Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Do You Have A Gopher Problem?

I had managed to hit a green.  As I walked up to the green I noticed several gopher mounds located just off the green. As I stood awaiting my golfing partner's next shot, I caught something moving out of the corner of my eye in the direction of the gopher mounds.  I turned to see the tunneling expert at work, sticking his head up and down.  Naturally, I was reminded of Bill Murray's feeble attempts to rid his golf course of the little varmint in "Caddyshack."  Instantly Kenny Loggins' tune started playing in my head, "I'm alright, nobody worry 'bout me," and I felt the sudden urge to start dancing the "gopher" dance from the movie. I resisted the urge to dance but that song played in my head pretty much the rest of the day.

As I thought about that gopher and the mounds he had made, I thought about how this tiny little varmint could do so much damage.  Sure, the grounds keepers can mow down those gopher mounds, but if they never get rid of the gopher, those mounds will be back.  After all the golf course does not have a dirt mound problem, it has a gopher problem.

Dealing with the mounds without dealing with the gopher is much like the way many believers approach sin. We place a high priority on dealing with sin.  We have our little list of things we are trying desperately not to do and our list of things we are trying desperately to do. Yet, we find ourselves just like the apostle Paul where the things we want to do, we do not do, and the things we do not want to do, we do. We fail to realize that the real issue is not a sin problem but a heart issue.  While we are running around mowing down the sin mounds in our life, we are neglecting the thing that's building those sin mounds.  While we are dealing with the sin, we are neglecting the sin manufacturing plant.  And just like the grounds keepers will have to continually deal with gopher mounds when they neglect dealing with the gopher, rest assured we will always have to deal with the sin behavior in our life if we we never deal with the real problem which is our heart.

Pride, rebellion, hatred, envy, fear, etc. all lie beneath the surface but all produce things above the surface for all to see.  They all produce those mounds, if you will, that we all want to quickly make disappear.  But when we fail to deal with those issues below the surface, those mounds will simply keep coming back. Let's face it though, dealing with those root issues is a lot more difficult.  It's tough because it requires us to be honest with ourselves about the junk that's in our heart.  It requires us to go deep and to have a transparent conversation with ourselves and with our God.  That conversation leads us the realization that will power and behavior modification will never truly fix the real issues in our heart. It leaves us with the harsh reality that we cannot fix ourselves, but we can only mask our issues at best. King David understood that dealing with the issues in our heart required a dependency on God.  After an adulterous affair, David understood that the real issue was his heart and he needed God's intervention to fix it. He prays, "Create in my a clean heart, oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (Psalm 51:10 NKJV).        

Do you have "gophers" in your life?  Are you content with just mowing down the mounds they create which in the end never truly fixes anything? I'm determined to get rid of the gophers in my life. However, I refuse to take on this task alone for when I do I look much like Bill Murray's character in Caddyshack who was inept to say the least.  I'm calling in a Grounds Keeper who knows how to eradicate these "gophers" from my life. Then and only then will I be able to truly sing, "I'm alright...."