A friend of mine recently went on a trip, and after a long day of travel, was excited to get into bed at his hotel and enjoy a good night of rest. However, as he was nodding off, he felt something crawling up his leg. He threw back the covers and turned on the light, only to discover that his bed was full of bugs! He called the front desk and was immediately moved to another room. When he got home, he was still a little upset at what had happened, so he decided to write a letter to the hotel’s corporate headquarters. A few weeks later, he got a letter back from the president of the company. It was extremely apologetic, and full of assurances that they would address the problem immediately.
Feeling vindicated, my friend went to put the letter back in the envelope, but as he did so, a sticky note fell off the back. He picked it up and saw that it said, “Send this guy the bug letter.”
As my friend was telling me this story, I couldn’t help but think of how many times I’ve sent God a “bug letter”. In other words, there are too many areas in my life where I’ve developed standard responses to God’s commands and directions. For example, it’s easy to say I’ll love others, or be patient, or extend forgiveness. It's easy to say I’ll press on towards God’s goals. And it's easy to say I’ll give up the sins I’ve become comfortable with in my life. It’s a different thing entirely to go through the difficult work of actually doing all those things. And so I send God “the bug letter” - saying, “Yes, Lord!”, but then not really making the needed changes.
And I don’t think I’m alone in this situation, as one of the hardest things for believers is to truly surrender to the fullness of God’s work in our lives. But the good news is, God doesn’t give up on us - and He has given us the way to move forward in becoming free from our sin. Romans 6:6-7 makes this clear, as it tell us, “Our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.” If we have given our lives to Christ, then we are free - we are no longer a slave to sin and bad choices. Instead, we can choose to let God transform our lives - and be confident that He will. The key is, we need to be serious about letting God do that - no matter how difficult it might be, and no matter what it might cost us.
So today, when God makes us aware of the areas in our lives where we need to change - and the sins we need to give up - let’s not give Him a standard response. Instead, let’s humbly admit the problem to Him, and then ask for Him to unleash the power of His Holy Spirit to get to work in our lives - changing all that needs to be changed.