Saturday, February 13, 2010

I Said It, I'll Do It!

There was a guy in the Bible who made a pretty strong declaration of dedication, but shortly after that, when it came time to follow through with consistent choices, he caved in like a stepped on aluminum can. I don't think for a moment that he was exaggerating or lying when he made the declaration, but he obviously wasn't speaking from where his true level of commitment was. Peter was like all of us. He though he was ready to follow Jesus even to death, but, well - like Jesus said that same evening, "The spirit was willing but the flesh was weak."
Here's the principle I'm thinking about: A dedicated decision, can and should remove the challenge of choices. Once you decide where you stand and what you will and won't do, the choices are made - or should be.
For me, the highlight of each day on our recent cruise was sitting down to that first class dinner with Five Star cuisine, and being surrounded by good friends to share it with. It doesn't get any better than that! (Within reason - of course!) For the first several evenings, one of the first things that happened involved one of the stewards offering us a choice of wines from the ships huge inventory of wines. I'm not anti-wine, a prohibitionist, or even a religious prude when it comes to any Christian's right to have a drink of any alcoholic beverage. For some people in some cases it might even be a good idea, but I don't need it, want it, or like it. Give me ice tea every time over sour grapes, slurred speech, and all the potential wrong things that can happen. The larger decision was made long ago, so there was no need to turn it into a choosing situation. Before long they didn't ask, the wine list was removed, and the wine glasses weren't even put on the table.
On the other hand, why is it that at every meal, and often times between meals, I find myself calculating, rationalizing, and justifying the consumption of massive amount of calories that I know I don't need and that will ultimately hurt me? And, by the way - like Peter, I've made declarations of dedication to healthy living that didn't last anywhere near as long as his did before I totally caved in. I hear the words of Paul, "Wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from" making declarations that come from wishing rather than true commitment.
Truth be know, we're all probably better at making declarations than we are at committed living. I guess that is why God wants us to understand His love, His patience, and His forgiveness. With His help and forbearing nature, being a child of God and deepening our relationship with Him may be as much about "get up and keep moving" as it is "running the race set before us". As we grow in Him, the divergent lines of declaration and dedication come together, and His peace that is greater than words truly begins to take hold of our life.
Why did I write this right before lunch?


Deborah said...

Wow, I'm regretting that bacon cheeseburger from Braum's about now.

This is a great post. It reminds me of all of those unspoken and spoken declarations about parenting that I made...before EVER becoming a parent!

Glenave Curtis said...

This is a very good lesson to learn early on, and a great revelation to experience later in life.