Monday, January 27, 2014

It's Just My Nature

Once there was a little girl.  She was assigned by her teacher to keep all her assignments for the 6 week period in a notebook.  She did every piece of homework cheerfully. Yet when they were returned she would stuff them down in her backpack and forget them. Every time she opened the bag her stomach would sink, but instead of facing the problem squarely, she'd zip it up and distract herself.  The night before the notebook was due, her mom asked her if she had it ready.  She smiled at her mom and lied right to her face, "Oh almost!  I'll finish it up tonight."  It took endless hours of anxious sorting to get everything in the right place.  The papers were crumpled and the girl was embarrassed, but next 6 weeks the same thing happened again.  If you asked her about it, she would say, "Messy?  It's just how I am."

Was she right? Could it be that we are defined by or imprinted with a "nature?" Psychology says yes; if you are prone to anxiety or depression, it might be in your very DNA.  Scientific studies support the idea that we are born introverted or extroverted and there is little that can be done to change that. Scripture suggests that our very flesh is given to sin (Romans 7:13-20).  Having a fallen human body lends us an inclination to sin so strong that only one Person, himself divine, was able to escape it.  

So is it fair to say, "It's just my nature?"

It depends.  Sometimes we mean our personality is imprinted on us.  However, in a sad combination of defensiveness and despair we often mean: "I recognize the trait of mine under discussion is bad, but I don't care and I can't change!" What about that part?  Is that part true?

Sadly, yes.  

That's not what you expected me to say, right?  You thought I was going to say, "NO! Take the bull by the horns.  Try a little harder.  Don't give up; fight the good fight.  You can beat this.  Grab those boot straps and PULL girls!"


It is our nature.  If you're old enough to read this, you are probably old enough to spend all of eternity in hell for the sins you've already committed.  It's just the way you are.

It's the way I am too. My childhood notebooks full of procrastination and lies were only the beginning. Sin is still something that shames me. It's something I put off dealing with, something I've lied about and frantically tried to solve when the time came to pay up, and something that I've foolishly done again.  And again.

So what's to do?  Give in to despair?  Insist that the world overlook my bad behavior? Distract myself and pretend that it doesn't matter?  

What if instead we expose the Emperor's nakedness with some truth?

1. Jesus loves worriers, "mean girls," people pleasers and nags.  He knows us inside out and upside down. As sad as we are over our sin, he is sadder because he loves us more than we love ourselves.   The world may not love us when we are unlovable, but he does.

2. Jesus has the cure for sin and despair.  He has no intention of letting your nature get the better of you.  He stands ready to help.  Not like the world helps by replacing sin with sin or piling shame on top of shame but by offering himself as a new master.  A Lord who takes our place, shares our burdens and gives us an easy yoke (Matthew 11:28-30).

3. Jesus doesn't take excuses.  He is not going to be content while you are still shackled by sin.  Every time you say, "That's just the way I am" and excuse sin, you are saying to Jesus, "Thanks for dying for me, but worrying- it's who I am." OR "That sacrifice? I appreciate it, really. But there's no way I am going to aim at being 'gentle.'  Everyone knows that's not really me."

What about you?  What's "Just your nature?"  What intractable sin have you not laid at the foot of the cross? Wouldn't you love to be free?  Jesus is the answer!


Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. 

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