2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone [is] in Christ, [he is] a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. [NKJV]
It hasn’t been a good day. Oh, it started out well enough – worship, Bible teaching, ministering to others, good fellowship, great smoked fish tacos. But then he showed up again. I thought he was dead. He sure enough ought to be by now. The Holy Spirit of God dwelling within me ought to have snuffed him out long ago. He’s really easy to recognize for anybody who knows who I “really” am, that is the one I’m really supposed to be, the one who exhibits the fruits of the Spirit – ...love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… (Galatians 5:22-23 [NKJV]). Then just when I least expected it, today, he showed up with one of his works of the flesh. In this case it was his usual tried and true one – an outburst of wrath. His boss, the enemy, must have been overjoyed.
My disgusting behavior would be easy enough to rationalize. After all, the other guy’s gigantic pit bull had just finished attacking my little Terrier/Chihuahua mutt that I love so dearly, and the way she screamed, I thought she’d been done a serious injury, and so did everybody else who could hear her all up and down the beach. Never mind that my dog deserved everything she got, having provoked his with her annoying nipping and yapping like she always does to the bigger dogs. Most days, it’s all just cute, but today, things turned nasty in a hurry. When I kicked his dog, it was honestly just in the hopes of distracting it from mangling my little one, and onto me myself.
The other guy wasn’t a particularly lovable sort, either. That much is true enough. In fact, he acted pretty nasty, himself. But then again, he’s not supposed to be born again by the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit – I am. When the guy came right up into my face pushing me, yelling, suggesting that I might have had some sort of disgusting sexual relationship with my mother, and threatening to do me grievous bodily harm for kicking his dog, I could and should have responded as Jesus taught me…
Matthew 5:44-45“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven;” [NKJV]
But that’s not what I did, though. Despite all that God has taught me, I handed the guy back the same sort of hateful garbage that he was giving me – the same thing that has destroyed so much and killed so many since we lost the Garden. Even worse, I did it all in one of my famous t-shirts proclaiming the Holy Name of Jesus for all to see. And all this just a scant few days after admonishing you all right here on this blog about the true nature of taking the LORD’s Name in vain.
What a pitiful wretch I am. How can I pretend to proclaim anything to anyone about Jesus. As Paul reminds me…
Romans 2:21-24‘You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” as it is written.’ [NKJV]
Still, what can I do. What’s said is said, and what’s done is done. As Omar Khayyam wrote, “The moving finger writes; and, having writ, moves on: nor all thy piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line, nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.” All I can do is beg God’s (and your) forgiveness, and strive to be a better witness of His Gospel, tomorrow. As Paul tells us…
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” [NKJV]
1 John 1:9“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” [NKJV].
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