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Coming to Your Self

I can’t resist.  Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina presents too compelling a story.  Another painful train wreck.  Ugh!  A cliché, by now, in the political world.  Oh yeah, in the church world, too.  I’m not interested in throwing stones or sounding high and mighty about moral standards.  I am interested in checking my own perspective, my own habits, my own fail-safe systems.

We don’t ruin our own lives over night.  It takes a lot of hard work and practice.  You’ve got to get good at it.

A nineteen-year-old once made a list of resolutions about living consistently with passion for God and for others.  One of these resolutions was the following:

“Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.”

That was Jonathan Edwards, a central figure in the Great Awakening of spiritual vitality in the 1740’s in Colonial America.  You know him from that sermon excerpt in high school lit books, “Sinners  in the Hands of An Angry God.”  What bad press.  He actually really knew how to enjoy God and others.

“When I come to myself again.”  That’s the phrase that stuck with me the first time I read these resolutions.  What an incredible realization that when we are off track from loving God and others, we are really out of our minds.  We’re out of ourselves.  Oh, I know, if you’re like me you would judge that your usual state of self is that which is always off track.  That who you are, is the ‘sinner,’ that if you stay consistent with yourself, you’ll be messing up all the time.  I have not found many places or times in my life when I did not need the grace of God.  I get that.

But, Edwards is talking about those moments of clarity when we know without a doubt that we exist for the glory and pleasure of God.  I know it right now, just by writing that.  That’s the ‘self’ we want to stay in, come back to.

That’s the self that Edwards wanted to grow every day.  That’s the self that’s not so much into life-ruination.  Matter-of-fact, it’s hard, if not impossible to ruin a life like that.  It’s on a different course.  Its little lies scream bloody murder.  What’s in the heart of that self trumps every public expression.

The self that knows I exist for the glory of God understands the difference between causes and effects.  The headline sins are the effects.  The failure to truly worship and enjoy God is the cause.

God, when I get off track, may I come to myself quickly.  My family and friends will be safer if I do.


  1. I just loved his song “Sunshine”

    Just kidding of course, but actually Kath and I go out to Noho every once in a while and while we’re there visit the site of his former church.

    It just happens to be across the street from a guitar shop that I love to go in.

    See you soon!