Sorry to all you closet teeny boppers out there, this is not a reference to the top 40 pop music hack from Disney’s skank factory. Nope, it’s about a lady I know. I’ll call her Mrs. Spears (not her real name) in honor of the title and opening. Mrs. Spears tended to be a little scattered. One day she came into the store where I worked looking a little frazzled, so I asked her why. She mentioned she needed to go by the dealership to get her car repaired.
”Really, the new Lexus? You’re already having trouble?” I asked.
”No, I miscalculated the distance in the garage and ran into the back wall,” she confided. “Oh, and I need to call the handyman and have him come and fix the garage, too.”
A few days passed and I was perusing the foreign foods section at the grocery store and saw Mrs. Spears wandering the aisles.
“Did you get your car fixed?” I asked.
“Sure did,” she said “but I gotta go back.”
Perplexed, I asked, “Didn’t they do a good job?”
“They did a fabulous job,” she shared. “The grill is new, the bumper was repainted and they removed the scratches from the hood. But,” she continued, “when I returned from the body shop the handyman wasn’t quite finished with the wall so I parked in the drive. Later that night I looked out and realized my car was outside so I went to move it into the garage. Well, clearly I didn’t want to have the same problem as before so I was very careful and didn’t pull so far into my spot. I got out of the car, started walking toward the house, and hit the remote to close the garage door…….that’s when I heard the most horrendous noise.”
“Let me guess,” I chuckled. “You shut the door on the car.”
“Sure did. I’m going this afternoon to get the trunk fixed,” she moaned.
Make no mistake. I felt terrible for Mrs. Spears but I did laugh, out loud. The truth is I felt worse for her husband.
I guess it was it was probably two weeks before I saw Mrs. Spears again. This time we were strolling through the Southern Mecca of Materialism, Wal-mart. As a plethora of Chinese made products were casting their spell over my family, Mrs. AND Mr. Spears rounded the corner. She noticed me, but looked the other way. As she sped by us she threw up her hand and tossed out…
“I did it again, I hit the wall.”
The dejected Mr. Spears just rolled his eyes and hurumphed but never broke his stride. I suspect that he didn’t want to hear the particulars of the collision again. As ridiculous as this sounds, this is me. No, I don’t roll around looking for a wall to jack up with my luxury cruiser but I do what I don’t want to do.
It turns out Paul had this same problem. That’s right, the big time Pharisee-turned-Disciple-turned-Apostle and writer of nearly the whole New Testament had just as hard a time managing himself as I do.
Rom 7:18 I know that my selfish desires won’t let me do anything that is good. Even when I want to do right, I cannot.
Rom 7:19 Instead of doing what I know is right, I do wrong. CEV
Basically he was saying, “Oops, I did it again,” except without the “Oops.” There was no accident in what Paul said. He identified the problem. It was his selfish desires. I think I may have a few selfish desires of my own (cleverly downplayed to maintain my holy image) and I think they may be causing me to do wrong when I want to do right. CRAP! What am I supposed to do now? How do I fix these selfish desires?
What a miserable person I am. Who will rescue me from this body that is doomed to die? Thank God! Jesus Christ will rescue me. So with my mind I serve the Law of God, although my selfish desires make me serve the law of sin. Rom 7:24-25
What a relief! Jesus will rescue me from my own selfish desires when I invite Him into my death and enter into His life. He came and lived a Holy life as a man, conquered selfish desires and offers to be our substitute. I have made it a practice for years to manage myself with doctrine and rules and accountabilities and mentors and calorie counters and alarm clocks and programs and deal-a-meal and before-after photos and check lists. All outside of Christ’s rescue and it never works. I want to ACT like
that I’m sent from above, but I’m not that inn-o-cent.
What ways have you tried to manage yourself but failed? How can we let Christ rescue us? Do you do things you don’t want to?