I was born stubborn.
I’m not just talking about the good kind of stubborn that means you persevere through life no matter what obstacles are in your way. I’m talking about the “I’m going to do this the hard way just because other people want me to do it differently,” kind of stubborn. The kind that drives everyone around you crazy and drives yourself crazy because you’re too stubborn to even give into your own better judgment.
When you get down to it, we each have specific traits that always pop up at the worst times and cause everyone around us to say, “What were you thinking? Why did you do that? Didn’t you know that was a bad idea? Don’t you know that’s wrong?”
Sometimes, the best answer we can come up with sounds something like this: “I can’t help it. It’s just how I am. I was born this way, and I can’t change who I am.” Even if we don’t outwardly express those feelings, at our core, we all want to make excuses for our behavior, and often, it turns into simply blaming our genetic makeup. It’s an easy cop-out to lay all the fault on our DNA.
There’s a lot of truth in that little statement, “I was born this way.” As a matter of fact, it’s so true that all the struggles we deal with and all the issues we face in life come back to that one answer. Yes, of course that’s how we were born, and it’s really no surprise. “For man was born for trouble, as sparks fly upward,” (Job 5:7). From the moment we enter the world to the day we die, the problems we were born with will continue to face us. Those who think they were born perfect are suffering under a delusion which will be crushed, if not in this world, then in the next. However, most people have no difficulty admitting they were born with certain propensities; the issue is that this is the only answer they give when they are confronted with the results of their behavior.
“I was born shy.” “I was born with a hot temper.” “I was born with this sexual orientation.” “I was born with this propensity or that propensity.” The list goes on. There are myriads of excuses that become a justification for recurring behavioral patterns.
Newsflash: Who cares what problems we were born with? The question is: What are we going to do about them? Are we going to continue using them to rationalize our desires and actions, or are we going to recognize our problems and seek the help of the Lord in overcoming them?
The fact that we were born like this doesn’t excuse our behavior in the slightest. Instead, it proves how much we need a Savior who can save us from the sins that entangle us. The good news is….
Just because we were born like this doesn’t mean we have to stay like this.
God isn’t surprised that we were born sinners. He knew that all along, which is why Jesus had to be born without sin. He didn’t just live a sinless life. In His utmost being, He was blameless, completely free from the original sin we all inherited from Adam and Eve. Jesus was born without sin because we were born in it; He lived a perfect life because ours are far from perfect; and He died on the cross to rescue us from our sins because without Him, we have no hope of overcoming them.
Maybe if we stopped making excuses for our problems, we would actually have time to do something about them. God didn’t save us from our sins so that we could continue to wallow in them. He saved us so that we would no longer be consumed by them. If He sent His own Son to the cross to conquer death, would He really leave us in the helpless conditions we were born in, unable to fight against the flesh? No matter how great our weight of sin is, Jesus can lift the burden from our shoulders. “For [He] is good and ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon [Him]” (Ps. 86:5). Without Him, attempting to change our sinful habits is a hopeless cause, and failure is imminent; with Him we have all the hope in the world, and failure is impossible. We won’t reach perfection in this life, but we can truly say with Paul, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in [us] will perfect it until the day of Christ” (Phil. 1:6).