Once again I heard this week of another person who smoked while on oxygen. Is that insane or what? But before we get too self-righteous, we need to stare into the mirror. Are there issues or habits in our own lives that actually hurt, if not destroy, us? How many people take medication for high blood pressure and so forth, yet still love their Grandma Utz's or Double Whoppers? How many people tell you they want to lose weight, yet they still pig out on snacks and other unhealthy food? How many people spend more money than they make and thus are in deep debt? All our government leaders can raise their hands. Of course, why do we keep voting in the same people when they keep making the same mistakes? Which is worse, us or them?
This is the time of year to make resolutions. This is also the time of year to break resolutions.
Why? Why do we keep doing things that hurt us? Why do we break our resolutions? Why is our resolve so low? Why can those on drugs not get off? Why can't the alcoholic put the bottle down? Why can't the smoker stop puffing? Why can't the eater stop gorging? Why can't the shopper cease purchasing? Why can't the couch potato move? Why can't the adulterer discontinue "loving?" Why can't the liar tell the truth?
If I had the answer, I would make a lot of money, right? Wrong! People wouldn't make use of the answer if they had it.
We are stubborn people. We refuse to change. We like things the way they are. We are stubborn. No book in the Bible highlights our stubbornness more than Jeremiah. It specifically uses that word. Ponder these words that Jeremiah says to the people of Jerusalem and also to us, "This is what the Lord says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and actions. But they will reply, 'It's no use. We will continue with our own plans; each of us will follow the stubbornness of his evil heart. (Jeremiah 18:11,12)'"
Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn. We humans are so stubborn.
I recently read an excerpt from William Temple about different things that block us from growing in our relationship with Jesus. William Temple wrote: "How, in fact, do we block His (Christ's) advance? Partly, of course, by sheer resistance. We definitely desire that He (Christ) should not yet take charge of some parts of our lives; we are like St. Augustine when he caught himself praying, 'Give me chastity, but not yet.' We want to indulge a little longer." Yes, we are stubborn. We love our vices so much.
Yes, our answer is in our wonderful God- the God of new life- the God who transforms- the crucified and risen Jesus Christ. Yet, if we attack our faults or problems or sins without recognizing our stubbornness, we will fail. As you make your resolutions, make them knowing that you have your own stubbornness to overcome.
We are funny creatures. We are pathetic creatures. But yet, by the power of God, we also may be transformed creatures.