I wanted to build on last weeks thoughts. Since we know that God is ever-present and dwells within us, then why do we so often do and say the wrong things? In Romans, the apostle Paul states that even he knows what he is supposed to be doing and yet can’t seem to get it right. (Rom 7:15-25)
We all sin and fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23), but we fall short of his desires for our daily living as well. Let’s skip the big baddies that most of us (hopefully) have no issue with–murder, rape, etc.–and put some of our real daily flaws into the spotlight. You know the ones, the things we do most days and either struggle with the fact that we keep doing them, or simply dismiss them as part of “who we are.” I’ve heard, and unfortunately even said out loud, “God created me, He knew I was going to be like this!” as if it were some kind of acceptable excuse.
If you’ve driven lately…you can go ahead and hang your head in shame now–you know what you’ve done; do I really need to go on? I will go on because this example is very prevalent in most of our lives and yet we seem to accept it readily. If you’ve called another motorist an idiot, moron or a worse explicative, then you’ve violated Matthew 5:22 and Ephesians 4:26 at the very least. Not grievous enough? How about shopping at Wal-mart or some other store lately and judging people on their appearance, dress, smell, or idiosyncrasies? We are all made in the image of God and are considered His children, you’ve just disrespected Him and His creations (Gen 1:26-27, James 3:9, Gal 3:26). Have you been around a bunch of your friends lately and let a colorful word or story slip out of your lips? There goes Eph 5:4 and Col 3:8! Shall we go on? Wandering eyes (Mat 5:28), tall tales (Mat 5:13), pride (Prov 3:34), greed (1 Jn 2:16). We could do this all day, but how we sin isn’t really my point, my point is why we do these things if we know that God is with us? Why can’t we control ourselves? Personally I think it’s because we get comfortable with our surroundings and situations. We become lax in our control of our innately evil selves. We let thoughts of the world temporarily overshadow our thoughts of our Lord.
An example: If you just happened to be out in public with a member of the church family and something unpleasant occurred, most likely you’d be able to restrain yourself and limit your reaction to a polite dismissal or something similar because we aren’t commonly around this person and we care about how we appear to them. But when we’re alone or in the company of others we’re more comfortable with, we don’t always show the same restraint or react in the same way. We act and react and speak in ways that we later regret or try to justify. We respond in ways we wouldn’t if we thought someone were judging us at that moment. We often rationalize our responses or simply overlook our indiscretions.
Would our interactions with the world change if God were standing next to us? The problem, if you can call it that, is that He is! He is there, frowning and shaking his head at our failure. He is there cringing at our actions and comments. We can’t see him so we quickly forget or dismiss him for a moment when something else takes our attention.
Sometimes we try to remind ourselves with physical objects so we can keep focused. WWJD (what would Jesus do) is a great question. We find it on bracelets and necklaces–visual reminders that He is there…and yet we still forget from time to time. I have a beautiful, permanent reminder of what my savior has done for me so that I can look at it often and stay the course. It doesn’t do it’s job any better than I do. We still get desensitized and almost immune to things that surround us daily; we get comfortable.
God is with us, he is watching, and although we sometimes wish that he had skin and bones again so that we could be constantly aware, the truth is that we’d probably still become overly comfortable with that as well (the apostle Peter felt comfortable enough to rebuke Jesus (Mat 16:22)).
We all make choices every second of every day about how we act, what we say, even what we let enter our minds. If we let ourselves temporarily forget something so important as God standing right next to us, with a hand on our shoulder, indwelling us with His spirit, what else are we forgetting? What else are we so comfortable with that we’re taking it for granted? Our friends, spouses, children, comforts, freedoms? We really need to work on our focus.
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.” Phil 4:8.