Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Why do I lie to myself?

You know, you'd think by now I'd know myself pretty well. After all, I've known me for 50 years! I know my favorite foods, my favorite tv shows, even my favorite thing to do on a rainy day, (take a nap of course.) However, I still manage to lie to myself on a regular basis and actually believe me when I do!

I realized this about myself when I cleaned out the refrigerator this afternoon. I pulled out containers of things that vaguely resembled food and cartons of cottage cheese, (which I used to wonder how you'd know when cottage cheese "went bad" I know). As I reached farther back into the recesses of my fridge and reminisced on meals gone past, I realized I'd lied to myself again. How could I have been so foolish! You'd think I'd know by now that when I tell myself I'll save these leftovers and use them for lunches or as a fill-in for another meal, I'm telling a bald-faced lie. Those poor left overs are going to get pushed back until they can't be seen. When I finally do decide to check "what have we got to eat", they will have decided to give up their lives as food and join the forces of fuzzy, furry creatures everywhere! It's not pretty when you're confronted with a lie.

Actually, to be kind to myself, I don't mean to lie. I guess I just can't help myself...but at least I'm not alone. Paul said in Romans 7: 14 - 25 (Message translation) 14-16I can anticipate the response that is coming: "I know that all God's commands are spiritual, but I'm not. Isn't this also your experience?" Yes. I'm full of myself—after all, I've spent a long time in sin's prison. What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can't be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God's command is necessary.
17-20But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can't keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.
21-23It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.
24I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question?
25The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

That just about says it all. I obviously need help. Thank heavens God sent Jesus for a rebel like me. Now it's time to go and clean out the pantry and those sweet potatoes that are starting to sprout.

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