Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Still biting

A quick thought for the day.  
I have had a bit of a rough day or so with the whole 'not biting my fingernails' thing.  Not a full relapse mind you, but I have definitely been biting.  Trips to the car dealership and other moments of uncertainty will do it to me every time.
Which is so true, I think of what happens to us in many ways when we are trying to avoid temptation or sin.  We are strong for a while and then there we find ourselves in a difficult time, we are stressed or around certain people and we - seemingly without even thinking about it - slip right back into our old patterns of living and being.  Those patterns that are supposed to be dead so that the new and transformed us can rise with Christ.  
But our lives are not so simple.  It is just the fact of life that there will be steps back (not to mention steps sideways, etc.)  just as we struggle to move forward.  
When we fail or relapse or give in to temptation there is a natural thought to dwell in that failure, to give up and give in saying that it (and we) are a lost cause.  
But our mistakes and even our sin and giving into temptation is not failure, not really.  The only real failure is to accept that as the end result of who we are and where we will be.  
Paul, you know the guy that wrote like half of the New Testament and brought the gospel to countless people, struggled with a 'thorn in the flesh' that he said was from Satan.  Nobody knows what that thorn was, some say it was a physical ailment, some a temptation, some say something else entirely.  But whatever it was, 2 Corinthians 12 says that Paul asked to have it taken from him 3 times and that it wasn't.
So what?  Well, I think for us there is peace and grace in Paul's response to the continued presence of this Thorn.  He didn't look at it as a failure of his or of a reflection of who and what he 'really' was.  Instead he says this, in verse 8: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
The point is that our 'failures' and imperfections - even our sins are not to be burdens of guilt and despair for us, but rather reminders that it is not on our own merits that we are granted entrance into the family of God, but rather through the grace, peace, love and ultimately sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  And that power is made perfect - and shines most brightly - in and through our weakness.  
***Disclaimer: this doesn't mean we are to sin more, but that is a post for another day - or just keep reading in 2 Corinthians.  
God Bless.

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