A Fool

“Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.” Proverbs 26:11

If I ever caught my parent’s dog returning to his vomit I would immediately yell out his name or push him away before he got to it. I am not sure if it’s curiosity, the smell, or maybe even the taste, but dogs naturally go back to their own throwup. It is a disturbing picture. How could they do that? Why would they do that? But are we any different

I know I’m not. In so many cases, I know I have not just returned to my own filth, but camped out, basked in the smell, and tried to eat from it. I have tried to live a healthy lifestyle, but in reality I’ve been consuming my very own waste. I am not proud of this. It brings shame, embarrassment, and absolute disgust, but it is the reality of my sinful nature.

I can relate to Paul in Romans 7:15, 17-20 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. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now 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.

Two weeks ago, God opened my eyes to a pattern that has been occurring over the last twelve years of my life. During my last two years of high school, I was in a relationship that ended before graduation. Afterwards, I moved to Chicago for college and the same thing occurred. Towards the end of my four years in college, I ended another two year relationship and moved away  to Los Angeles. It has been roughly four and a half years since I moved to Los Angeles, and in that time I was part of an on and off relationship. When that ended, I began  making plans to move to another state. As I mentioned in my “Take the Wheel” post, God intervened and made me realize I had some core issues to deal with: my engine–my character.

He showed me that I never learned how to deal with a break up, that I fear rejection and struggle with loneliness. He pointed out how I either run from one state to the next or I run from one relationship to another. I have been doing one of these two things for the past twelve years. I have coped with stress and trials through the comfort of women. I have continually returned to my own vomit (my habits) over and over and over again. Paul’s words in Romans sit deep in my heart. I feel broken, shattered, lost, weak and inadequate. I have come across shame and guilt more times than I can count, and the problem is that I am the one who caused it all. The sinful nature in me has been driving my desires when it comes to love, sex and relationships.

For the first time in twelve years, I am stopping to confront my insecurities face to face, and I’m surrendering them to God. God is bringing to light the dark corners of my life, and it’s not pretty. He is exposing all the mistakes I have made over the past twelve years. He is showing myself and others all the lies I have believed and said, the truth behind my desires, and He is showing me how dead I really am. God is revealing how lost I truly am without Him, and how my good deeds are still not good enough.

But the good news is that God can restore even the most broken places in our lives. Proverbs 24:16 says, “For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again…”   My good friend Micah Bournes also asked this question, “How is it that a RIGHTEOUS man can fall seven times?” He then proceeded to count it out.

“A righteous man falls…

A righteous man falls…

A righteous man falls…

A righteous man falls…

A righteous man falls…

A righteous man falls…

A righteous man falls…

…Yet he is still considered righteous, and he gets back up.” How is it that someone commits “the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing” and ends up writing thirteen letters in the New Testament? How is it that Samson, a man who lost it all to lust and sexual desires, is still mentioned in Hebrews 11, the chapter of faith?

Well, a man or woman is not considered righteous by what they do and then considered unrighteous because of what they don’t do. They are considered righteous because of how God views them. God sent His only Son to die on the cross for our sins. Jesus  took our shame and ugliness with Him. The innocence of Christ’s blood served as a payment for the sin in our hearts . He took the death we deserve to the cross and sealed our freedom  when He rose from the dead. Now, God views all His children not through the lens of sin, but through His risen Son. We have been made righteous in the eyes of God, although we did nothing to deserve it. What we do is not who we are, but who we are should result in obedience. So yes, a man can fall seven times and even seventy seven thousand times and still be considered righteous, because God’s grace is abundant and His love consumes us. There is nothing we can or cannot do to remove it.

Imagine  you are standing in front of a judge for a crime you committed. You are guilty, but the jury and the judge decide and declare you “not guilty.” It  does not matter what people say or what you think, because  you have been legally declared “not guilty,” therefore, that is your new state. God claims us “not guilty” through His Son, and that is our new state. Here’s the thing, this new state does not imply that you can leave and commit the same crime. Instead, we take on the new state and live according to it. Walking in that new state means we have the freedom to forgive, to love, to start over, to reconcile, to grow and to be used by God.

We must walk in that truth and respond with obedience to His love.

Like He did with me, what areas is God pointing out in your life where you feel shame? He wants to set you free!

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