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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Why Do I Do What I Don't Want to Do?

By Thomas Lindberg
June 15, 2014

Paul the apostle admitted, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Romans 7:15, NIV). Many of you reading this can identify with that great man.

The question of why we do what we don’t want to do runs through each of our minds at some point.

You need to save money, but you spend it instead. Why? You want to lose some weight, but you can’t get yourself to exercise. Why? You desire to overcome lust, pray more, begin to tithe, but you do just the opposite. Why?

God wants to help you control your desires. When you accept Jesus as Savior, you come into a relationship in which He can help you apply His life principles. Let’s consider four guidelines you can follow with Christ’s help.

Admit Your Problem

“I have a problem in this area. I’m responsible. It’s no one’s fault but mine.”

When you can admit that, you are recognizing a biblical truth. “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away” (James 1:14, NLT). We do things because we want to; it’s something inside us, and we’re responsible to control ourselves.

Many times people deny or excuse their actions. “That’s just the way I am.” “That’s the way I was raised; it’s my parents’ fault.” “It’s not that bad. Other people do worse things.”

Every time you excuse your problem, you create one more chain that will bind you. God does not respond to excuses; He responds to confession.

Absalom, King David’s son, was smart, incredibly handsome, and raised in a rich environment. But he never learned to control two areas in his life — a desire for power and a desire for women. Although he was a prince in the palace, his lack of control destroyed him and Absalom died a terrible death.

You can have great ability, lots of money, and real charm, but until you let God help you control your desires, you’re in trouble. What’s out of control in your life today? Admit it!

Battle Your Temptation

“The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires” (Galatians 5:17). None of us will ever be free from this struggle, nor will we ever outgrow it. The key is to learn to fight and win in this struggle with the power of Christ.

Not long ago I had lunch with a man. He was capable, bright, and talented, but he fell deep into sin. I asked him what happened. He looked at me and said, “I gave up fighting against temptation. I didn’t lean on the Holy Spirit. I didn’t rally my friends to pray for me.”

Never give up in the battle with your temptation. Get rid of some magazines. Turn off some movies. Avoid certain people. Call some godly friends to support you. Whatever you need to do, don’t stop fighting!

Develop Your Priorities

“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth” (Colossians 3:1,2).

Have you ever asked yourself why some people get so much done? They have seven days a week like everybody else. They have the same Bible and the same Savior as other believers. Why do some accomplish so much? Because they develop their priorities and identify those things that are important from a heavenly point of view.

Christianity is not you living for Jesus; Christianity is Jesus living in you! Do you see the difference?

For example, say you’re out of shape physically and you want to get in shape. Do you watch people exercise? Do you go buy a box of Total and memorize the nutritional chart on the side of the box? No, you make exercise a priority and you get the cereal into you. So it is with developing your spiritual priorities. You make Holy Spirit-directed choices a priority and you get the Lord Jesus inside you.

Picture Your New Person

“So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

There are people reading this who are controlled by their past.

You tried to break a habit — you failed.

You tried to lose weight — it didn’t happen.

You tried to do what’s right — it didn’t turn out.

So now you look back and say, “I guess I’m a failure.” Wrong! Past failure does not equal future failure. Put the Lord Jesus into that equation, and you’ll have a different answer. That answer is victory!

Can I pray for you?

“Lord Jesus, help each one reading this today. Some need their sins forgiven. Thank You for hearing their call for salvation. Others need power for living. Pour Your Holy Spirit into them. All of us need increased joy and greater self-control. Thank You for helping us and we accept Your help. In Jesus’ strong name, Amen.”

THOMAS LINDBERG, D.Min., is lead pastor of Memphis First Assembly of God in Cordova, Tenn.


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