Have you ever found yourself saying something like this:
- Crumbs don’t have any calories. Hahaha (as you eat them).
- I know this junk food is bad for me, but doesn’t God want us to enjoy ourselves?
- One little puff won’t hurt.
- If I say I’m sorry, they’ll take advantage of me.
- If I confess that I did something wrong, they’ll hate me.
- I know this diet soda is bad for me. They say it kills brain cells, and I don’t have any to spare, hahaha, but I’m going to drink it anyway.
- Mom and Dad don’t want me to go to that party, but they just don’t understand.
- I know I’m supposed to take the dog out, but Mom will do it if I don’t.
- Mom said I’m supposed to clean my room, but this Minecraft world, I have to finish it!
- I know God wants me to tell others about His good news of salvation, but if I do, they might laugh at me.
I’ve been guilty of a few of these; how about you?
So, what does God say about these attitudes?
“Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” James 4:17 NASB
That’s pretty plain and straightforward! Ouch!
We know the right thing to do, but we don’t really want to do it, or we really want to do the wrong thing because it appeals to our fleshly desires, so we rationalize.
This is one form of arguing with God, and He commands us to:
“Do everything without complaining or arguing.” Philippians 2:14
His Holy Spirit is trying to tell us what to do, and we are mentally arguing with Him. We don’t like what He is saying, and our pride kicks in to give us the audacity (or blindness) to actually think we can win an argument with God. I’ve learned from experience that this is a bad idea, but sometimes I still do it.
So what can we do to overcome this?
First, be sure you know what the Bible says about the issue.
Then talk to God about your struggle. He knows about it anyway. He’s right there trying to talk to you about doing the right thing. Show Him the honor that He is due and ask for His help.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 NKJV
(The Jubilee Bible 2000 uses the word reasonings instead of arguments, important because rationalizing involves reasoning away what you know to be right or true.)
What does it mean to take a thought captive and make it obedient to Christ?
Let’s say you are struggling with gluttony, and you really want that third bowl of ice cream. You know you shouldn’t have it, but you REALLY want it.
So, you start talking to God about it. Your conversation, according to this verse, might go something like this:
“Jesus, I really want another bowl of ice cream, but You have said in your word that gluttony is a sin, and I’m sorry that I’m wanting to do this sin, but I’m really struggling here. I need your help. You also said that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and you want Your temple to be consecrated to you. I bring to you these thoughts of disobedience to what I know you want me to do. I surrender them to You. I give You these thoughts and bow to Your authority. You are God and I am not. I choose to obey You. Please help me, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” First Corinthians 15:57