Why We Do The Things We Do
So here’s the question, “Why would anyone want to leave home (home meaning the safety and security of a right relationship with Father God)?” The very question implies that there might exist a rational set of circumstances or reasons (or even a single reason), that would move toward explaining the answer to it. I wonder…even if we could find a fully satisfying explanation for our sin, would it make a difference? How often I have heard Christians remark about another’s sin (or sins), how could they do that, in the face of all their privileges and against all they knew of the Lord’s will? And I wondered the same thing (even, if not out loud). Then I thought, “Well, why do I do the things I do that I know are against God?” There’s a huge list of the usual suspects…greed, selfishness, pleasure seeking, lust, impatience, pride, doubt, presumption, ignorance, apathy, stubbornness and etc. I sometimes think that sin is like “temporary spiritual insanity.” Only I don’t believe for a moment that we can cop this plea as an excuse. Paul aptly describes the horrible quicksand of sin in Romans 7 as he highlights how we seem inexorably drawn to sin, in spite of telling ourselves we won’t go there or do that…and how we seem never to arrive in time, place or spirit at the good we pledged. The more we intend to do the good and avoid the evil…the more we fail in both. I used to be overcome with fear as a boy when I watched those old Tarzan episodes and saw someone trapped in quicksand. The more they struggled the quicker they sank. They couldn’t get out. Over and over again my mind re-played the final scene of that single hand extended beyond the surface clinched in the final protest against death which, of course, had the last word.
As a young Christian I believed that Jesus’ death gave me a second chance at life (the first was when I was born)…that His sacrifice paid for all the sins of my past. But I also had the impression that after my baptism, it was like I was again on my own against sin. Now it was up to me to prove myself deserving of this second chance. And I fully intended to do just that. The devil must have been howling in laughter. Failure came fast, furious and often. My Christian life was mostly consumed by miserable failure and self-disgust with a few high and heavenly experiences scattered sparsely in between. I knew most of the don’ts…and I scrupulously avoided most of them. But some of them…I seemed powerless against. I fell to certain temptations so easily, without even a real struggle at all, that I began to wonder if I was at all serious about following Christ. Who was I kidding anyway? Not Him! Others? Yes. Myself? Sometimes! But I felt myself to be a phony.
Then…one glorious day…He spoke tenderly to my heart by means of His Word in the mouth of one of His caring servants who had walked the same path I was on. And I learned that He had always been loving me even though I had all these weaknesses. I learned that all along He had been keeping me protected by the blood of the Cross. I learned that even though I couldn’t figure out the “why” of my sins (which were many), He was still accepting me…keeping me forgiven…keeping me alive. I learned that I was not the only one caught in the terrible trap. I learned that when I sinned, Jesus didn’t run away and leave me…no…He actually ran to me, even closer, defending, protecting and helping me. And I learned that He would forever be doing this, if only I let Him…if only I wouldn’t quit on Him, no matter what.
Dear reader, I am a sinner, hounded by shame, guilt, regret, and failure. I am sickeningly weak even after all these years of knowing Him. I disappoint Him so regularly that I can only be embarrassed. Sins that I feel I should have long since conquered in His Name, still throw me to the ground too often and leave me feeling that I should stay there and wallow in the cold, dark mud of it all. BUT…I AM NOT QUITTING HIM! I refuse to add this sin to all the others of my life…the sin of leaving Him. And I like to believe…love to think…that this resolve for Him that He has built into me over the years…honors Him somehow. That hope, sometimes only a faint glimmer, keeps me going. How about you?