True confession number one: I drink an inordinate amount of coffee daily. It stains my teeth. It’s acidic. It’s mood altering and addictive (uh, doesn’t that make it a drug?). Coffee has been shown to inhibit DNA repair and slow the ability of the liver to detoxify foreign toxins. It intensifies my restless leg syndrome. And it costs about $30 per gallon. Nonetheless, you’ll have to pry my coffee mug away from my cold, dead fingers to get me to stop.
True confession number two: I don’t exercise enough, and I’m at least twenty pounds overweight and growing. I know I feel better, sleep better and maybe even look better when I work out on a regular basis, so perhaps I’ll start tomorrow (probably not). I do have a health club membership, but I’m a stranger to that place. Talk about wasting money. Sigh.
True confession number three: Occasionally, I don’t love people very well. People tend to get their knickers in a knot over the silliest things. (BTW, I have no idea what knickers are.) People are loyal and faithful and your friend until you do or say something that ticks them off. Then whatever relational equity you had disappears pretty quickly. People are sometimes self-centered, narcissistic, vain and mean. Think I’m exaggerating? Try cutting in line at the grocery store next week or cut someone off on the freeway and let me know how that works for you. For the record, I include myself in the “people” category which sometimes means I don’t love me either.
My point in these public confessions is simple: Often we know the right things to do or the wrong things to avoid, but we blow it anyway.
Why is that?
Why is it that we are prone to wander?
Why is it that every human on the planet shares this reality, all have sinned, and no one is perfect?
Maybe the Apostle Paul understood this battle better than most when he wrote:
Romans 7:15, 18-19, 21 (The Voice)
15 Listen, I can’t explain my actions. Here’s why: I am not able to do the things I want; and at the same time, I do the things I despise.
18 I know that in me, that is, in my fallen human nature, there is nothing good. I can will myself to do something good, but that does not help me carry it out. 19 I can determine that I am going to do good, but I don’t do it; instead, I end up living out the evil that I decided not to do.
21 Here’s an important principle I’ve discovered: regardless of my desire to do the right thing, it is clear that evil is never far away.
So does that mean we just give up, hit the moral snooze button and resign ourselves to unending idiocy?
Here’s what Paul wrote at the end of that chapter:
Romans 7:24-25 (The Voice)
24 I am absolutely miserable! Is there anyone who can free me from this body where sin and death reign so supremely?
(Insert answer here!)
25 I am thankful to God for the freedom that comes through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!
In other words, though you and I are broken and flawed by our human nature, we can find hope and freedom in Christ. Though we are imperfect and will remain so on this side of eternity, we are perfectly imperfect because Jesus is changing us from the inside out. He is constantly helping us to become who we truly are in Him.
So rather than despair over your sin, keep your eyes on the One who understands and died to pay the price for your failures.
Rather than give up in despondency after you fail (again), just keep running to His throne of grace and mercy to find the help you need to change.
Rather than writing that person off after they let you down for the thousandth time, remember the One who promised you new mercies every morning and cut them some slack.
I will get into shape. I will love the unlovely. I will because He wills it, and He’s never going to give up on me.
As for coffee, keep praying for me.
I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you,
will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you
until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King,
returns to redeem the world.
Philippians 1:6 (The Voice)