READINGOld Testament: Jeremiah 17:19-27
Psalms: Psalms 97, 99, 100
New Testament: Romans 7:13-25
Gospel: John 6:16-27
Evening Psalms: Psalms 94, 95
“What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way,
but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise.”
(Romans 7:15, MSG)
Every day I am faced with choices. Each choice has potential consequences -- results that would cause me, given the advantage of hindsight, to act differently, but after the fact.
I believe this is a natural part of the human condition, but it doesn't diminish the emotional toll it has taken on my life. Do I go straight to work, or attend "Donuts with Dad" at my son's elementary school? Do I help my wife with an activity at church, or do I go to the gym? Do I spend time with a dear friend who just needs someone to talk to, or do I make my son's track meet? Do I stay late at work to impress my boss and show my commitment to my team, or do I make it home in time to be present for soccer practice?
In the case of my job, is this “sin” creeping in and tempting me to enjoy the self-actualization I achieve through work success and everything associated with it – the attention, increased authority, and potential promotions? If so, at what cost? I don’t need hindsight to answer that one: More time at work means less time for my family, friends, and community.
I do enjoy the attention at work, but I’ve come to realize that some of the choices I've made to further my career came at a price and didn't bring me the happiness I expected. In fact, the areas of my life I had neglected were much more important, and I regret all choices that caused any degree of neglect.
“So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it,
it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.”
(Romans 7:16 MSG )
I now recognize and appreciate the importance of keeping my life in balance, including my mental and physical health, my personal relationship with God, and my relationships with my family, my friends, my community, my church, and my work. Looking back at my life, when any one of these areas became a priority over the others, then it didn’t take long for me to feel overwhelmed with the stress and regret caused by my inattention to the other areas, thereby affecting my whole being and needing God’s command even more.