Sunday, March 14, 2010

Overcorrection


Ok, this is Daylight Savings Time Sunday. One of the most confusing Sundays of the year. And, I am confused. I set my watch forward last night and my phone and I turned off the auto-set feature in my iPhone's settings so that it would not jump ahead, but something happened. Somehow in the confusion of this morning, I have now found myself springing ahead two hours rather than one. The result? I am sitting patiently in my study waiting for people to arrive at church. On this DST Sunday, I WILL NOT BE LATE! That is good, since I am the pastor. I have way overcorrected.

Sometimes we do that with God. We overcorrect and think that in doing so we are pleasing Him. If someone else gives 10%, we'll give 15%. If someone else gets there early to pray for worship services, we'll get there before them. If God says don't commit adultery, we'll take a vow of celibacy forever.

Granted, most of us don't have that problem, but some of us do. And, most of us have it periodically. We're like those whose spiritual mantra is "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," (Colossians 2:21). There are some things that we are supposed to "do not." But, making "do not" our goal will just lead to failure. Paul said that these things "have the appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh." (Col. 2:23). I don't mean to throw stones, but the vow of celibacy that some clerics in some religious groups have been required to take have done little to stem the tide of sexual abuse by those same clergy.

Overcorrection is not the answer. It's one of the most common reasons people have automobile accidents and it will lead to a wrecked life, too. The answer is not focusing on what we should "not" do, but rather focusing on who we "should" follow, and Paul summed it up this way, "Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." (Gal. 5:16) Understand this. Our old nature will always prefer the flesh over the spirit, because we want to think we are in control and that we can control our sin by our own effort. It just doesn't work.



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