When I was a teenager, I went on a trip with a group of classmates in a bus. The trip was long and it was hot and the adult group leader was wise and warned me that I would find myself in a CONDITION which would “excuse” irritability and complaining. She suggested that, instead, I might catch myself and choose a kinder response:In Spite of my condition.
I can be sure that there will be expected or unexpected conditions,ambushes or states of being, that pop up. They can either be an excuse for falling into sin or a reason to run to God, his word or to godly people.
It is my responsibility not to wander around the battlefield bumping into buried mines and ambushes, complaining about the safety of the war zone. I need to watch for the places, people, triggers and conditions that I have used to excused sin in the past. If I find myself feeling bored, lonely, angry, tired, happy, excited, rejected, enraged, depressed etc.., in short, feeling BLATHERED? . I can always spot an ambush, it’s when I am experiencing a temptation or stress and start thinking that “I wasn’t expecting this, this is too much!”
Then I must run to Jesus.
Prov 27:12 A prudent man foreseeth evil and hideth himself but the simple pass on and are punished. Maybe Peter would have taken a different path if he had heeded the Lord’s warning that he would betray him and ask Jesus how to find grace to not do so rather than proudly protest that he never would. At the last supper the disciples said, “is it I?” They would have been better saying “surely it is I so how can I stand in the day of temptation?” Then they would not have all abandoned them, except for John.
The puzzle is that I would “prefer” to do things God’s way, so why don’t I? Because it is a preference not a conviction. In Romans 6 Paul says, “why do I do what I don’t want to and don’t get around to doing what I do want to? The frontal lobe can give lectures on what healthy responses would look like. It can give wise advice to others. Still, the habit part of my brain tends to win and I wind up doing it the same old way. Then my brain starts searching for an “excuse” such as: “I was tired, bored, lonely etc.” I need to ask God to help me be a person of principle and conviction, to be a No Matter What person of principle! If a man grows up thinking that he usually shouldn’t hit women, then the time will come when he does. If he grows up thinking that a man just never hits a woman no matter what, then he won’t. The difference is between a preference and a principle. If I think that one usually should remain calm, kind, joyful, loving, patient, gentle, and godly :then I will often be tense, unkind, miserable, impatient, rough, and ungodly. If I commit to relying on the Holy Spirit to be these gifts through me NO MATTER WHAT and NO MATTER WHEN with NO MATTER WHO at NO MATTER WHERE so help me God even if I have to die in the process. Then God will help me stand firm.
Dear Lord help me to stop finding exceptions in my weak moments. Help me make no provision for the flesh. Help me predict the ambushes and be a man of principle. Yes I am weak but You say that when I am weak they You are strong for your strength is made perfect in my weakness, So help me God!