Thursday, November 18, 2004

a bitter hatred of circles

Those who know me best know I have a certain pet peeve. Namely, I hate repeating. I hate repeating myself, I hate repitious things and I hate busywork. All of it seems pointless and a waste of my time in my opinion. In fact, I don't think hate is a strong enough word for how I feel about these circular activities. I feel like I am doing something or saying something over and over and over and over again or what I am doing has no purpose whatsoever but to fill time. This is somewhat ironic since I seem to tell stories over and over to the same people. Thankfully, most of my friends do not share my peeve and love me despite my meanderings.

Let me example this by talking about Handel's The Messiah. This is a beautiful piece of music, but I cannot listen to it. The entire musical could be done within a minute and a half if they would stop repeating themselves and get to the point. How many times can one man sing "Every valley...."? I think it is part of my busy lifestyle. Being raise in any metropolitan area, one learns that time is precious and valuable and really hates wasting it.

So imagine my frustration when I realize I have returned to something I thought I left behind over a year ago. What am I talking about? I am talking about being mindful of what I speak and edifying other believers over tearing them down. A year and a half ago, my college group was studying through the book of James, and we were extremely convicted when we got to James 3. There James describes the tongue as a vicious, evil thing that is sooo hard to control. It's like the rabbit from Monty Python, but I digress....

We were all convicted, and made a commitment to hold each other accountable to say only edifying things and to stop tearing each other down. Sometimes we would say "James 3", but others we would tell the person, "Edify, Stupid!" This came from a Bible Study I was involved in several years ago where that was the catch phrase for the evening. Apparently, I didn't get it then, either.

So here I sit at my computer, a year and a half removed from the second bible study and nearly four years removed from the first one. After each study, I committed to be careful and work on that issue, and even succeeded for a time. Yet, here I sit, guilty once again, convicted of tearing my brothers and sisters, those created in the image of God and saved by the precious blood of Christ, down. WHY DO I SEEM TO REPEAT MYSELF? Why can't I get it. I am tired of doing the same things again and again and again. I am tired of repeating the same stupid mistakes over and over. I am tired of being human!?

Could that be the problem? I am human? I am a human being; a sinful being saved by grace. Could it be when I take my eyes off God and am not ever watchful, those sin patterns show their ugly faces again? All of us have had habits that we have given up and then, slowly at first, we pick them up because we let our guard down.

This does not negate our responsibility. We are instructed to live holy because God is holy. We need to be ever on guard lest our old patterns and the old man come creeping back into our lives and take us down.

Sometimes we think we are so big and so great that we don't need to watch. The enemy has us exactly where he wants us. In a battle, one loves it when their opponent is over confident. They are much easier to defeat then. Other times, we just don't look at those fences and walls anymore to focus on building in other areas, but as humans, we need to look after the whole area.

So I am challenging each of us, I guess. We need to stop repeating our mistakes. We need to stop the vicious circle of sin that we live in. We need to realize our weaknesses, even relish in them in that God is glorified in strengthening us there, being watchful of those areas as we struggle towards God. Will it be easy? No. Is it possible? Yes. What is impossible for man is possible for God.

Let us throw our circles away. Let us not live our lives in such a way that we will not look back in the future and wonder if our time was wasted doing busy work. Let us work in such a way that God is glorified and we know Him more and more and make Him known more and more.

until Christ is formed in us


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