Summary: What if we aren’t what we seem? What if we try to be perfect and can’t pull it off? What is God’s prescription to deal with “Despicable Me”?
Pt. 1 – Repentance
Text: Romans 7:15-20
15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
This passage of Scripture has always fascinated me because it is almost as if Paul has a split personality. I want to do good, but don’t. I don’t want to do bad, but I do. It is a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde dilemma. A constant wrestling match within himself. I think the reason that dilemma intrigues me is because I believe his description of his issue is a perfect description of the ongoing reality that most of us face and fight. In spite of the façade of healthy self esteem and personal security when you get past all of that most of us look at ourselves in the mirror from time to time and come to the conclusion that we don’t like us very much! We are despicable. This truth has been known for generations. Even the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah exposed the real us in his famous diatribe about the state of man’s heart.
Jeremiah 17:9 (The Message)
9"The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out.
Jeremiah 17:9 (New International Version)
9The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
Dark hearted. Deceitful. Despicable. It is not a flattering sketch of the human condition.
How hopeless is man’s heart?
A good example of this darkness is the new app out called “TigerText”. The creator’s of this application say it’s perfect for cheating spouses, shady politicians, sexting teens, and people who send a lot of stupid texts while drunk.
According to Time Magazine…
It works like this: when, say, a prominent politician sends his mistress an iPhone message via TigerText, the mistress will be prompted to install the app. When she has done so, she can read the message, but she can’t keep it. In fact, the message is never actually sent to her phone; it’s stored on TigerText’s servers. After the politician’s specified time span has elapsed — anywhere from one minute to five days — the message ceases to exist. There’s even a “delete on read” setting, which counts down from 60 after a message is opened and erases its text at zero.
For those who need an even more comprehensive way to cover their tracks, the “delete history” option will wipe away any evidence of a given phone call. No telltale suspicious numbers, no chance of getting caught out by the old “press redial” routine.
We go to infinite lengths to cover our deceit. We justify cheating. We wink at adultery and fornication to the point that even preachers are excused at no cost or price. In fact, the more they cheat the more people seem to want to listen to them. I have decided the fastest way to build a large church is sleep with your secretary, divorce your wife and refuse to go through any restoration process. You are almost guaranteed a TV show and huge following! We bend the truth without a second thought and tell half truths 90% of the time. We mistreat others and laugh it off and at times even boast about the pain we inflict. We witness pain and disease and simply turn the channel and go back to our comfortable environment and give it no more thought. And that is just the Christians. We worship with the same hands that we sin with. We sing with the same lips that spread rumors. We are caught up in the Paul’s saga of two-facedness! We are despicable.
It isn’t a pretty picture! We try to ignore the truth. We would rather just talk about prosperity, favor, blessings, authority, and the kingdom. However, the truth is that we have fooled ourselves into thinking that we can actually have those things while continuing to refuse to deal with our despicable side. So, what we have done is settle for substitutes for abundant life. If the bills are paid we call that abundant living. If our clothes are somewhat trendy we are satisfied and call that abundant living. If we have a house to sleep in we call that abundant living! But what about joy, peace, and the fruit of the Spirit?