I was sitting around with some friends yesterday (yes, I do have friends!), and we were talking about resisting temptation. Well, we were all talking about being strong, and standing firm, and making a commitment, and giving God our all, and loving Him with our whole hearts, fighting the good fight without wavering, etc, etc, etc.
Oh, how comforting such words seem. We mean them when we say them, too. Our hearts deceive us into thinking there is no ventricle of doubt in them, no dividedness, and that we really are for once whole-hearted, single-minded, and have all the strength of our convictions.
I've said it before here, and I suppose I'll say it countless times again. Our all is never good enough. To even speak of all-ness is to play the fool, for we are never unconflicted at heart, never pure, never free of second, third, and fourth thoughts, motivations, etc. Our strength is not strong enough. Our will is not firm enough. Our love for God is not pure enough--to build our hope on these is to build in vain. I am telling you, boys and girls, don't fall for your own press-clippings!
The fellow I most relate to in the New Testament is the formerly blind man who cried out to Jesus, "I believe, help thou my unbelief." Yes, and I am strong, help thou my weakness. I am committed to following hard after you, oh but help thou my waywardness. The way up is still downward. Our strength is still quite literally in weakness. Our can-do spirit just gets in the way. Give me a can't-do spirit, so that God can speak his, "No, son, you can't, but I can!"
This morning I tried my hand at a little poem. Here it is:
I cannot master me.
Oh, I would give my all, and yet my all
evades my grasp, eludes my fine intentions--
my heart confounds my every sound conviction,
and secret sin bedevils all my thought.
I do not know myself.
I would be strong, stand firm, fight hard,
and yet my will proves wavering, and all my hope
is hope mislaid--so yet again I find
I lead myself astray.
Lord, help thou my unbelief.
Be thou my brave-heart, my strong-will, my warrior king!
Let me not put hope where hope is always vain,
but be my only worthiness, my everything.
Let me be weak in your strong name.
Silence my pitter-patter tongue.
I come before a shining king and also a lamb slain;
angels and rainbows accompany his reign.
Let his shed blood speak for me
its better name.
"Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall." 1Cor 10:12