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 us that we would find ourselves in a CONDITION which would “excuse” irritability and complaining. She suggested that, instead, we might catch ourselves and choose a kinder response, In Spite Of our condition.
In the twelve steps they talk about a tool called HALT, which stands for Hungry Angry Lonely and Tired.
These are conditions, or states of being, that can either be an excuse for falling into sin, (in AA that would be thinking “I just can’t help it I have to drink” or “This is just too much I didn’t count on this , if this hadn’t happened I could have made it but now I just have to have a drink”)
It is our responsibility not to wander the battlefield bumping into buried mines and ambushes but to watch for the places, people, triggers and conditions that we have used to excused sin in the past. Are you feeling bored, lonely, angry, tired, happy, excited, rejected, depressed etc.. Are you BLATHERED? (I like that better than just HALT). You can always spot an ambush, it’s when you are experiencing a temptation or stress and start thinking that you weren’t expecting this, this is too much!
Then 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.
Most of us would “prefer” to do things God’s way but 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 our brain tends to win and we wind up doing it the same old way. Then our brain starts searching for an “excuse” such as: “I was tired, bored, lonely etc.” We need to ask God to help us be people of principle and conviction, to be No Matter What! 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 you think that one usually should remain calm, kind, joyful, loving, patient, gentle, and godly :then you will often be tense, unkind, miserable, impatient, rough, and ungodly. If you commit to relying on the Holy Spirit to be these things through you 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 you will stand firm.
Dear Lord help me to stop finding exceptions in my weak moments because You say that when I am weak they You are strong for your strength is made perfect in my weakness.