Most of us have heard Einstein’s definition of insanity, “doing the same things over and over, but expecting different results.” There’s no way to argue with this point of fact. It is a truth like 2 + 2 = 4. There’s no changing it.
However, it seems that no matter how much I agree, I find myself trying to change this fact by the way I live. In the south we call it “beating your head against a wall.” In a sense, I myself am the definition of insanity.
The best way for me to describe this in my life is to talk about my process of dieting. I’ll eat right for a few days, lose a few pounds, feel good about myself, give myself “permission” to splurge, and then “take a couple of days off” assuming that it won’t hurt me. That leads to a weekend where I proclaim, “Monday is a great day to start back again.” A week later when I step on the scales, there it is–the truth!! Insanity strikes again!
We do the same thing spiritually. We vacillate between good and bad, doing the right things and allowing the wrong into our lives.
Here’s the way Paul described it,
“We know that the law is spiritual, but I am not spiritual since sin rules me as if I were its slave. I do not understand the things I do. I do not do what I want to do, and I do the things I hate.” –Romans 7:14-15 NCV
This is THE spiritual struggle. We all find ourselves in it. The question is, “How do we escape this pattern?”
It’s really all about how we THINK. As Paul continues to write he says,
“If people’s thinking is controlled by the sinful self, there is death. But if their thinking is controlled by the Spirit, there is life and peace.” –Romans 8:6 NCV
But how do we get to this kind of thinking? Is it really about choice? Is it really about lifestyle? What is it that compels some to be successful in their thinking and others to fail? Why can I not always choose the right thing?
I think it’s less about my will to “think” and more who is in control of my spiritual mind. Our very power to be and to do what God has called us to is wrapped up in the power of the one who rules us. Listen to Paul’s answer again.
But you are not ruled by your sinful selves. You are ruled by the Spirit, if that Spirit of God really lives in you. But the person who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Christ. 10 Your body will always be dead because of sin. But if Christ is in you, then the Spirit gives you life, because Christ made you right with God.” –Romans 8:9-10 NCV
Thanks be to God for Him giving us Jesus–the very power who helps us get out of this insanity.