He kisses his wife goodbye for the weekend and jumps in his car. John is spending the weekend away from his family and his church for the first time in
years. As soon as he leaves the city limits something clicks in his brain that screams, “I am free. I can do whatever I want. I don’t have to be the guy who is always carrying everyone else’s burdens. I don’t have to be John the Pastor. I don’t have to be John.” Checking into his hotel room John searches the bar for anything or anyone interesting. Completely out of his environment his personality and motives morph into a totally different person. In the next 24 hours John will make choices that impact his family, church, and future.
Why is it at times when we are removed from the accountability of everything that comes with home we can feel as if we have a free pass to act out? How do we turn into a completely different person? I would argue that is it not really you at all. In these moments our sinful nature can gain control of our lives and pull us into a world we desperately want to avoid. The sin has caused our minds to go numb and we start making stupid choices.
“So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. 15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. 18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.” [ROMANS 7:14- 20]
Paul outlines the frustration well. I don’t want to be controlled by sin but it takes over. It is stronger then I am. I fight only to lose over and over again. What it is that can help me? Paul’s conclusion is found in verse 25, “Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question? 25 The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does.” When leaving town be prepared for sin to start whispering in your ear.
1. Bring a physical reminder that you may be leaving your family and your church but you cannot escape Jesus (Jesus Action Figure works well). He
is going with you.
2. Call home every 3 hours – hold closely those you love.
3. Have a friend call the hotel you are staying at ahead of your arrival, pretend to be you, and ask them to lock the adult channels before you arrive.
4. Don’t stay out late alone. Get some sleep.
5. Read your bible to start and close the day.