I have a confession. (Yes, another one.) I have an addiction to something naughty. It’s gooey and gummy and gloriously delicious.
I am addicted to cookie dough.
And unfortunately, I will not learn my lesson about eating this delicious goodness. I have to experience painful consequences over and over…and I still don’t learn my lesson. Even though feel sick when I eat raw dough, I do it anyway.
IT IS JUST TOO INCREDIBLE.
I simply ignore all logical reasoning when a bowl of dough is before me.
Unfortunately, many Christians are the same way. Most of us rarely resist temptation. We give up, give in, suffer the consequences, and do it all over again.
Maybe you have a porn addiction. No matter how many times you tell yourself “no,” you still give in to it every time.
Maybe you have trouble with gossip. Even when you bite your tongue, a juicy tidbit always seems to slip out.
Or, maybe you struggle with lying. Though you promise yourself every day that you’ll start telling the truth, you still tell fib after fib.
We are stuck in a snowball, friends. We sin, feel guilty, confess, and then sin again. We conveniently “forget” previous consequences of our actions and commit the same sin again.
After all, promising to have patience doesn’t make you patient. Saying you’ll show respect doesn’t make you respectful. Vowing to show kindness doesn’t make you kind.
It’s easy to make promises…until we’re in the middle of a temptation.
A guy in the Bible named Jonah had a similar problem. In a nutshell, God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and tell them to repent. Instead of going to Nineveh, Jonah hopped on a boat; but God caused a storm to come. The sailors tossed him overboard, and he stayed in the belly of a fish for several days. God told him to go to Nineveh again, and this time, he listened. He told the people to repent, and they did. But then he got upset about it and told God he wanted to die. A plant grew to shade him, but God caused it to wither up.
Basically, Jonah was a sulky weenie. This story sounds like a pathetic story every time I hear it. How could he be so stupid?
We can roll our eyes at Jonah’s stupidity all we want, but we’re just as bad—if not worse.
We fail to remember why we are being disciplined.
…but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. For the moment, all discipline seems not to be pleasant, but painful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (Hebrews 12:10-11 NASB)
This is a promise from God that His discipline will yield righteousness IF WE MAKE AN EFFORT TO LEARN FROM IT. We have to be willing to accept God’s discipline and try not to make the same mistakes again. It is a process. After all, the writer of Hebrews does say that we have to be “trained” by God’s discipline (Hebrews 12:11). Training doesn’t happen overnight. (And I may never get past my raw dough addiction.) But if you’re willing, you’ll get there. Running to temptation (as I’ve discussed before) and half-hearted confessions won’t get the job done.
But a willing heart will. Just be willing to turn from your sin–and do it!
You know what sin I’m talking about. It’s the one that constantly fills you with guilt and makes you feel empty. Yeah, that beloved baggage. (Note my sarcasm here.)
Of course, we’re always going to sin. But when we make it a habit and hug it like a teddy bear, we can’t share in His holiness like we were meant to (Hebrews 12:10). Be willing to be changed by the God who “disciplines us for our good” (Hebrews 12:10).