Acorns From Oakes

Seeing With Our Father's Eyes

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?

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7 thoughts on “Why We Do The Things We Do

  1. Gail on said:

    Yes Doug I hope we all have the glimmer you talk about. I hope we shine bright to God for trying to escape the Evil One in this World. And because we claim Jesus as our Savior I know we do Shine Bright because God looks at Jesus and he sees us. Ain’t that a Thought?!! Isn’t that just Like Jesus to do that for us? Wow! What a thought…when we know we are not at our best at times, a lot of times. But Jesus Blood covers us. I need to be reminded of that Often.

    God wants us to become more disciplined in our Life and it is hard. But it was soooooo hard for Jesus to do the things God asked him and he did it because he knew there was a Great Father in Heaven waiting for him to come back to Him. I am talking to myself in some things I do better than other things in my life (but not all things). But I will keep trying and I do want to be with Jesus and God in Heaven some day. I want to be with things I love (my pets, I hope that will happen) and with People we knew and Loved So Much here on this earth…like my Brother Adrian, Sister Tammy, Bud Fisher, Marie Sparks, Clara Brooks, Bro Martin, Juanita Carroll, Bro Lowery and Polly, etc, etc, etc.

    • oakesclan on said:

      It is high privilege to get to view everything through our Father’s eyes. But that’s exactly what faith does for us. Paul said that from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view (2 Cor.5:16) or as The Message puts it, “we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look.” And not only do we refuse to evaluate other people in the ordinary worldly way, but, by faith, we won’t do that to ourselves either. But I think that last point is more difficult for us to reach. We are so keenly aware of our foibles. Often we are much more able to give others a break than we are ourselves.
      So…yes, Gail, that is an amazing thought…that when our Father looks at us He sees Jesus and vice versa. We will praise Him as long as there is breath in our lungs…and then for eternity.

  2. When I was young we took a trip to Six Flags. I talked my parents into letting me get a Six Flags sweatshirt even though they were pretty expensive. I was wearing the new sweatshirt the day my friend and I went walking around the fields of our neighborhood. We stumbled across a puddle of oil. My friend through a rock into the puddle and it sprayed oil all over my new sweatshirt.

    I snuck home and tried the best I could to clean it up. I found bleach by the washing machine and tried to use that … of course my navy sweatshirt was soon ruined.

    I still remember my mom crying asking me why I didn’t just bring the shirt to her. She said she probably could have fixed it, but because I was trying to hide the mess … I ruined it.

    I remember it like it was yesterday. I was so embarrassed and sorry.

    I still made similar mistakes throughout my life … always believing this time I would fix the mistake myself … even though my track record clearly showed it would most likely end in ruin.

    I exhibit this same behavior with God. But … I always end up taking it to Him eventually. And He is able to take my ruins and rebuild things the way He intended. I pray that I never ever stop taking it to Him. I hope that it becomes a quicker decision so that I don’t cause as much damage as I did before, but I never want to stop making the decision.

    Like you, I don’t want to add “quitting Him” to my long list of mistakes.

    • oakesclan on said:

      The story you shared…the bad feelings it evokes in you to this day…reminds me of the scripture that speaks of the deceitful nature of sin (please, I am not at all referring to your childlike attempts to clean your shirt as sin). Sin has this way of presenting itself to us as almost innocent. Who’s it going to hurt? Who will ever know? What’s it going to cost really?
      I still want to go “fetal” (thumb in mouth, curled up…the works) whenever I recall certain shameful times in my life (so many of them) when I selfishly went after something wicked…and worst of all, when I deceived myself into offering a “spiritual” reason/excuse for my selfishness. I wouldn’t be denied. I shoved God out of my consciousness, along with all reason and discipline and everything grace had put within me that called me to better and higher…and down I spiraled until I hit bottom. And having been a “preacherboy” and then a preacher student and finally a “real” preacher during the course of my life, who could I go to for help? How could I face them with the truth of my sinfulness without destroying their confidence in me and the role I tried to fill as preacher?
      But those feelings! Those shameful feelings! The fear! The sense of having betrayed my God and my trust! All of that (and more) can suddenly wash over me like a cold, dark wave out of the night whenever I remember. And I can’t stop the remembering. But I can remember that God, by grace, doesn’t remember. He views me and treats me as forgiven and free. It’s all that keeps me going. And it’s more than enough to keep me trying.
      I pledge today, again, with you and with all who call on His Name, to never ever quit. And should He give us tomorrow…guess what? The pledge is on! God bless you, sis!

  3. Email Girl on said:

    Why I do the things I do is a question I ask myself daily…no, several times a day. I struggle to give myself an honest answer to the question. I ask myself things like “why do I stay in a relationship that is know is bad?” or “why do I let other people walk all over me?” or “why did I let myself do ________?”. I could fill that blank with about a thousand things I’m not proud of. I could answer all my questions with this one thing… “because I will not give up trying to run my life and let God take over.” It’s a pretty simple answer, but equally hard to change.

    • oakesclan on said:

      When we feel like we are drowning in a sea of perplexity…when our struggles have us splashing all around ourselves in an attempt (which feels vain) to find something solid that will support us so we can lift ourselves out of danger and when we are so weary of that struggle, we don’t have the leisure to think about what our struggling says. And we can certainly come to the point where all we want is rest…hang the cost…we just can’t keep up the effort.
      In my opinion (stress on “my opinion”) the voice you are hearing in these repeated questionings is blended with that of your Father God. Ask yourself this question…”What do I fear about letting God take over?” Think about that one for a while. Are you afraid that even God will let you down and that, if He does, where could you go then? That would be a paralyzing thought for sure. But…beloved daughter of God…He will not…even promises that He won’t…in fact He cannot let you down, for He cannot deny Himself, so He won’t deny you. I hope you are able to believe that. I pray you will believe that down deep. Then ask yourself, “What is the outcome likely to be if I keep going as I have? You are right, as one very good friend of ours says, the answer is simple, but it is not easy! I don’t think it was very easy for the younger son to begin the journey back to his father’s house. Not only were there miles in between…but there were mountains of shame, of evil, of regret, of pride, of selfishness and of terrible need. How would he ever get there? All I know is, one day, in the middle of a pig pen, he took his first step homeward. This resulted in a glad Father running to meet him. I once read of a king whose son had gone astray and was living far away from home. After a long time of separation…the broken hearted king sent word for his son to come home. The messenger returned with this word from the son. “I am unable to make it the whole distance.” To which his kingly father replied, “Come as far as you can. I will come the rest of the way.”
      I love that…because I truly believe it reflects the heart of our Father God Who is just waiting…waiting and wanting to run to you and do all the things for you that you could never do for yourself.
      I am praying for you.

  4. Gail on said:

    E-Mail Girl – backing up to the last blog – you commented that you did not feel like you could talk to God because (I think you said something like you did not feel good enough to draw close to him). You know when I was out of real fellowship w/God because of a sin streak in me for some no good reason (probably temporary insantity-like Doug said), I still could not leave God out. I did not understand why he was not answering my prayers for some things I thought I wanted so badly. I am not saying you are leaving God out totally but that is what God wants is some of us worse sinners need to be around him, talk to him and asking for his help in figuring things out in our lives. He does know our hearts but E-mail girl he really, really wants us to talk to him no matter how sinful we are. He just wants that relationship where you talk, sometimes he sends things on days to remind us of his love and care for us. Have you ever experienced something happening or said in a sermon lesson that was so fitting for you to know that day. Something to help you out that seemed so ironic.
    That is God trying to let us know he is near and trying to love and help us.

    So even if you talk to God just for a simiple minute he does hear you and I find myself in the house or out in the yard remembering something just is so natural of a way to talk to God about. Just a continual open avenue to talk to our God anytime and I know he does hear us.

    Know he Loves you enough that he wants you to talk to him very much no matter what.

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