My Daily Battle
Most of the time I’m fine with the “big” temptations like stealing and murder. I’ve felt like murdering a few petty, controlling, divisive, and mean Christians over the years, but never actually contemplated the act. The last time I actually stole something I was 18. So I’ve been doing pretty good in the murder/stealing category of sins for over forty years.
Yet hardly a day goes by that I don’t struggle with the sins of dissatisfaction and disappointment. Suddenly I realize that here I am again, dissatisfied with God’s provision or disappointed in His plan. The realization usually comes through one of my famous “if-only” thoughts or sentences.
The “If-Only” Sins
“If-only” sins concentrate on that one thing God seems to be withholding while ignoring everything He’s granting. God has granted me amazing, even miraculous health, but here’s what I find myself saying:
“If only I didn’t have so many medical bills, I could get out of debt!”
“If only I didn’t have to drive to USC every week for therapy, I could get something done!”
I feel shallow even telling you about this. But I’ll risk it because I suspect you’re struggling with a few of your own “if-only” sins.
Living Beyond Our “If-Onlies”
When I catch myself in the middle of an “if-only” sin, I immediately confess it. I believe the biblical word “confess” means to agree with God. I let Him know that I get it that He is right and I am wrong. I tell Him plainly that what I just said or thought was a sin that viewed Him as less than good, less than loving, less than…well, God.
And then, before I have a chance to return to my dark hole of self-centered sin, I ask God’s Spirit to remind me of ten reasons I should praise God–a verse that means a lot to me, a way He has answered prayer, a friend he brought into my life, a kindness shown to me, a great evening with my Judy….
As I confess my sin and praise Him for His mercy, the dissatisfaction and disappointment sweep from the selfish corners of my soul.
Until the next time.
But my Father in heaven understands, He never forgets that I’m human. Like David said, “As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our farme; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:13-14).