Sunday, August 1, 2010


Sometimes when I read the Bible, I assume that the people who wrote it had everything figured out. They seem so smart. I read their words and their stories and I am amazed at the things they do and say. These men killed giants with stones and parted seas with sticks. They built massive sea vessels without power tools and left entire buildings in piles of rubble with brute strength. They were swallowed by giant fish and lived to tell about it. They ate locusts. They endured years of exile in deserts. They survived lion’s dens. They walked through fire. They walked on water. I mean, Bear Grylls had nothing on these guys!

So many times I have read these stories and they’ve left me with a feeling of inferiority. I’ve never done anything that even compares to what these guys did. Seriously, I think the most amazing thing that I’ve done thus far in my life is… not die. These men outdid anything any guy on Discovery channel has ever done, and those Discovery channel guys make most guys look like as much of a man as Clay Aiken. That being said, these men were remarkable. These men were incredible. They were spectacular.

However, there is something else that I notice about a lot of these men. In the midst of their awesomeness and everything they did right, they still made mistakes. No matter how hard we try to make them seem like heroes, they were not invincible. Outside of God, they had no power. They were not super human, they were simply human.

David killed lions and bears, battled and defeated Goliath, became king as a young man, was called “a man after God’s own heart”, and yet he committed lust, adultery, and murder. Jonah converted an entire city but only after he tried to run away from God and was thrown in the ocean and eaten by a gargantuan marine animal. Noah built this awesome boat and saved all of mankind, but then, just a few verses later he throws down some wine, lays around naked, and curses his son. Moses doubted God. Job questioned God. Samson disobeyed God. Peter denied God. Wait a minute, these guys don’t seem so amazing anymore. Honestly, they seem a lot more like ME.

This is my favorite thing about the Bible. All the bad stuff could have been left out, but it wasn’t. All of the mistakes and blunders these guys made could have been edited and removed, but they weren’t. I am so thankful for this. Now, instead of reading stories about perfect, angelic robots that seem to be controlled with some sort of heavenly remote control, I get to read about guys that can do amazing things and still be like me--flawed, doubtful, and human. They made mistakes--like me. They had questions--like me. They didn’t have it all figured out and I’m so glad! This gives me hope! This gives us all hope!

One of my favorite men of the Bible is Paul; the man who wrote a huge portion of the New Testament. He is quoted more than any other author of the Bible. In fact, most of the song lyrics that are sung in churches today are actually taken right out of Paul‘s writings. He is the most notable of early Christian leaders. Since the beginnings of the church, Christians have looked to his letters to guide their religious practice. His writings are encouraging, informative, and full of wisdom. He was beaten, imprisoned, and ridiculed. yet he remained faithful and strong. However, just like all the other men I mentioned, he was still human.

I love Paul because he was honest. He wasn’t trying to prove anything, instead, he was always transparent. In 2 Corinthians 11, he even admits to talking like a fool and says that he “must be a mad man to be talking like this.” He even sheds a little humility in order to boast about his sufferings for Christ. Saying that he has been beaten worse than Rodney King on several occasions, arrested more than Michael Irvin and Mel Gibson combined, and exposed to death more than Rosie O‘Donnel’s leapfrog partner. He even says that because of this he is more of a servant of Christ than any others! That’s pretty bold. Frequently, Paul showed frustration and even anger. He didn’t know everything, and he admitted it. He had no problem confessing his flaws and weaknesses. He was undeniably and admittedly human. And for these reasons, I love the guy.

After reading all of Paul’s writings, there is one statement he made in particular that stands out to me. In what I consider to be one of the most beautiful of all the scriptures in the Bible, Paul again exposes his imperfection and humanness in Romans 7:15 when he says, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate, I do.” Read that again and remember this is the Apostle Paul! “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate, I do.” Wow... It’s so simple, but yet so profound. It’s so honest. It’s so… ME.

Paul helped me see that life really can be seen as being comprised of two things: things I want to do, and things I don’t want to do. I want to do make the right decisions. I want to succeed. I want to be prosperous. But, I don’t want to make mistakes, I don’t want to fail, and I don’t want to struggle. These are things that we all can agree on.

Paul was speaking of his struggles with sin when he wrote these words. He knew there was things he shouldn’t do, but he did them anyway. And the things he knew that he should do, he didn’t. I’ve always read this scripture and accepted it for what it was, but a couple of days ago I read it in a completely different way. I realized something for the first time. And it blew my mind.

Before, I have read this verse in context and attached the negative message to it, but there is another way of looking at it. Sometimes when you do what you don’t want to do, you’re actually doing what is right. The same words that Paul used to describe his sin can easily be applied to a person that is doing the right thing. Allow me to explain.

Have you ever wanted something so bad, I mean really bad, wanted it with all of your heart but you knew that it was not what God wanted, so you gave it up for His sake? That’s doing what you don’t want to do and still doing what is right. Have you ever wanted to be with someone so much that it hurts thinking about not having them, but you think that God doesn’t want you in that relationship right now, so you reluctantly let it go? That’s doing what you hate. Truthfully, it sucks. But if you really think it’s the right thing to do, do it. Even when it leaves you hurt. Even when it leaves you lonely. Even when your criticized. Bodie Thoene once said, “What is right is often forgotten by what is convenient.” A truth that I am constantly trying to avoid.

Most of the time, these blogs are me preaching to myself. I write about it, because I am living it. This one is no different. Recently, I have had to make some tough decisions. Decisions that I did not want to make and that have left me feeling empty. I have been struggling with thoughts of doubt, thinking that I have made a mistake. I feel bad. I am worried. I did not do what I wanted to do, but I think it was a good thing. I hate the decision I made, but I hope so desperately that it is really what God wanted. I like to call these “Grown Man Decisions.” Decisions not led by emotion or desire, but wisdom.

Most of us just want to do what is right, but the frightening thing is, many times we’re not even sure what that is. Just like the people in the Bible, we don’t have all the answers and we will make mistakes. But apparently, that’s OK.

Making a wrong decision is understandable, but not trying to make a good decision is not.

And I think I’ll leave it at that.

This blog was not quit as encouraging and funny as some of my others, I know. But I needed to write it, because I needed to read it. Thanks for reading!