Why do I keep on making the same mistakes time after time?

Stephen Baker, Manchester

QUESTION

Why do I keep on making the same mistakes time after time?

ANSWER

If you are like me you will constantly be making the same mistakes and often doing things time and time again that you know are not pleasing to the Lord. We often get the impression that Christians are people who do not regularly make mistakes and that they are usually very quick learners. It always seems to be other Christians that we see living that way. When we look within we are not like that.

I would beg to differ and to suggest that people who give the impression that they rarely make mistakes and that they usually learn lessons the first time are either the exception or not being entirely truthful. A cursory glance at the scriptures will enable us to find example after example of people who struggled to learn the lessons that God was teaching them. They are also often the same people who repeatedly made mistakes.

Consider Abraham. In Genesis chapter 12 he goes down into Egypt and tells the Egyptians that Sarah is his sister (which was half true) but omits to state the fact that she is also his wife. The same mistake is repeated in Genesis chapter 20 when Abraham journeyed toward the south. He tells Abimelech the king that Sarah is his sister. You will be thinking – did Abraham not learn that lesson when he made this mistake in Egypt? He is, like us, slow to learn and apt to make the same mistakes time and time again. Isaac makes exactly the same mistake with Abimelech, king of the Philistines in Genesis chapter 26. You would think that he would have learned from his father’s mistakes. It is sad but also true of us that we don’t often learn from the mistakes of others.

The people of Israel were not quick learners either. We read of their complaining and murmuring on many occasions despite the fact that Jehovah always provided for them and protected them. The extreme example of this is their idolatry and failure to observe the seven-year rule of leaving the ground fallow. Their consistent disobedience and disdain for the laws of God and the consequences were to end in their exile from the land to Assyria and then Babylon for seventy years. The consequent regathering in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah did not stop them from continuing to sin against the Lord which resulted in the destruction of the temple and the scattering of the nation in AD 70.

Consider the example of the apostle Paul. I take the words of Romans chapter 7 to refer to the struggle that Paul experienced as a believer. As you read Paul’s confession in verses 15 to 25 it seems unbelievable that a man such as the great apostle should struggle with the same issues as we do. He admits in verse 15 that he does things that upset him greatly (‘things I hate’), he states that he has the right desires, v.18, but he does not have the power in himself to do them. In summary, Paul states in verse 19 that ‘I want to do good but I don’t do it and I don’t want to do evil, but I still do it’. Sounds like the predicament that we often find ourselves in. The glorious truth of the section is not to excuse the practice of sin but to admit that in ourselves we do not have the resources to behave differently but through ‘Jesus Christ our Lord’ we can know the strength to be victorious.

The truths contained in Romans and Galatians would teach us that we will have the flesh with us until life on earth is over and that the requirement placed on the believer is to ‘walk in the Spirit’ and ‘not fulfil the lust of the flesh’. It was never the intention of the Lord that we consistently sin against Him but in His grace He has provided for us. ‘If any man sin’, John the apostle writes, ‘we have’ an ‘Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous’. That is, we come to the One who represents us before the Father and pleads our case.

We should try not to consistently sin and fail The grace of God is such that when we do He has provided for us.

There are 30 articles in
ISSUE (2006, Volume 61 Issue 3)

1 Corinthians 9-10 (2)

Are you still in fellowship?

A Christian Worldview

Commission-Minded Assemblies

Cranmer Christian Fellowship Croydon

The Da Vinci Code

Editorial

The Englishman’s Bible

Eternal Security

The Eyes of the Heart

The Fruit of the Spirit is Meekness

Gospel Work and other Activities

The Ground

His never-failing Love

IN MY PLACE

A Lesson from the Past

The Letters of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor

The One Gospel and its New Style

A Paraphrase of Psalm 4

The Race

The Shock of Unexpected Change

Spiritual Reality/Unreality

The Return of Jesus Christ

A truthful tongue avoids half-truths

The TWO PRAYERS

Views from the News

What God hath Joined

What the Bible Teaches – Song of Solomon and Isaiah

Why do I keep on making the same mistakes time after time?

Wise words from the book of Proverbs

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Truth & Training from Titus - Part 1: Chapter 1 v 1

Truth & Training from Titus - Part 2: Chapter 1 vv 2-4

Truth & Training from Titus - Part 3: Chapter 1 v 5

Truth & Training from Titus - Part 4: Chapter 1 vv 6-8

Truth & Training from Titus - Part 5: Chapter 1 vv 9-10

Truth & Training from Titus - Part 6: Chapter 1 vv 10-16

Truth & Training from Titus - Part 7: Chapter 2 vv 1-9

Truth & Training from Titus - Part 8: Chapter 2 vv 9-16

Truth & Training from Titus - Part 9: Chapter 3 vv 1-8

Truth & Training from Titus – Part 10: Chapter 3 vv 8-11

Truth & Training from Titus – Part 11