Thursday, September 5, 2013

Recognizing my own areas of weakness

Romans 12:3
Psalm 121
There are so many ways to think of ourselves more highly than we deserve. One pitfall for me is to simply forget how dependent I am on the Lord in times of temptation. Not that I forget as I'm succumbing to temptation, or dealing with the ugly aftermath, but rather I don't always take the steps which would most help me avoid the temptation to begin with or to seek the Lord's help right from the beginning. Nor do I always keep in mind my own weaknesses when confronted with another's sin: someone who may have fallen in that moment of temptation, a moment in which I might have also fallen if given the opportunity, and is now dealing with the consequences of that choice.
Avoiding temptation: I know I am more irritable when I feel stressed by too many activities. So I need to proactively make decisions that will help me avoid saying and acting inappropriately by not committing to my time to more activities in a given week than I can peacefully handle. I need to say "no" more often than "yes", even to Christian service. I need to prioritize my activities to make room for the important and avoid those that should be left for someone else to complete. It will not benefit anyone for me to accomplish more with a negative spirit and succumb to the temptations I know I am already susceptible to when I could avoid the situation altogether.
Seeking help: Just because I'm aware of a particular weakness doesn't mean I can always avoid it. The good news is that the Lord uses those situations where we would fail on our own to strengthen our relationship with Him and to spiritually train us to resist stronger temptations that may come our way in the future. The key difference between success and sin lies in how quickly and thoroughly I turn to Him for help. He has all the grace I need. Rather than giving up because I've failed in the past I can deal with the situation prayerfully, leaning on Him to eliminate or at least minimize the sin I take part in.
Confronted with another's sin: Recognizing my own failures can increase the grace in my heart toward another (Christian)'s blatant sin. If I'm not involved in the situation, then I can act on the assumption that the individual tried to avoid temptation and something went wrong, then tried unsuccessfully to avoid giving in to that temptation. Those assumptions may be wrong but they are made out of love for a fellow brother or sister in Christ rather than assuming the worst of someone Christ explicitly commanded me to love (Jn 13:34). That person may not be mature enough in their Christianity to realize the critical importance of avoiding certain situations that are more likely to lead to temptation, or to seek the Lord's help immediately. Having given in to sin they are now dealing with the consequences and if I am not close enough to the situation to know everything that led to the sin, my best option is to assume the best and support that individual in their choices to deal with those consequences as a Christian.
In all of this the key for me rests in recognizing my own areas of weakness. Not in running from them, nor in denying them, nor in ignoring them, but in acknowledging that they exist and making decisions that will help me stay true to Christ despite them. For it won't help me or anyone else if I think of myself and my abilities more highly than I should.

No comments:

Post a Comment