So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. (Romans 7:21)
In my last post I talked about the mirror and our willingness to look at it with honesty. Most of our recurrent problems and struggles come about because we do not want to look at the mirror and see what is there. Donna made an excellent point in the comments that sometimes we believe we’re looking at the mirror, when actually it is a portrait … highlighting our unwillingness to see ourselves for who we really are.
We may feel that it is easy to manage the mirror. We avert our eyes from that which we do not want to see. We can adjust the angle, the lighting, and the time spent in front of the mirror. We may even choose not to look at all. Truthfully, we are not managing the mirror, only our perception of it. The mirror tells the truth, we choose to tell ourselves something different. Our ability to look at the stark truth before our very eyes and deny the problems we see is truly amazing.
So how are you at managing your life? Do you have all of your urges and temptations under control? Have you mastered the challenges of your life and seldom, if ever, fall back into the same traps? Have you identified all the ways that the enemy attempts to deceive you, and turned away from them in your life? If so, good for you. I can’t make those claims yet.
I actually have to make a claim that I do not like to make. It makes me mad to say it. I want to deny it, but the evidence is so weighty that I would look like a fool if I suggested that I did not struggle. My life is unmanagable. Every time I think I have things under control, another bad habit breaks out. When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. When I look in the mirror and see the reality, I also know that objects in this mirror are closer than they appear. So much closer … actually … inside me.
I would hesitate to write such a thing about myself, but I am convinced that I am surrounded by people who struggle just as I do (with a variety of temptations that may differ from mine in substance). We want each other to think that we are overcomers who have accomplished our battles. I often hear tepid remarks such as “we all sin” or “everyone has their weaknesses”. Such admissions are good, but we leave the impression that our weaknesses are not really a big part of our lives. Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.
I do not believe that God leaves us in our weakness, but that the beginning of recovery is to admit that we cannot tackle this weakness on our own. I have talked with several people who’s weakness is drug abuse. Sometimes they speak of the drug abuse as being something in their past. When asked how long it has been since they got high, they sometimes say “two days ago”. Two days is a good start, but it hardly puts drug addiction in the past tense.
Recovery from your ‘drug of choice’ is a lifetime process and effort. You’ll never beat it on your own. Don’t you have a lifetime of evidence to prove that to yourself? Admitting that our life is out of control and unmanagable is only the beginning of recovery. But it is an essential part of the recovery proces. And it is one that we will revisit at each failure as we grow.
Take a good look at the objects in the mirror. They seem pretty intimidating, don’t they? There’s even a part of you that doesn’t want them to go away. They medicate the senses and they provide security and comfort. But they are liars and thieves, born of their father the devil. The sooner we admit we can’t beat them on our own, the better. More later.
HURRICANE RELIEF. The students from Wichita Christian School will be heading home soon. They left here after worship yesterday in order to enjoy some time at the beach in Pensacola before heading back to Texas. This is their Senior Trip … given in service to others. Amen. Tina Ly is here for a few days. This adventurous young lady is from Ontario. She flew down here alone to work and serve others. The 100 Homes in 100 Days project is still lively, we just aren’t hosting any volunteers at Central this week.
CENTRAL. We had a good day at Central yesterday with just over 100 in attendance. I preached from 1 Samuel about King Saul and some ways that he demonstrated (in the negative) the need to give our hearts to God. It is so sad that someone who had so much going for him never really could give God his heart. However, there are many people in the world this way. We had a good fellowship time at one of our elderly sister’s homes last night. Our new fellowship hall is coming around nicely. Maybe I’ll take some video and post it soon. We have new industrial stove and vent installed. The big new refrigerator will serve us well for many years to come. The cabinet tops aren’t here yet, but the cabinets are installed. It’s looking great! I can’t wait until it is finished. Our addictions class is winding down over the next few weeks and will be restarted. We will also add to our schedule a divorce recovery class, for those who are struggling with that painful situation. A parenting class will also be offered soon as well. Both of those classes will be taught by our elders and will be used to help both community and church members to see God’s will for their lives in these situations.
One of our members, Stella Prince, was featured in The Mississippi Press on Sunday. Her tireless work in feeding volunteers over the past several months is an inspiration.
Thanks for reading!