I. It doesn’t take long to realize that people generally avoid blaming themselves for their own mistakes.
A. We fill our conversations with excuses for why things must be the way they are.
B. “I can’t help myself” or “It’s just the way I am.”
C. However, we know that we can do anything with God’s help - Phil. 4:13
II. Are you living your life as a Christian to the fullest? Is there nothing more that you could do?
A. Some do not even attempt to live a Christian life in part. There are no end to the available excuses
1. Chronic lateness
2. Uncontrolled temper
4. Unorganized home
9. Negative attitude
11. Lack of discipline
12. Lack of knowledge
B. All these things are within our capability to control — IF we want to.
C. Phil 2:13 - God molds us to want and act righteously
D. But it is so easy to shift the blame some where else. Some where that doesn’t require as much responsibility or effort on my part
1. Gen. 3:8-13
a. Adam blamed Eve and implied that God was responsible as well.
b. Eve blamed the serpent.
c. Notice that God still punished them for their sins.
2. Gen. 4:9 - Cain denies responsibility
3. Luke 14:16-20 - Many excuses for not attending
4. Luke 19:20-21 - Blamed the master for his inabilities
III. Have you noticed what is blamed?
A. The environment, circumstances
1. Common reasons
a. “I’m late because there was too much traffic.”
b. “It is too hot (or too cold) to get out.”
c. “I don’t have a nice enough house to be hospitable.”
d. “I was not feeling well that day so I lost my temper.”
e. “If I had what she does, I would be more generous.”
f. “If you had arthritis, you would complain too.”
2. Bill Swetmon - “You can’t control the length of you life, but you can control its width and depth. You can’t control the contours of your countenance, but you can control its expression. You can’t control the weather, but you can control the moral atmosphere that surrounds you. You can’t control hard times or rainy days, but you can trust in Him who is able to see through both. You can’t control the opportunities that others have, but you can grasp and use your own. Why worry about things you can’t control, rather control the things that depend on you!”
3. Not one person lives in a perfect environment. The question is what do you accomplish despite the hindrances you must face.
4. Jesus did not want his disciples taken out of the world - John 17:15-16 - He wants us protect while in the world.
1. A current, popular fad. “I was abused as a child, so that is why I . . .”
2. The circumstances surrounding how you grew up may reflect in who you are, but it does not define who you will be.
3. Phil. 2:12 - Work out your salvation. Make an effort to change.
1. “Why is God doing this to me?”
2. Like Adam’s “The woman you gave me” caused me to sin.
3. We have talk much about the fact that God is not the cause of sin. In fact, God does much on our behalf to less the results of our own sins.
1. Here we come closer to the mark. Satan is the chief tempter. He is the source of the sin in our world.
2. But, like Eve, you can’t blame Satan for your choice.
3. I Cor 10:13 - There is always a way out. Satan cannot overpower you.
IV. Fixing the Problem
A. WHAT you are doing needs to change.
1. Too often we focus on the WHY.
2. “I lose my temper because my children are unruly.”
a. This is shifting the blame. I’m not responsible for one problem because I have other problems.
b. Focus on what needs to be fix.
(1) Problem: “I lose my temper.”
(2) Problem: “I have unruly children.”
3. Until we can admit to the problem and not blame anyone else, we can’t find the solution.
B. Put yourself under God’s examining light.
1. II Cor. 13:5 - Test yourself
2. Heb. 5:14 - Train yourself to discern good and evil
3. Eph. 5:15 - Educate yourself in God’s ways
C. Make specific plans to change. Replace bad habits with good ones.
1. Examples in Eph. 4:25-32
a. Replace lying with telling the truth
b. Replace anger with settling problems quickly
c. Replace stealing with work
d. Replace bad language with encouragement to others
2. Your plans should only be dependent on you.
a. You can only control yourself.
b. It is yourself who is motivated to carry through.
D. Make a commitment to change
1. Phil 4:13 - You can change. It is not a hopeless task.
2. James 1:22 - Don’t just talk about it, do something
E. Don’t excuse yourself
1. Pay attention this week how often you say “I would have . . . but”.
F. Trust in God’s promise to change your life
1. II Cor. 5:17 - A new creature
2. II Cor. 4:16 - Renewed every day
3. I John 4:4 - You will overcome
V. Some here today need to change. You have been putting salvation off too long.