Monday, May 4, 2009

Fire Away, Jerry

I'm in a book club of sorts. Our current selection is "Respectable Sins" by Jerry Bridges. I've become the procrastinating black sheep of the group, but for good reason. So good, in fact, that I'm shocked I'm the only procrastinator out of five. I open the book to our assigned chapter and instead of seeing words I see the barrel of a gun. As soon as I start reading the bullets fire... and Jerry's got good aim.

Every chapter has nearly convinced me to go into hiding, but it was the impatience/irritability chapter that really did me in. I found myself talking to the book.

"Jerry, don't act like you know me. I absolutely have good reasons to get impatient."

Here's what he said: "The actual cause of our impatience lies within our own hearts, in our own attitude of insisting that others around us conform to our expectations."


"The nerve! You don't know the causes of my impatience. Nope, it's not me."

There I was, getting irritated at the irritability chapter. He then went on to clarify what exactly he meant by impatience. "Impatience is a strong sense of annoyance at the (usually) unintentional faults and failures of others." Key problem word: unintentional. What sort of mean-spirited person gets impatient with someone totally innocent? I do.

It's times like these I wish I was on one side of a crowded room while the other I was on the other side. I would pretend I didn't know the other one, the ugh-ly one.

So what do we do when we feel so helplessly insufficient? Quit? Tempting, but hardly satisfying. Our ancient brother Paul wrote this in 2 Corinthians 11: "I will boast of the things that show my weakness." He also wrote these incredible words to the Philippians: "For {Christ's} sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith -- that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead."

Righteousness never originated with me, so why am I shocked to find filth when Jerry pulls back the curtain? The beautiful Jesus Christ is the one with the solution. He can not only forgive my offense, but he can and will replace it with his righteousness. Okay, there's the strength to carry on.

I'm glaring at the book sitting next to me now, and you're reading live procrastination. Book club is tomorrow, still need to finish my chapters and questions. What a strange thing Christianity is -- we enjoy, yes welcome, severe and difficult changes to our nature. But thank God it's not in vain. The purest beauty and freedom are what we get in exchange. We get Jesus Christ Himself! I'd say that's a pretty good trade. Alright, I'll go read.


  1. Found your blog just browsing.

    love this post. I identify with much of it.

    Proud to find other believers willing to put their faith on display.

  2. What a powerful title! That's pretty much what Jesus illustrated with the Pharisees, pulled their tiny rug of respectable sins from right under them.