For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. ~Romans 7:15-20 NKJV
Talk about a recipe for disaster, eh? The Apostle Paul describes here to us that even he has problems staying on the straight and narrow road to God’s righteousness. And he was an Apostle, though some may differ in their opinion on that. This just goes to show us, layman or common men of God, that we are susceptible to sinfulness and sinful thoughts. We are men, we exist, therefore we think. There was sometime ago I posted that the average man thinks approximately 70,000 thoughts per day; however, based upon further searching that is a bit high…it is more like 20,000 thoughts. In either case, we are constant thinking creatures, as well as deletion creatures. We delete many of these thoughts because of what we tend to focus on at any given time.
Since this topic is the sinful nature of man:
“…the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth…” ~Genesis 8:21 NKJV
When we sin, many, not all men, will tend to dwell upon what they have done. The old adage that we are our own worst critic, is quite true in this respect. We will, those of us that think on our actions and sin, will dwell upon them and mull over them for what seems to be an eternity. So much so that we will whip ourselves into a frenzy of despair or even depression. We all have those moments of disdain toward ourselves. The circular questions which lead us nowhere but to an blocked road without an exit.
- Why do I keep doing this?
- Why can’t I get past that?
- What the hell is wrong with me?
- When will this madness stop?
- Why do I keep failing God?
- Why do I keep failing myself?
- Why do I keep failing my wife?
- Why do I keep failing my family?
- Why do I keep failing my kids?
And the list if never ending dismay can continue until the end of eternity. So of ten we are so focused on the problem that we fail to look toward any solutions. Start asking different questions. More empowering questions. Such as:
- What can I do to make better use of my time?
- How can I avert further problems with THIS particular sin?
- What can I do to glorify God?
The list of how to stop sinning list and the circular questioning list each can go on and on. The fact is that we sin, our imaginations are evil in nature (this we were told in Genesis 8:21 NKJV), but Jesus gave us an out from this problem. Yes, He did touch on the subject with His own followers (i.e., the Apostles) where He said, in Luke 22:46 NKJV, “Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”” We can follow Jesus’ lead and suggestion to steer away from sin through prayer!
However, many of us do this wrongly. What I mean is that when we pray, we need to pray to God for the Spirit of understanding, wisdom, knowledge and workmanship in order to do something that will essentially glorify God in the long run. Unfortunately, many of us tend to pray not to do something (i.e., to not sin in this or that way again and again.) What we need to do is to pray to glorify God by doing His will, through knowing and understanding His word and gaining the necessary wisdom. Face it, we have all done it as some point in time. BUT now is the time to stop doing things the wrong way. When we gain the wisdom, the knowledge, the understanding, and the Spirit of workmanship to do so, we need to pass that on to those around us. Those who also are potentially having the same problem of what I call a “prayerful rut.” A “prayerful rut” Is much like mis-attributed quote to Einstein’s definition of insanity:
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
Well most of us tend to pray to God in Jesus name to not do “x” or not do “y”. Well, guess what? When you do so you first place what you do not want to at the forefront of your mind and, thereby, keep it close in your thoughts.
Like Dr. Robert Schuller spoke, you are what you think about all day long. If that is so, why not think about what you want to, or choose to, do? Eh, what a concept! We need to look at what we desire to become along with praying about becoming such a person, and we need to envision ourselves becoming such a person at all times throughout our day. In so doing, you place those thoughts, as well as, those pictures at the forefront of our minds. By doing this you have a much better chance of becoming what you seek to become than by focusing on what you desire not to do. Also, since our minds work with pictures far more efficiently that with words, prayers, and inanimate thoughts, our minds focus on the pictures and images.
We all have that tendency to do what we desire not to do and not do what we ought to do. But we can change that by focusing on how to better handle and control our sinful natures. I hope this post was helpful to you all! All my prayers to you and the for the betterment of this country, as a whole!
May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!
MK Murphy, PhD, DD