Unconquerable Imperfections

There exists a life/faith coping pattern familiar to most of us. The pattern goes something like this:

Sin…confess…sin…confess…sin…confess…

Common to that equation is a single type of sin. You have yours, I have mine. The Bible speaks to “the thorn in our flesh”. Or “Sin common to man”. At lunch a few days ago I listened to my buddy tell me how desperate he is to shake the one sin that has plagued him most of his life. As I listened, I couldn’t help but to take sin inventory of my own life. Sure enough, the thorn I battle came forefront to my thoughts.

Ever wonder why certain sins remain a constant in our faith journey?

The typical Sunday School answers:

  • – You have not gotten to the end of your rope yet. When you do, things will change.
  • – You have not truly repented.
  • – You must have no accountability in your life.
  • – Just let go and let God.

All of the above are valid and certain in our battle. But for me, something is missing.

So I read and studied more, searching for answers. The Holy Spirit led me to the writings of Pastor Kevin Miller. In his research through classic faith writings he came across Francois Fenelon, a Christian spiritual adviser in the 1600’s. Francois wrote:

“Sometimes God leaves people with certain unconquerable imperfections…”

Could that be true? A God that loves us…would He do that? Why?

“…in order to deprive them of all inward self-satisfaction. Self-reliance, even in the matter of curing one’s faults, fosters a hidden conceit.”

Hmmm. If we were successful in overcoming our primary fault, that could lead to pride. I think God is more concerned with our prideful heart than our unconquerable imperfections. Miller says “In order to stab our pride, He may leave those imperfections in our life, for a time, to make us humble, to cause us to throw ourselves in frustration, upon God.”

God can even use our faults for good. Fenelon wrote “Let us profit by the faults we have committed, through the humble consciousness of our weakness, without discouragement.”

Our persistent failings bring us humility, and that’s spiritually beneficial as long as we persevere.

So what?

If you are struggling with a persistent sin, take heart. God is at work. Perhaps God is more after your humility than the sin itself. Consider what Francis de Sales wrote in his spiritual classic Introduction to the Devout Life, “For the furtherance of humility, it is needful that we sometimes find ourselves worsted in this spiritual battle. We shall never be conquered until we lose either life or courage.”

Take courage in your battle. Do not give up the fight, for humility is your reward.

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Jaime on May 1, 2008 at 10:23 AM

    Thanks Roy, I needed to read this one today!

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