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Come as a stranger, leave as a friend

Romans 7:17-25 (MSG)

I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it;

decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway.

My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions.

Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

This scripture from Romans can be a little confusing. Fortunately, the interpretation from the bible called The Message makes the scripture a little clearer. Check out the King James Version and you will know what I mean (it can be Goggled).

This scripture is from a letter written by Paul to the Romans. Paul is writing about his shortcomings, and his inability to break bad habits. 

I believe what Paul is talking about is something each of us can relate to, because we all have bad habits.

But why does it seem like the big bad habits are easier to break?  Why do the little things seem harder to get a handle on?

For example, I do not want to eat sweets, but I do it anyway. I decide to do good, but I don’t do it. I make the decision, but I do not take any action (like not eating the cookie).  I do not think something has gone wrong deep within me (v.25), but the cookie does get the better of me every time. I do not think this verse is about cookies though and some could think I have provided a silly example. But is it silly?  The Song of Solomon (2:15) says “it is the little foxes which spoil the vine.” Small bad habits can lead to bigger things. As for the foxes in the vineyard, well, they can wipe out an entire vineyard of its good fruit.

This month I have finally grown tired of a bad habit and have decided to do something about it.

Since I started as your Pastor our Church Administrator has had to remind me to write this article every single month.  I do not know what the block is. Each month I tell myself I will remember, and I do not. Although this happens every month, I have taken no action to fix it. I have not written it on my calendar, I have not set an alarm on my phone. I say I am sorry every month for holding up everyone getting the Hilltop Echoes on time, but I never do anything to change it. If I never do anything to change it, am I really sorry? If I make a decision to stop doing something, but do it anyway, is it really making a decision? According to Webster’s Dictionary, the definition of decision is: a conclusion or resolution reached after consideration.

The word decision is a noun, but making a decision is a verb; it requires action. So, I am making a resolution/conclusion/decision, to get my Hilltop Echoes article in on time going forward. Feel free to check on me and see how I am doing.

Maybe you can let me know some of the “little foxes” destroying your vines and we can help each other.

Happy Spring!

Pastor Val

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One Response

  1. I’ll make mine a little more personal. Why do we act our worst in front of our loved ones? I tell myself, breath before speaking. When I know a “button pushing” situation is coming, I’m much better at doing this. It’s the “out of left field” surprises that catch me the most. For example, my brother (Assemblies of God Minister) and I can talk about our different faiths most of the time. I typically get my brain prepped for the conversation and can handle it no problem. He’s my brother and I love him dearly. But our last conversation started out about family and my Dad’s estate, but for some reason he made some comment about God and punishment and it set me off. A war of words started and by the time I caught myself and asked to end the conversation, I was frustrated at myself for letting it go down that path. I texted him later that I was sorry and never intended to have that war of words, but I thought I had decided “not to do bad” and it felt like “something had gone wrong deep inside me and got the better of me” again. I could pick examples of conversations with my wife, my kids, my other siblings. I just wish most of the time I could hit a reset button and go back 10-20 minutes and do it again in a way that felt good inside instead. PV – those cookies do taste good though, don’t they? 🙂

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