That is the question! I was thinking today about how hard I try to keep myself disciplined. I will diet and exercise, take my vitamins and feel really good, then something happens, I sabotage myself, and then I feel so bad, get in a slump, and feel that I have totally let myself down. I apologize to God for not being a good steward of the Temple that He gave me, and then I start all over again.
I talk to a lot of people and it does seem that we all have the “sabotage” problem, in one way or another. Some swear they will give up (here you name it), or never do (your choice) again. They are going to start going to church faithfully and pray everyday and read the Bible, then before you know it, you don’t see them for months and it is because they fractured their routine in some minor way and it gave them the excuse needed to just give up, all over again! After giving it some thought as I was walking up the stairs with my very sore legs, I remembered that someone we all feel was very special to God, as he wrote most of the New Testament, had the very same problem!
Romans 7:14-20 I 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. But 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.”
Now, my dear reader, if the Apostle Paul had this problem, then who do we think we are that we have to utterly fail when we break the smallest, or biggest, law of God. What is better, to get up and start over, or give up altogether and lose all the ground you have gained spiritually? With a diet, you can go off of it altogether, next thing you know Richard Simmons will be at your house crying and calling the Fire Department to come and cut you out of the wall because you’re too big to fit through the door, or you can diet and put your sneakers back on to run, jog, treadmill, spin, what ever your choice of exercise is!
We see from this letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul was not discouraged, but was finishing his race in a wonderful way! 2 Timothy 4:6-8 “You take over. I’m about to die, my life an offering on God’s altar. This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that’s left now is the shouting—God’s applause! Depend on it; he’s an honest judge. He’ll do right not only by me, but also by everyone eager for his coming.”
We won’t compare ourselves to the Apostle Paul, but it does help to see that some of our fore fathers in the faith had the same struggles that we do! It should encourage you to pick up “the rags of your life, and lay them at the Cross”, allowing God to “make something beautiful out of your life!”
Now go find your sneakers!