my problemThis post was originally posted March 8, 2010.

One thing I love most about the people I consider close friends is we can talk about anything. When I say that, I mean the conversation can bounce from here to here to here and all the way over there in the span of about two minutes.

On Sunday night, I was at my kitchen table eating dinner and talking to one of these friends on Facebook. The conversation started by me telling him to check out a new song I’d heard. Then it moved to something else. And then something else. Before long we’d covered ten different topics, helped each other with homework, and everything between.

Both of our homework questions centered around a similar topic: sin.

It seems like wherever I’ve turned for the last week, the concept of sin was right there. It was the subject we studied in theology class. I read about it online. It was in conversation I had. It was even the subject of a paper I had to write for my youth class.

No matter what I did, I couldn’t get away from this idea of sin.

If you’ve ever studied sin, you know that when you study it, it starts popping up everywhere. You start getting tempted in way you haven’t been tempted in a while. You start noticing things you normally don’t notice. It’s weird, but it happens every time.

I’ve talked on here about my biggest struggle – lust, pure thoughts, keeping a clean mind and heart. I know those things are my biggest temptations. The thing is, I didn’t know why they’re my biggest temptations or why I even give into them.

I didn’t know until I sat down and got real with myself.

I’m selfish.

A lot of times I think because this type of sin isn’t something that harms other people I can get away with it. The girl who wore the low cut top wants me to look at her so what’s the harm? It’s not like I’m doing anything wrong to her.

There are times I think, “I haven’t sinned much lately and nothing’s change. I haven’t been reward so screw it, I’m going to give in and take a look.”

There are time I simply don’t care. I know I shouldn’t do something but I want to so I do it anyway. I know it’s not right but it’s what I want.

If I get brutally honest with myself, those are three thought processes that come into my head all too often.

I put myself before anything else.

Then, after giving in, I think, “Why am I still doing that? What the heck’s my problem? Shouldn’t I be over that issue?” I focus on the act. I think the act of the sin is the problem.

And I’m wrong.

The problem is the idea of sinning. The problem is me wanting to do what I want.

The problem, quite frankly, is me.

Last week I had to interview a student pastor for a paper. The topic was spiritual growth. One question I had to ask was how he would define his process to spiritual growth. Part of his answer smacked me in the face. He said:

Here’s the thing that makes Jesus so difficult: he’s ruthless. He comes after your heart in the most ruthless of ways. He will not settle for you claiming his name and not living his life. He’s going to try to destroy that ideas as aggressively as possible.

I claim to be a Christian. I want so bad to lead students to Jesus and develop them into future Christian leaders. But sometimes I find myself not living Jesus’ life. I find myself living Jonathan’s life. I think what I want is what I should have. I give into thoughts and temptations because they’re what I want.

Being a Christian isn’t supposed to be about what I want.

It’s about what Jesus wants.

Wanting what Jesus wants is really, really hard to do. I struggle with it every day. I want to want what Jesus wants, but part of me is still fighting to get what I want.

I’ve grown as a Christian more in the past 18 months than at any other point in my life but I’ve still got a long way to go.

If I want to be real, I’ve got to start seeking the things Jesus wants with everything I have.

If I want to be real, I’ve got to stop fighting to hold onto the thing I want.

If I want to be real, I’ve got to die to myself daily.

I refuse to be fake.

Say your prayers and take your vitamins.

Have a nice day.