Today is Friday and since February 10, 2017 that means I am volunteering at church. I am in with the children who are sixth grade and above. We do have a couple who are old enough to be in the sixth grade but are in fifth. We let them join us and so far we haven’t had any issues with that.
Tonight we talked about our belief’s, values and how the affect the choices we make in life. The very last thing on the Bible study sheet was Romans 7:15. So often I feel as if Romans 7 is the story of my life. I want to be better. I want to do what is right and yet, the flesh controls and the sin wins.
I don’t want the sin to win anymore. I fight against it. I tell myself over and over that I am not going to do that anymore. And then I do it anyway.
I am sure I am not the only one. Things as simple as: I am done eating candy, I am done over stuffing myself, I am not going to use the credit card anymore, I am not going to eat out, I am going to work out, I am going to keep the house clean and the list goes on.
There is never one thing and everyone’s sins are different and unique to them. We all have struggles of the flesh. We all have things we never want to do again, and we all have our times of failure. What is your biggest struggle? Do you get angry at yourself when you do it again and again and again?
The devil puts temptations in front of us. He knows where we are weak and where we struggle. He wants us to fail so we feel the guilt, the anger with ourself. He wants us to feel as if we just can’t get anything right. He wants to put that burden on you! He wants you to forget that God loves you anyway, that God knew you were going to fall, stumble, and do it over and over. He wants you to believe his truth and not God’s truth.
Gods truth never changes. His truth tells us that we will be tempted. His truth tells us that He is faithful. His truth tells us that He will always provide a way out when we are tempted.
So then why do we continue to fall into sin? Why do we continue to watch tv shows or movies we know we should not? Why do we continue to overeat? Why do we sit in our house instead of working out? Why do we choose to do what our gut tells us not to do and then just deal with the guilt?
Most of us when we are standing within reach of the choice we need to make, forget to turn to God. I know when I am standing there about to do something I know I should not do, when I am standing there about to make the same mistake for the millionth time, in the back of my head I tell myself this is the last time, I swear I won’t do it again, just one more. How many, “one more times” can a single person have?
Tonight while at youth group, I wondered why God has me here. I don’t know how to pray, and yet I had to pray tonight. I don’t know the Bible as well as I would like. I don’t know how to explain the Bible verses when they ask. Here I was tonight leading Bible study to a group of kids feeling as if I was should just quit. I know God lead me here, I am doing as He called me to do and it is really overwhelming. It isn’t just me who is a leader. I truly thank God for that one. Still tonight I was leading.
I know the thoughts in my head that are making me want to run are not from God. God is good. God is the encourager. God is love. My fears, my thoughts, my anxieties are not good, are accusing me and they are from the evil one. What is the devil trying to scare me from? What good thing is he trying to get me to run from? There has to be something.
Here is the big thing, tonight I came home and did something I have been working on. It was a rough night. It was a great Bible study discussion, for the most part. Then the one child who has a way of controlling the emotional status of the group made it clear he doesn’t like being there, he doesn’t like the group, he doesn’t like any of it basically. We wrap everything up, the kids head off for the night, I get home with my youngesters and I open a bag of candy.
I ate my emotions. Not only did I eat my emotions, I ate them with candy I can’t stand. I specifically bought this candy for the group tonight so I would not touch it. I came home after feeling like I just am not doing the right things for the group. That I just keep on messing up everything. That I should not be the one talking to parents. That I should not be the one talking to the kids individually. That I should not be the one leading the talk sheets. I let myself be consumed with my emotions, with my insecurities and I ate them with the nasty candy I put into me.
I know I’m supposed to be there though. God called me to this group. I know this. It was very clear before I prayed. It was even more clear after I prayed. Everyone I talked to confirmed it. So I can say with confidence that God called me to this group of teens. Yet I take a night like tonight, where we are talking about Paul and how he struggled with his sin and I come home do the same thing. Paul struggled with it and he was with Jesus. What chance do I have to be stronger?
It really isn’t about being a stronger person than whomever came before you, is standing next to you or will come after you. We are all living in the flesh. We all have our struggles, we all have the evil one trying to take us down his path instead of God’s path, and we all have the same choices. Follow the flesh and sin, follow the flesh and turn to God and pray to Him and see the way out, and we also have the fact we know we have struggles, we know the evil one is tempting us because we do believe in God and his only objective is to take us to his side, we focus on our relationship with Christ by speaking to and praying to Him and we also accept that no matter how much we try to overcome sin, there are going to be times when we fall flat on our face. We need to get up, brush off, ask for forgiveness for the seventy-seventh time and we get back at it. All of this being accomplished with Christ by our side.
There is only one perfect person who ever walked this earth. Jesus was sent here for me and for you. He was human and He dealt with every feeling and emotion you and I ever will. He was tempted by the evil one many times. He was pushed and shoved and He blew up with anger. He was beaten, He cried, He loved, He asked that the Father forgive us. Then He died on the cross, spilling His blood to satisfy Gods wrath for all of our sins. All so that when God looks at me, He sees Jesus and His perfect, sinless, face.
When you love someone, you want a relationship with them. You want to be with them. You want to do things to please them. Our relationship with God should be the same as it would be with anyone here on earth. Just because you are forgiven doesn’t mean you can just keep on doing wrong. It means you strive to do the correct things. It means you want to follow His Word. He knows we are going to fall and make mistakes. We know we are going to fall and make mistakes.
It isn’t a free pass for us. It is something we need to keep tucked deep within ourself. The evil one is sneaky and he wants us to forget. He wants us to feel that guilt and shame. He wants us angry and hurt with our own self and with others. He doesn’t want us to feel the love and acceptance from God. He does not want us to feel the forgiveness.
Tomorrow is a new day. Tomorrow is going to be with me praying for a certain child in our teen group. Tomorrow is going to be a candy free day. Tomorrow I am going to wake up and start fresh and know that all I have been feeling today, all of my thoughts and choices, they are not from God. I made a bad choice tonight, I knew it was a bad choice and I did it anyway. I am forgiven.
It may not seem like a big deal to some but for a person who struggles with emotional eating and have been working to overcome it, tonight was a bad choice. I do have guilt right now. I do have shame that I did it. I am going to go to bed though, praying, asking for forgiveness and asking for more strength and a more prominent exit plan from the temptation next time.
What do you struggle with? Do you know that you are truly forgiven? Do you know that God loves you sin and all?