Can’t Sleep

It’s a quarter after three in the morning.22/ 365   IYHKYWU by Tilly Floss

I can’t sleep. I was just laying (lying…I’ll never get that right) in bed and reflecting on my life and how much damage I’ve done to myself and others in my life.

I was a pretty good guy, outwardly anyway. A nice guy. Friendly. Good attitude. Hardworking. Caring. Generous. But I liked to chase skirts… and I did a lot of damage. I used people. I hurt people. I really didn’t notice it much back then, but I sure notice it now.

Looking  back , I can see (and not all of it, I’m sure) the damage that I caused. I have helped to mess up a lot of people’s lives, some of whom are still close to me. Many are barely a memory. But the wreckage is real, and I did it.

I know that I’m forgiven for it all, but it still hurts and it’s still hurting others. It’s “the gift that just keeps giving” (sin is), so says my pastor.

So my advice to those of you out there who are engaged in things that are contrary to the will of God, is this; knock it off!. You may not be able to undo the damage you’ve already done, but you can surely help to keep yourself and others from more of the pain and suffering that is the hallmark of our selfishness.

And when you just can’t keep your nose out of it, know that you are just the type of person that Christ Jesus came for. You are a real sinner who’s never going to be able to fully keep his/her nose out of where it doesn’t belong. But by God’s grace, repent and believe yet once again. Believe that He really does love you and He really wants the best for you. He really does forgive you.

And if you just can’t seem to believe that fact 100% of the time, then return to your baptism each day and trust that what God has done there, is still doing there, is for you. Taste the bread and wine and know that He is with you, in you, working on you, continuing to forgive you. Continuing to keep you in His faith. Continuing to love real sinners. The kind that I was. The kind that I am. The kind that you are.

If you think you can lick this problem on your own, you are delusional. It ain’t gonna happen. If you think that you can gradually move towards sinlessness on some progressing sliding scale, you are delusional. That’s not going to happen, and it may make things a lot worse. (that exercise might turn you into a modern day Pharisee)

Sin is a part of you, and it will always be a part of you, even though by God’s grace, and or your hard work, you conquer some of it. Thanks be to God when you do!

But in Him you are spotless. In your baptism, “you have put on Christ”. Is that not good enough for you? It should be.  Take comfort in Him. Take comfort in our Savior who died for us “while we were yet sinners”.

Get off the God project! As my pastor says, it’s no fun anyway.

Live in Him. Repent and believe. Do the best that you can and try to do no harm. When you fail, ask forgiveness and trust that He will make you new, yet once again. 

 

Ok… back to bed.

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23 Responses

  1. I was trying to figure out when i wrote this. I mean I had to write it, it is what my heart says all the time. Sleep posting? Or perhaps we are brothers of a common flesh.

  2. Another insomniac midnight poster!? :)

    “Live in Him. Repent and believe.”

    After I’d wasted years as a Pharisee, the Lord has been gracious to point out to me that your simple statement is the essence of keeping His commandments.

    Believe that what the Law reveals about my nastiness is true. Believe that my only hope is in Christ’s life, death and resurrection power. And adopt a heart attitude of daily humble repentance—the taking up of our own cross–and teachability.

    It’s not rocket science, but is probably the single most humanly difficult (impossible) thing on the face of the earth……

  3. Steve,
    When some of us in the Misery synod talk about the third “use” of the law, and by use we mean function, we mean this:
    “So my advice to those of you out there who are engaged in things that are contrary to the will of God, is this; knock it off!. You may not be able to undo the damage you’ve already done, but you can surely help to keep yourself and others from more of the pain and suffering that is the hallmark of our selfishness.”
    That is the third function, the law working in you, not only to show you are a sinner, but to convince you to stop chasing skirts….
    Too bad the doctrine is so often abused to mean that other thing you are talking about, that sliding scale bit.
    But hey friend, next time you find yourself unable to sleep. Get up, say a prayer, write Pat a love note, thank God you are where you are. Sin sucks it ruins everyones life. Thank God for Christ and forgiveness.

  4. Bror,

    We might disagree on the “3rd use” thing (I believe that ‘knock it off’ is also in uses 1 & 2)…but I do appreciate the advice on doing something constructive when I can’t sleep. That’s a novel idea (for me)!

    “Thank God for Christ and forgiveness.”

    You said it, Bror!

    Ciao…off to the F&E salt mine.

    • Informing us of what we ought or ought not be doing is definitely a function of the law.

      I certainly agree with you, Bror.

      • Steve,
        I tend to agree with you that it is found in 1 and 2. I’m just saying that this is what the book of Concord means by it, and I’m o.k. with that. I take issue when the third use is turned into a way of putting us back under the law, as an excuse for us dogs to return to our vomit.

  5. The blogs that pound on holiness get me tied in a knot over all the things I do wrong and rarely seem to offer much hope of climbing back out of the pit of hopelessness they create.

    They raise my blood pressure and make me paranoid.

    I guess that means I need to “work harder” at resting in Christ?

    • Heather,
      I would just stop reading those “holiness” blogs. If they are turning you to your works as a source of holiness they are teaching false doctrine. Christ makes us Holy, The Holy Spirit sanctifies us, and he doesn’t do so because of our works. Rather he sanctifies our works, which otherwise would be as used Kotex in the sight of God. How would that make us holy?
      Forgiveness of sins, in the Gospel proclaimed, in Baptism, and in the Lord’s Supper, that is where holiness comes from, those are the sources of our sanctification, your holiness.

  6. Heather,

    I’d say that if the ‘holiness’ blogs do that to you, then you already are resting in Christ.

    Yiu are just feeling the effects of people trying to slap the shackles back on you, and you don’t like it.

  7. Thanks for the advice, guys. It does seem as though I’m driven to torture myself over all the ways I don’t deserve mercy. The Lord has been faithful to prompt my husband to point out the same path, so I do try to avoid the stuff I recognize as being legalistic.

    It is strange, though, how we all have certain weaknesses that tempt us away from the simple, basic truth that we absolutely need Jesus, and nothing else can serve as substitute.

    For some, it’s “works holiness” or the intellectual need to have a headful of Bible facts. For others, it’s “freedom in Christ” and a complete disregard for the fact that it’s our sin that required the blood of our Lord.

    • Heather what you hit upon here are really two ways of the flesh. It is our flesh that drives us to legalism just as it is our flesh that drives us to libertinism.
      Christians would fall into either of these camps even if they weren’t Christians. And their flesh manifests itself in these ways even after they become Christians because we can’t stop being sinners. We sin by doing “good,” and we sin by doing “bad.” We have to realize that before we can start balancing in the saddle a bit. We don’t want to use the gospel as a license for sin. But neither do we want to disregard the gospel and return to the law’s vomit of sanctification by works. To live a life of immoral gluttony is not Christian, neither is living a life of asceaticism. Both of these are of the flesh.
      But we do have freedom in Christ, and it is unchristian to rob someone of the joy of that. In Christ we are free to live, free to love. Without Christ we were not free to do this. Only in Christ are we free to love ourselves and our neighbors, to serve them without any motive but the love of Christ. True Christian freedom is about serving others in love, not about getting drunk on Friday night. Though I don’t blame people for taking their Christian freedom a bit to far when they are coming out of the bonds of legalism. It is natural for the rubberband to spring that way. I can wink at that a bit more than the legalism that says our salvation is dependent on us being good.

  8. “Heather what you hit upon here are really two ways of the flesh. It is our flesh that drives us to legalism just as it is our flesh that drives us to libertinism.”

    Isn’t that interesting? Left to our own efforts at wisdom and goodness, we get it wrong every time. Seems to me that is what the Bible teaches right from Genesis.

  9. Below a different kind of comfort regarding the evils perpetrated in the world by whomever, though I really like Bror’s advice to do something constructive.

    From the Treasure of Daily Prayer from yesterday, Dec. 28, Day of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs (Herod kills the babes of Bethlehem). From Martin Luther (commentary on Genesis):

    “We resist evil with the ministry of Word and sword, and yet, the evils which cannot be averted we bear to our great advantage but to their detriment and destruction.

    In regard to this line of thought there is also a celebrated dictum of Gregory: ‘The ungodly do good to us by doing evil.’ And Augustine says of the infants slain by Herod that an enemy with his whole strength and all the resources of his kingdom could not have benefited the children more than by killing them.

    Accordingly, God humbles those who are His to exalt them; He kills them to makes them alive; He confounds them to glorify them; He makes them subject to raise them up.”

    (Then he goes into the grossness of death and the glory of resurrection.)

    That IS a tough saying. The Lord’s good and gracious will be done.

    If we are the ones through whom evil has come, which there is some from all of us (remember Paul, the “least of the apostles”), then we will still pray that his will be done and certainly his will is that we repent, repair what can be repaired, and believe his good grace towards us and towards those whom we have injured and those who injure us.

  10. http://centralityofthegospel.wordpress.com/2009/12/17/dont-manage-your-problems/

    Hey Steve,

    The Gospel freedom allows us to honest with our stories.

    This may be where I see a “non-Lutheran” human response to the Gospel… in our sin we become living stories and testimonies for Jesus Christ showing the glory of the cross.

  11. Bror, Heather,

    right on my brother and sister!

  12. Die Anfechtung…you gotta love it! It’s good for you to feel it! Bring it on!

  13. Excellent advice, Steve.

  14. Keep it up Steve!

  15. I’ll admit that I sometimes think you’re a bit “weird” and hypersensitive about grace vs. works, but I really love this blog, and the following was pure gold:

    If you think you can lick this problem on your own, you are delusional. It ain’t gonna happen. If you think that you can gradually move towards sinlessness on some progressing sliding scale, you are delusional.

    Great stuff, and just what I needed to hear.

  16. Joshua,

    I think you are right, my friend…I am a bit weird!

    I do focus on the grace side of the equation. I guess so that I don’t start to get “religious” (overly pious) and have that kind of weirdness, also.

    I have been around those types of folks and if I ever get that way, I would hope that someone slaps me upside the head.

    (can’t sleep…again)

    – Steve

  17. Yeah, “weird” is good. :-) I have plenty of weird, myself. Your posts always challenge me and make me think.

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