Jonathan Rockey

How often have you asked yourself, “Why can’t I Iearn my lesson? Why do I keep repeating my mistakes?”

I am currently writing my devotion, and other documents, on my wife’s computer because, personally, I don’t seem to have learned my lesson. On Saturday, November 8, I was sitting in my recliner with my computer in my lap. I had a glass of water in my left hand, resting the drink on the arm of the chair. I was going over my sermon for the next day, which I would preach in Chiefland, FL. But, Kathy and I had been traveling. We didn’t sleep at all when we flew on Wednesday night, other than the short naps one catches in the seat of a plane. Sitting in that comfortable position, still somewhat sleep deprived, holding my glass of water, I nodded off. (My kids like to take and share pictures of their dad asleep in a chair with his computer in his lap.) All of a sudden I awoke with ice and water in my lap, and ice and water all over my computer! I dried the computer, turned it upside down and turned it off. But then I could not get my computer to start again, and I’m still waiting to get it back from Hewlett Packard, where I have an extended warrantee.

But, unfortunately, this is not the first time I’ve made this mistake. While flying in January i put my backpack, with my computer inside, inside the overhead bin. I didn’t remember that my backpack had a water bottle on the outside. Neither did I realize the lid of the water bottle was not on tight. That mistake 10 months ago also required repair.

Unfortunately, I remember at least one more mistake of the liquid kind. A number of years ago I was sitting at our dining room table doing some work. I had a glass of tomato juice to the right of my computer. As i reached out, I knocked tomato juice all over the keyboard. i could never get the left side of that keyboard to work again. Computers and liquids do not mix well!

These incidents were all mistakes. But, as I look back there is some caution I could have taken which I didn’t. So I ask myself, “Why can’t I Iearn my lesson? Why do I keep repeating my mistakes?” You see there are consequences that follow each time I cause such mistakes.

The truth is that my mistakes with my computer are not the only area where I, nor others, struggle with repeated behavior we regret. God inspired Paul in Romans to share his frustration with his own repeated failures. “19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. . . 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” (Romans 7:19, 24) We all struggle with the selfish, unhealthy, sinful nature inside each of us. Regretably, we seem to repeat the same foolish behaviors, and then we suffer the consequences for our behavior.

It is with my computer frustration in mind that I read 1 Peter 1 in my devotions this week. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (1 Peter 1:3) Simply stated, when we struggle with our weaknesses and failures we have a new start in Jesus. Or as Peter writes, we are “born again to a living hope.” In spite of our repeated failure and sin, sin which brings death, we have God’s promise of new life “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” That promise is not only for eternal life in heaven. Our life in this world is new because Jesus forgives our sin, and because He makes us new.

Would you like this new start in your life? Later in this same chapter Peter expands on this promise from God. “. . . you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for ‘All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.’” (1 Peter 1:23-25a) The Word of God points us to God’s saving love in Jesus and gives us new life. God assures us of His love in spite of our rebellion. We have a new start every day.

Or, perhaps it helps to think of God’s promise in this way. We are all naturally faulty and foolish. It’s like a disease. The faith and hope which gives new life is given to us in the Word of God. God’s Word is like the medicine which delivers His cure for our sinful foolishness. Therefore, since this is God’s assertion, are you taking your medicine? Are you listening to, are you reading, are you meditating upon, memorizing, and trusting in the truth of God’s Word which promises God’s eternal, life changing, forgiveness and love in Jesus? If a doctor gave me medicine to cure an illness, I would take that medicine. God’s Word delivers the living hope of new life through Jesus to us who are sinful. Are you taking your medicine?

Back to my computer (s). I have resolved to take new steps of precaution in order to prevent such accidents in the future. Maybe I’ll use covered cups and drink glasses. Perhaps I can back up my data more frequently. But, you know I actually thought I was being careful in some of these other instances where I had my accidents. However, even with these precautions, it would not surprise me to face to consequences of such foolishness again. I am thankful that in spite of my life failures, God’s love is sure. I will personally continue to take the medicine of the living hope we have in Jesus by spending time in His Word. Where do you need “to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead?”

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