In the margin next to 1 Cor. 10:23, which reads,
I have written these words:
Others can, I cannot.
Remembering that phrase now and again has made a big difference in my ongoing redemption.
All of us have weaknesses. It is not a further sign of weakness, but rather one of strength, to recognize where those are in your life. It was a huge relief for me when I finally accepted the fact that because of the sins of my past the way I order my life in the present would need to be different. There are some things which I, along with the help of my wife, have determined might be fine for others, but not for us. Here are a few examples…
- We don’t have TV in our home. We will sometimes rent a movie which we know is safe for the whole family to watch, but gone are the days of sitting in front of the TV for hours on end watching whatever will entertain us. I recall a mentor of mine once saying, “I don’t watch TV because I’m more holy than you, but because I’m weaker. Put a remote control in my hand and in 4 hours I’ll be in a pig-sty!”
- We don’t listen to secular music. We used to listen to any music that entertained us without giving much thought to the lyrics. But I know now how the enemy can use even suggestive lyrics to take my mind down avenues it shouldn’t go. I have come to love and enjoy worship music. It feeds my soul and I can trust that it won’t fuel my flesh.
- Blogging. There was a time when I would blog about whatever seemed novel to me or provocative (which would get the most page hits) and I would visit numerous other blogs to leave my 2 cents. I have realized how much this fuels my pride. I have not always been consistent in this area, and so I’m grateful for my wife who from time to time will remind me that the world does not need to hear Chad Holtz’s opinion on every matter I disagree with. So it’s a good practice for me to read only blogs that seek to edify others, and I try to write in such a way that does the same.
These are just a few of the things that I have prayerfully concluded are not beneficial for me to take part in, though others might. Another quote I heard once that has helped me see my need is this:
For many of us, the depth to which we indulged in our sin is the same depth to which we need to indulge in holy living.
I was so deep in the pig-sty that my time on the other side has to be so deep in the things of God, lest I return to my vomit. The longer I walk this road, however, I find it to be a joy! Jesus has proven to be all I ever need, and so much more! It’s true: Taste and see that the Lord is good! What I once saw as restrictions I now see as liberation. What I once thought I could not do without I now find to be a joy to lay aside.
If you find yourself struggling in your walk outside of the pig-sty I challenge you to think through the things that you see others doing and have thought because they seem fine, you could do them, too. Consider the amount of energy and time you put into your addiction in the past. Are you putting that same energy into your walk with God? I promise that if you will, you will find the freedom, and the joy, God wants you to have.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus… (Heb. 12:1-2)
What are some things you have learned “Others can, I cannot”?