Confession time: As believers in Christ and children of God, we are called to pursue holiness, to live holy lives. And I don't. Often, I can't be bothered. And that's a problem that I tend to ignore. I try to make myself feel better by justifying my actions, but there's not real way to do so.
There's a daily (hourly?) conflict between who I am "in the flesh" or naturally, and who I am becoming "in Christ." And as much as I want to think differently, the flesh wins more than the Spirit does. At least that's how it feels on days like this.
I'm a Christian. I'm a believer in Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord, and that He is the only way to God. I believe in the Bible and try to use it as my standard for living. These things are true. They are in my heart and mind forever imprinted.
But yet I swear. Often. And I'm incredibly self-centered. And I'm lazy. And I'm sarcastic. And I do about six thousand other sinful things that I have neither the energy nor the courage to specify here. These are things I recognize as wrong, as sin. But I have a hard time "letting go of the dead and clinging to what's alive."
I don't doubt who I am in Christ, but sometimes--often--I sure don't act like it. And even after years of being a believer, it's not getting any better.
In the same breath, I talk about my concerns with having to promote a stage play with nudity, and then go on to make a joke about people with disabilities. In the same web log, I talk about how I'm starting to love the Word of God again, and what He's teaching me, and then go on to post about how "sexy" I think some singer on TV is.
I'm a contradiction. I'm a war-zone.
And when one of my favorite Godbloggers shows up on this blog and leaves a comment, THEN, and not before, I start feeling a little self-conscious about my blog topics and my bad language. Why wasn't I feeling this way all the time? Why do I so cherish the approval of men?
Because I'm a hypocrite. And that's why hypocrisy is. An actor wearing masks and playing roles. Why? Because he performs for different crowds. And he wants to keep performing. He wants to be accepted and applauded.
On Sunday mornings, I put on my Sunday School teacher mask. I don't talk about "RockStar" or "Kill Bill." I don't use the same language I sometimes use here. And I would die of embarrassment if my singles minister or my Bible study group ever found this blog. Why? Because they'd find out I'm a phony. Remember what I've said before? My singles minister one morning talked about his shock and discomfort from hearing someone in his family use a four-letter-word--a word that I knew I had used at least a few times in traffic the day before. And the day before that. And the week before that.
At lunch today, my boss swore in front of me, and then apologized. I told him, "Don't sweat it man, I've said worse." Then, I demonstrated that statement. My boss laughed and said, "But Dave, aren't you religious?"
And I made up some excuse that I am a Christian, but I'm still sinful and am working on acting better. Then I changed the subject.
The worst part of it all? It was easy. I didn't miss a beat. Instead of being a moment of humility and possibly witness, it was a moment of weakness and defeat. Because I wasn't able to show discipline, my nominally-religious boss will think that it's perfectly acceptable to be profane, as long as you're "trying to be better." And that's a big problem.
I confess that before God and you, the "assembly." I blew it today.
I want so much to shrug this off as not a big deal. But it's a big deal to me.
It seems like every time I start to make progress, to become a little more spiritually mature, then I instantly start sliding backwards and making the same mistakes I've always made. And I'm getting frustrated with myself. Because even with prayer and Bible reading, with service and discipleship, I still can't escape the habits and the pitfalls that have beset me for years. I don't know.
I guess I'm writing all this because I need to publicly confess it. I'm hypocritical and profane, and I'm sorry for that. And all my so-called righteousness is worth less than filthy rags before a holy God. Thanks be to Him who is faithful when I am faithless, who forgives beyond the seventy-seventh time, who lavishes His love on me by calling me His son!
I've said it before, gang, but I will keep saying it: please don't base your opinion of God or Jesus or other Christians on me. I'm a really bad example. I'm God's idiot-child, that He puts up with out of compassion and unwarranted kindness. I never learn, I never grow, I never mature. I just make messes and cry out to Him to clean me up and set me free.
Lord, set me free from myself, from this dead flesh, so that I will stop bringing shame to Your name.