You’re Not Your Shortcomings

At some point or another, we all feel unworthy. Of our job. Our friends or family. Someone else’s affection. Of God’s love.

I experience this whenever I let my shortcomings define me. I focus on my weaknesses–ignoring my God-given skills, talents, and blessings–and start to think “that’s all there is to me: flaws.”

The Bible calls those shortcomings something else: flesh (as in “the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit”; Galatians 5:17). Which seems to confirm that we’re all just big wads of failure. After all, we’re made of flesh, right? So if flesh is weak and sinful, and flesh is what I’m made of, then I’m made of weaknesses, faults, shortcomings, and sin.

Except that’s not true: we’re not just flesh. We’re souls, made by Almighty God the Creator, who inhabit flesh while on this earth.

I’ve come to think of my weaknesses this way: they’re the unwanted baggage that weighs down my soul, the same way unwanted fat weighs down my body when I eat too much and don’t work out.

We–the real we, our souls–enter this world pure. Untainted by the world. But we’re bombarded by temptation and, without exception, every one of us gives in at some point. We sin. And when we do, we accumulate a little extra weight. And if we keep sinning, we keep putting on the pounds. Have you ever seen someone so overweight that they can’t exercise? They’ve become trapped by their weight. There’s still a skinny person in there somewhere, but they’re masked by the evidence of their bad habits. That’s how a sinner’s soul must look to God: a perfect being with unlimited potential wrapped in a shroud of darkness.

The thing to remember, though, is no matter how far gone you are,  the real you is still there, intact, and fully capable of burning off the weight and returning to the form God intended for you. The longer it’s been since you exercised your muscles–either physically or spiritually–the harder it’s going to be to break the cycle, and the longer it’s probably going to take you to reach your peak shape. But it’s possible. With God, all things are possible.

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. (Romans 7:21-25, ESV)

 

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