The Trouble with Each of Us

In a Peanuts comic strip, Lucy comes up to Charlie Brown and says, "You know what the whole trouble with you is?"  Charlie replies, "No, and I don't want to know! Leave me alone!" And then he walks off frowning disgustedly. But Lucy has the last word. She yells: "The whole trouble with you is that you won't listen to what the whole trouble with you is!" 
 
Lucy would likely not realize it, but she has hit the nail on the head. There are very important benefits of listening to what the trouble with us is. Even though this truth  might be painful, it can be exactly what we need to hear.  Learning what our trouble is, is the first step in finding a solution.
 
The Bible tells us that ultimately the trouble with us is that we are sinners who have rebelled against God and are failing to live for His glory.  This truth is summed up in Romans 3:23:  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. That “all” includes each one of us, no matter who we are, no matter how good of a reputation we  have, no matter how religious we may be, or no matter how much our personality exudes with “Minnesota niceness.”
 
Dr. John Piper preached a sermon a few years ago that highlighted this reality.  He said, “John Piper is bad.  I don’t just do bad things sometimes, I am a bad person.”  Now, Piper was not confessing a sexual affair, embezzlement of church funds, or some other type of moral failure which we would find shocking.  He was talking about actions and attitudes most of us would consider “normal,” but that clearly fall below God’s standard of perfection.  And he wasn’t really referring to actions and attitudes, but to the proud and selfish soul, from which these actions and attitudes flow.
 
Friends, I would echo John Piper’s words and tell you that Dan Erickson is bad.  I don’t just do bad things sometimes, I am a bad person.   The sins of which I am guilty would likely not be considered serious or spectacular by most folks.  If I simply compared myself to others, I might be able to make the case that I am a “good” person.  Yet, when I think about the pride, selfishness and other not so good attitudes with which I continually struggle, I know I am not truly “good,” at least as God would define it.
 
Learning what my trouble is and admitting I am a sinner, a bad person, is the first step in finding a solution.  What is the next step?  Receiving God’s grace and forgiveness which He offers freely in Christ.  As God’s Spirit enables, we need to turn to the Lord Jesus and embrace Him as our Savior.  When we do that, all of our sins are forgiven.  We then receive the righteousness of Jesus, which means that God declares those of us who are by nature “bad” people, to be “good” people.  He does this not on the basis of anything we do, but on what Jesus has done for us through His death and resurrection.  Then, through His Spirit, God helps us get rid of those bad actions and attitudes and to grow to actually become less “bad” and more like Jesus in our character.

Friends, may the Lord help us admit what the trouble with each of us is, and then embrace the solution He has for us in Jesus Christ.
 
Rev. Dan Erickson, Sr. Pastor, Chisholm Baptist Church
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