Why do we do what we do? Is it some innate nature, is it a function of environmental stimulus, or some combination of the two? I'm not about to rehash the entire philosophical debate. First, I don't have the training (which could be a good thing). Second, I don't have the time.
But, I am struggling with this. I know, in an intellectual sense, things that I should be doing (that are putatively good for me), and things that I shouldn't be doing (that are putatively bad for me). But apparently, I don't know them in an instinctual sense. Or, rather, I do know them instintctually, but my reptilian brain and logical brain are cross-wired. It's like the Apostle Paul says in Romans 7:15: "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." (emphasis mine)
Is it selfishness? Apathy? Laziness? Our sinful nature? Hedonism? Why is it that we (or at least I) constantly do those things that we know we ought not? And as to the last question, why is it that it does seem more linked to a hedonistic lifestyle? We drink too much, eat too much, buy too much, just do too much!!!
Whatever happened to self-control? 1 Corinthians 9:25 admonishes us that "[e]very athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable." Why is it so difficult for us to exercise that self-control, that moderation? The reward we have in Christ is so much greater than any temporal recognition, yet we would rather strive for that.
Why is it so difficult for me?
I tell myself over and over and over again "I won't do that anymore" or "I will do that on a regular basis", and I can make it stick for a week or two, maybe. But after that, I'm back to the same old ways. The one area where that's not been the case has been with smoking. I have been successful in quitting that, and I'm proud of myself for it. Yet, other changes I wanted to make at the same time have eluded me.
I drink too much.
I eat too much.
I work too much.
I don't exercise enough.
I don't study the scriptures enough.
I don't pray enough.
I don't worship enough.
I don't laugh enough.
I don't play enough.
I don't shoot enough.
I have my priorities backwards. Or, rather, my two selves war with each other over my priorities, and the hedonist continues to win. I've tried setting new year's resolutions, goals, targets, what have you, but that hasn't worked.
It's time to get serious. It's time to be the person that God has intended for me to be. It's time to to renew the pursuits of my true eternal passions, and not the ephemeral longings of a broken nature.
I invite you to follow along on my journey, and perhaps to embark on a similar one yourself. Please, let me know in the comments or via email if you are on a similar journey. Accountability is a wonderful thing, a necessary thing, on a long, hard trek such as this.