Summary: We often mess up our Christian lives, not because we are malicious or evil, but because we are frail and needy. We need a power beyond ourselves to win that fight. We need something that is bigger than we are.
Betwixt and Between
As Christians, each of us will experience struggle. We will struggle when we know the right thing to say or do, but we just cannot do it. It may be due to our pride, or a principle, or we are angry, or we just can’t accept a different perspective. We know something is wrong, but we are caught betwixt and between and it is so tough.
It is just like when God told Jonah to go to Nineveh, but he decided to go the other way to Tarshish. Jonah knew the right thing to do, but he went his own way.
Have you ever been caught in a place where you knew what God was asking you to do, but you did something else instead? In the midst of it, you know what you are doing isn’t right, but you can’t stop. There is a power struggle going on inside of you and you are caught in between.
Where’s My Money?
It is just like this gangster whose bookie owed him $100,000. The bookie was deaf, so the gangster took along his accountant who knew sign language. He burst into the bookie’s office and said, “Tell this guy to give me my money!”
The accountant signed, “He wants his money.”
The bookie signed, “I don’t know where his money is.”
The accountant said, “Boss, he doesn’t know where your money is.”
“Ask him to tell me where my money is or I’ll kill him!”
The accountant dutifully signed, “He said that he means business. Where is his money?”
“I don’t know where his money is!” the bookie signed back.
“Boss, he said he doesn’t know where your money is.”
The gangster pulled out a big gun and cocked the hammer. He threatened, “Tell him I’m going to blow his brains out if he doesn’t tell me right now!”
The accountant signed, “Whoa, this guy means business. You better tell him or he is going to blow your brains out.”
The bookie signed back, “OK, OK, don’t shoot me! It is downstairs in the bottom left drawer of my desk.”
The accountant interpreted for the gangster, “He says he thinks you are an idiot and you don’t have the guts to blow his brains out!”
You see, when we are caught in-between, what do we do? It is a tough one. We get hold of something and we can’t let it go. It may be due to anger or pride, but we cannot let it go. We know it is ruining our marriage, but it is the principle of the thing! We are caught in-between! It is so stupid! We have a hold of something and it has a hold of us. Since we will all go through such struggles, we have to learn how to win.
Ring-tailed monkeys in Africa are a delicacy to the Zulus, but they are extremely difficult to catch because they are so agile. The Zulus found a way to do it. They get a gourd or a coconut and drill a little hole in it, just big enough for the monkeys to get their hands in. They hollow it out and put cooked rice into it. Then they tie a rope in the bottom to the base of a tree.
The monkeys come out of the tree and climb down because they smell the rice. They stick their hand in the gourd or coconut and grab the rice. But when they make a fist, they cannot get their hand out. They run up the tree until they come to the end of the rope. Then boing! They fall down! They still do not let go of the rice. Again and again, they run up, then boing! They fall down but continue to hold on to the rice. When the Zulus come along, they hit the monkeys. Kaboom! They then have monkey stew . . . with rice!
Isn’t that just like us sometimes? We get a hold of something and we just won’t let it go, even though we know it is killing us. It is messing up our relationship with our spouse and we are burning bridges with others, but our pride will not allow us to let go and we are caught in-between. We love God and we want God’s best. Yet, we wonder, “What am I doing?”
Power to Overcome
We often mess up our Christian lives, not because we are malicious or evil, but because we are frail and needy. We need a power beyond ourselves to win that fight. We need something that is bigger than we are. We need a power that is stronger than what we can conjure up on our own.
The Apostle Paul knew exactly what we are going through. He wrote: