As I evaluate my goals for the rest of this year (which I typically do with one quarter remaining in the year), I’ve also been evaluating my own Christian journey as well. I realize I’ve sometimes tried to convince myself with excuses and rationalizations that my actions or choices are proper—and only God in His gracious love still continually convicts, challenges, and changes me. Maybe you tend to think at least one of these ways, too:
- My lone ranger approach to Christianity is really just a product of my personality. That may be part of it, but my solo approach is more a product of my fallenness and my pride than it is my personality.
- My being a procrastinator actually makes my work stronger because I get so focused toward the deadline. No, it doesn’t. My work is stronger when I have plenty of time for reviewing, re-writing, and re-writing again.
- My upbringing with an angry father gives me legitimate reason to be angry myself. Regardless of how I was raised—and without denying the fact that our upbringing does indeed affect how we love—I’m still responsible for my own actions and reactions today.
- My lack of a Christian male role model in my home cuts me some slack regarding if/how I love Pam as Christ loves the church. It doesn’t free me from responsibility; it simply means I have to work harder at it than others raised in a Christian home might.
- My training students and local churches as a professor of evangelism lets me off the hook a bit about doing personal evangelism. It does not. No matter how I consider it, I lose credibility if I’m not first doing personal evangelism simply because I love Jesus and want others to know Him.
- I’ve preached for enough years that I don’t really need anyone to evaluate my sermons. After all, I’ve been preaching longer than some pastors have been alive! On the other hand, long-term preaching sometimes leads to boring, stagnant, repetitive, and non-growing preaching. I need help not to go there.
- The reality of global lostness means I must do God’s work urgently and passionately now, while only hoping that rest will eventually come. Urgency is good and necessary; workaholism is not. The latter can, in fact, be idolatry. Likewise, ministry without rest can eventually lead to exhaustion and sidelining.
- Because I work in multiple ministry roles, it’s understandable that I’m sometimes caught in the Christian “bubble.” It may be understandable, but it’s not acceptable. I’ve been so burdened about this issue that I wrote a little e-book called, Lord, I’m Caught in the Bubble (now available free through Church Answers).
What excuses and rationalizations do you recognize in your own life?