Are you a victim of biology (nature)?
How about environment (nurture)…are you at the mercy of circumstance and/or others?
Ever since Eden we have sought to locate responsibility of our actions outside of our soul. “She made me do it.” “The snake deceived me.” And so it goes today. If we are “addicted” to anything it surely must be to our own glory. I am my own best public relations expert…just ask me. I tend to believe every bad choice is the fault of someone or something else; while conversely, every good decision must have come from me.
Indeed, I have even made an axiom to describe this propensity: We happily ascribe a level of sovereignty in our sin to Satan (or our spouse) that we begrudgingly grant to God in our salvation. “She made me angry…but I made myself believe.” And so it goes…we want excuses when it is our poor response (nature and nurture being too prime suspects) and we want accountability when it is another’s poor response.
Do not be allured by the lie of absolved responsibility…to place ultimate causal responsibility for your behavior at the feet of biology or circumstance is to doom oneself to life of slavery. It is slavery to live as a victim of your biology. Indeed, if you succumb to this subtle shift you will seek, as your savior, not Jesus, but medicines. Please hear me, medicines make great disease fighters BUT they make terrible sin Saviors.
There is hope, however, in taking responsibility for one’s behaviors. There is freedom and hope in owing your responses. Jesus dies to redeem you and your responses. There is a Savior from sin. Moreover, there is hope that you need not always respond as in the past. You can bring grace and mercy to any circumstance.
If you are a believer this truth is both a command and a consolation.
As to the command Paul writes, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God” (1 Thess 4:3-5). You never have to guess at God’s will for your life. Here is it: that you (the inner you, the immortal you, your soul) learn to control your body. You who have the Spirit and have had the power of sin broken are commanded to do what God has given grace to do.
Paul found this truth to be ever so sweet:
1 Corinthians 9:27
But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. Why? Why would he seek to control his body…well for the prize: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it” (1 Cor 9:24).
There is a prize awaiting all those that own their behavior and seek to bring that behavior ever more in line with God’s desires.
Practice these words: my body and circumstances are often the occasions of poor responses, but they are never ultimately the cause—I have only me to blame for my behavior.
Then cry out to a God of mercy for a change of desires to respond in a way that pleases Him.
10,000 Blessings in The Wonderful Counselor,
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