"As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly." (Proverbs 26:11, NIV)
That's GROSS! Ewwwww... The image described in this verse isn't one you would discuss over the dinner table. Then again, after this blog read, you might consider it.
In this morning's reading, I ran across John Wesley's take on redemption. He believed a real danger existed in women and men who were freed from their sins through Jesus Christ, then turned and went back into a life of bondage and sin. Why would a person choose doubt, futility, unrest, and uncertainty over life, hope, joy, peace, and assurance? Most likely, the same reason a dog would eat something, get sick, regurgatate, and then consume the stuff again...
We struggle with freedom and that isn't a new issue. Adam and Eve were given freedom and latitude to live and thrive in the Garden of Eden and their decision making brought pain, separation, and punishment. It always seems to come back to our choices and motivations for making the same.
Discontented to live within God's ongoing process of refinement, known to us as sanctification, often leads us away from God's ideal toward our pile of vomit. This idea of living holy lives is too difficult. I mean really, how can I engage all the vile humor on TV, gratuitous violence and sex in the movies, and macabre action in my video games and be holy like God (“Be holy, because I am holy.”) 1 Peter 1:16b and Leviticus 11:44b, NIV)?
We're talking about heart issues here. Our hearts are pointed toward earthly desires, those that make us feel good and feed our carnal nature. Jesus Christ resisted those temptations and presented himself as the perfect sacrifice for our sin. We, by returning to our vomit (sins), sniff and scoff at Jesus and His love in action thereby reducing our life to a revolving cycle that we can't escape.
Rather than move toward perfection in this life, we choose to walk in darkened places filled with what we perceive to be fun things. Those fun things under closer scrutiny are eroding our profession of faith into an amusement ride known as the "Tilt-a-Whirl". Round and round we go. The thrill is intoxicating. My "Tilt-a-Whirl" experience has almost always included a bout of dizzying sickness that makes me feel like hurling!
God won't make us come back to him and will allow us to return to our sin. We have to come to our senses and return to God's hand of grace through Jesus. Are you struggling with destructive cycles of living? Stop! Reinvest your heart into God's care and begin (again) the journey of faith development and spiritual maturation that leads one to places of life, hope, joy, peace, and assurance. Claim God's power and use it to help you make this shift in your faith journey. Do it today!