THE SELF-SABOTAGING LIFE
Proverbs 18:19 LB/NIV
A lazy/slack person is brother to the saboteur!
Over my decades of Pastoring, working with thousands of people, I have observed first hand that most people sabotage their own spiritual lives, their own marriages, their own parenting, their own finances, and their own health, more times than not in unintentional ways by self-sabotaging their best intentions and most earnest desires!
The word and concept of sabotage is not familiar to many people today, but it is found in the Bible. It refers to a person who undermines and destroys the very thing they wish to preserve or make better because of things they do that are actually counterproductive, and destructive.
Most of you are thinking right now, “Mark, I am not a lazy person.” Indeed most of you are not, in the way we generally think about laziness. But I believe without realizing it many Christians are unintentionally sabotaging their own desires for good, by doing things that are counterproductive and destructive to the good they desire.
Let me share a simple, personal example. About a year ago my wife and I worked together to shampoo the carpet. We rented a professional machine, used a great non-toxic cleaning product. They cleaned up very nicely. I have a pair of shoes that I only use for the house, and for going out into my office which is in our attached garage. My wife was sure that my shoes were causing a problem. I was sure they were not. Several months after cleaning the carpets, I decided to take a white paper towel and get it wet and wipe the bottom of my black shoes that I use for only the house and my office! Holy smoke, the paper towel was filthy and black!! I had been self-sabotaging our efforts to keep the carpet clean, by using those shoes. I went out and bought another pair of identical shoes, that I literally only use for the home. Now, I stop multiple times each day to sit on the bench by our front door to change into my garage only shoes, every time I come inside the house or go out to my office, I switch shoes. We cleaned the carpets again. But I no longer self-sabotage our efforts to keep the carpet clean. I know this is a silly example but it makes a powerful point. I had every intention to keep our carpets clean. In fact, I do all the vacuuming, regularly. I even bought a new super suction vacuum to clean them once a week. But my simple, unintentional mistake, based on faulty perceptions sabotaged my own efforts.
I have known wives over the years that wanted a better marriage, they had every desire to be a loving wife, yet they would regularly share with their Christian girlfriends their criticisms of their husband, and those negative thoughts came to dominate their perception of their husband. This unintentionally poisoned the well of their marriage, it sabotaged their good opinion of their husband, denigrated him in their eyes, and their love turned sour, resentful, and embittered.
I have known husbands who wanted a more meaningful intimate life with their wife, yet unintentionally continued to act or speak in harsh, abrasive, or unkind ways, then wondered why their wife was so distant and unresponsive in the bedroom. They were self-sabotaging their own desires by the destructiveness of their words and deeds.
I have known so many Christians who wanted a deeper walk with God, who wanted to get up early to seek the Lord, only to self-sabotage their own efforts and desire by staying up till 10, or 11, or midnight, night after night watching TV or on their smartphone, then wondered why they struggled to get out of bed in the morning to seek the Lord.
I have seen this over and over again with people’s finances. So many self-sabotage their financial life, even though they have the best intentions because of their own mistakes and wrong assumptions.
Here is an example: I have urged people over the decades to buy a good used car. Be wise, it will help you get ahead financially. Most people want to get ahead. They desire to be successful. Then they go out and go into debt on a new car. Let me give you a picture of things no one may have ever told you or shown you. I bought my wife a used Toyota Sienna van, 97 months ago. I paid cash for it. I keep a simple, accurate car record book in each vehicle. That van, including the purchase price, all repairs to it, maintenance, etc. has cost in real money, $108 a month to drive!!!! That is stunning, and I plan to drive it another 100,000 miles! Do you know the average car payment today on a new car?? $568 a month and usually, most are financing for 72 months. So now, you see the difference between $568 a month and $108 a month is $460. If you took that $460 saved and every month for 72 months put it in a 401k or IRA earning 6% interest for 6 years, you know what that gives you!?? $41,466!! Who of you reading this wouldn’t want to see that happen? Who reading this couldn’t use that kind of savings?? But most self-sabotage their best intentions by making simple but costly life mistakes.
I know fathers, who sincerely want a closer relationship with their children. They even pray about it. Yet, they never put a date with their child in their schedule, by planning ahead in their calendar, and as a result, they self-sabotage their desires, their best intentions never materialize, because they simply didn’t write it down, and stick to their plan. Then they wonder why is my child so distant from me? Why don’t we have a closer relationship?
Are you doing everything you possibly can to bring about godly success in each area of your life, or are you self-sabotaging your best intentions with your slack approach to the important things in life?
I want to urge each of you, please, take the time to sit down with yourself, and ask yourself this penetrating question.
In what areas of my life, my marriage, my parenting, my finances, my spiritual life, and my health am I self-sabotaging my best intentions and desires?
Dear friends, get serious about this. Sit down, take it seriously, write out your own self-observations, and make some constructive changes to your ways of life.
Recently I was on the phone with a wonderful Christian man I mentor. I have been working to help him with his health over the last year, as well as other important things. He made this comment recently. “Mark, you know I have gotten consistent with my workouts, but I realized recently, my eating out for lunch many days of the week, has been counterproductive. It is negatively impacting my weight and my truest desires. I am now starting to bring my own lunch each day or go home for lunch. It is making a real difference, and I am saving a bunch of money!” You see, my friend was self-sabotaging his own efforts to get in better shape. But he wisely spent some time in self-reflection, examined his situation, was honest with himself, and as a result, made a wise course correction, a meaningful change to his life, and his efforts are bringing success!
Don’t let this moment pass you by. I know God is speaking to many of you on this matter.
DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT TODAY.
Helping you become a Strong Disciple,
Because of Jesus,
Pastor Mark Darling