thank God for giving me the strength to handle them. Others have been stabs to my heart that have brought me to my knees. A place I didn't think I could get up from but a place where He wanted me...on my knees.

I want to do right but it is hard sometimes. But I just keep telling myself "do." Do what I know is right. Do what He leads me to. Do what is uncomfortable and out of my comfort zone.

Renewed and restored!!!