It’s easy to look around at others and see where they’re messing up, but for some reason we can’t see our own. One thing I’ve noticed more and more as I get older is we really are the same at the root. Although each of us may have a pet sin or a seemingly different “hang-up” when it comes right down to it we’re the same.
If you picture a tree and its many branches you’ll see what I mean. While your tree may be full of branches such as lying and gambling mine may be drunkenness and stealing. Although from the outside we may appear very different the cause of these behaviors originate from the same source.
When Adam and Eve declared their independence from God they inadvertently joined themselves with another. Ephesians 2 tells us we are all by nature children of wrath because we have joined up with the “prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience.” The spirit that is at work in the lost person is the true root cause of the lying, gambling, drunkenness and stealing. In our desire to be independent we were deceived by this “prince” who became our new fruit producer.
The nature of being deceived means we don’t even know we’ve been invaded by this lying spirit. God, of course, knew we were in the dark about our real problem, so he put a plan into action to open our eyes. He knew we thought we were pretty good and we thought we could do good and avoid evil. After all we believed the lie that we could be “like God.” So God decided to put us to the test by giving us his commandments. In essence he was saying to us “you think you can be like me go ahead and give it a try, do these ten commandments.” Foolishly we said, “Whatever you say we’ll do” and we set about to “do” them.
You see the idea is for us to give being “like God” time to run its course until we finally come to the conclusion that we can’t. After a sufficient amount of not doing what we want to do and doing the very thing we don’t want to, we might cry out for deliverance. It seems this is the only way any of us ever come to see our helpless state. Once we try and fail enough there comes a time when we are so exhausted from our own efforts that we’ll finally look to Christ.
For some of us it may be jail, divorce, the hospital, funeral home or losing someone very dear to us. There are many, many ways we can come to the conclusion God already knows must come. You see he has known our condition all along and understood it would take a significant shaking to awaken most of us. It is only after we have gone the wrong way that we learn of our real predicament. We tend to have to taste the “fruit of our own way, and be filled with our own devices” first. Finally we find ourselves cornered with absolutely no energy left and we give in.