Monday, May 27, 2013

Psalm 51:10 - The Fight of the Futile

I have a beard-growing habit something horrible.
Bad habits suck. They really do. They suck away the motivation to change, they suck the energy needed to fight them, and they suck at the life of their host. They're parasites, really, and like strong addictions they are extremely difficult to kick.

In my case, I form habits extremely easily. I go the same way to work each day. I usually get the exact same drink from Starbucks each time. I shower in the same order every morning, and have to sleep with the radio on at night. Most of these are innocuous, but there are habits that aren't so harmless. Those are the ones that I spend my time battling against - the pride, the lies, the undertow of lust - and for this post, I wanted to record some thoughts about the war that rages on a daily basis. 

I'd much rather have him fight alongside.
The first thought is wonderment at how often I have my eyes downward, focused on each individual skirmish. My initial reaction, should I react at all, is to pull into a shell and think "no no no no" like a child that refuses to listen. While that might work here and there, I gain nothing from it in the long run. I don't really learn anything, and the battle begins anew the next time around from exactly the same place I started from. How much better off would I be if, when attacked and tempted, I lifted my eyes UPWARD and allowed the Lord to guide me? What if I allowed God to show me the entire war - the victories that were being won and the surge of the host of heaven! No more hunkering down and bracing myself, but instead looking to the Lord for deliverance. How then would each battle look? 

The second thought is that running from sin doesn't help either. If I drift in and out of drugs (which I don't, for the record), and decide to get clean, simply changing where I live or who I hang out with will only help for a short period of time. Eventually, whether it's with the same crowd or a brand new one, my sinful nature will find a way back into whatever I was doing beforehand. What is required (thanks Anna and Josh) isn't a change of scenery, it's a change of heart. If the heart remains the same, why should the body change it's habits? Cleaning the fridge of beer, throwing out the dirty magazines, deleting that person's number - it serves only as a bandaid for an open wound. It will last for a time, but bleed through. I need to be made new - heart, mind and soul - in order for those changes to take effect. 

Those two things, that we should look to the Lord for deliverance and for a rebuilding of our hearts, brings new depth to one of my favorite verses:

"Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit in me." - Psalm 51:10

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