Bible Faith Fellowship: Substance Over Form

Are We Schizophrenic?

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Joseph Tokar

Are We Schizophrenic? Are We Schizophrenic?

Date 2011-03-13
Document (PDF) BFF-20110313-AreWeSchizophrenic.pdf

Last year I gave a sermon titled "The Temptation of Sin." God led me to speak about how sin tempts us and how we can avoid that temptation. But it’s not only Satan that tempts us, but also our own flesh that draws us to sin. There is a scripture verse that runs through my mind on a regular basis:

Proverbs 26:11  11 As a dog returns to his own vomit, 
      So a fool repeats his folly. 

Why does God use this example? It has bothered me for a long time, mostly because it is so gross…returning to eat what they have just thrown up. But as He always has reason for what He inspires to be written, let’s examine this passage. Turn to Proverbs 26. This chapter in Proverbs is written almost entirely about fools, though there is a smattering of reprimands for the lazy man, the liar, the gossiper and the hater. But mostly it’s about the fool.

Merrian Webster defines fool as:

Definition of FOOL

1: a person lacking in judgment or prudence

2 a : a retainer formerly kept in great households to provide casual entertainment and commonly dressed in motley with cap, bells, and bauble

b : one who is victimized or made to appear foolish : dupe

3 a : a harmlessly deranged person or one lacking in common powers of understanding

Lacking in judgment, lacking in understanding, lacking in prudence. All apt descriptions of what God is talking about in scripture, but somewhat incomplete for what God is really defining. A fool, according to God is someone who doesn’t understand God, or doesn’t believe God is who He says He is.

Proverbs 26:1-12 (NKJV)

1 As snow in summer and rain in harvest,
      So honor is not fitting for a fool. 
       2 Like a flitting sparrow, like a flying swallow, 
      So a curse without cause shall not alight. 
       3 A whip for the horse, 
      A bridle for the donkey, 
      And a rod for the fool’s back. 
       4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, 
      Lest you also be like him. 
       5 Answer a fool according to his folly, 
      Lest he be wise in his own eyes. 
       6 He who sends a message by the hand of a fool 
      Cuts off his own feet and drinks violence. 
       7 Like the legs of the lame that hang limp 
      Is a proverb in the mouth of fools. 
       8 Like one who binds a stone in a sling 
      Is he who gives honor to a fool. 
       9 Like a thorn that goes into the hand of a drunkard 
      Is a proverb in the mouth of fools. 
       10 The great God who formed everything 
      Gives the fool his hire and the transgressor his wages.[a]
       11 As a dog returns to his own vomit, 
      So a fool repeats his folly. 
       12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? 
      There is more hope for a fool than for him.

It is wonderful to me that God explains His word so thoroughly. A fool really has no sense, no understanding of what God wants or who God is, or if he does, the fool chooses to ignore God, instead focusing on what his flesh wants.

Has anyone ever watched a dog when they get sick? They throw up and will walk away for a few minutes, then they’ll circle back and look at all that "stuff" and slowly slink back to it. It’s like they know they shouldn’t be doing it, but they just can’t help themselves, they just have to go back and eat what they have thrown up. Peter uses this Proverb when he is speaking about false teachers in:

2 Peter 2:20-22 (NKJV) 20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: "A dog returns to his own vomit,"[e] and, "a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire."

They know that they’re not supposed to go back to the sin they used to be in, but they can’t help themselves, they have no choice but to repeat it. Ever had that happen? Ever wonder why we keep repeating the same sin, falling into the pattern of the flesh and giving in to the sin we have tried to walk away from so many times? Anger, laziness, short-temperedness, disrespect, lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, sins of the tongue… the list is long. So why do we keep doing it? Why do we keep going back to the sins that we hate so much? Paul is writing to the Hebrews in Rome and is speaking about the Law and doing what is right. First I am going read the entire passage, then I will to break it down by verse and go through it.

Romans 7:13-25 (NKJV)

13 Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. 

Did the law become death for us? No, but sin used the law to condemn us, Satan uses what God gives to accuse us and bind us to death.

14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.

The problem is not God’s law, the problem is my flesh. God’s law is perfect and spiritual, my flesh is imperfect, bound by sin.

15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.

This is the heart of this passage: Paul doesn’t understand why he can’t seem to do what he wants, that is, to do God’s law perfectly. Instead, he continues to do what he hates, that is: sin.

16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good.

So if we continue to sin, knowing that it is wrong, then we agree with God’s law because we think what we are doing is wrong.

17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

So we want to do what is good, what God’s law says, but sin is living in us and continues to control our flesh.

18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.

Sin dwells in our flesh, but in our mind (spiritually) we know what the right thing is, the problem is…how do we do it?

19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 

We all want to do what is right, but for some reason we fail, we don’t want to evil, we don’t want to sin but we continue to "return to our vomit."

20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

So, we keep doing the things we don’t want to do, angry at ourselves for doing it, but it is sin, living in us that keeps our flesh doing the wrong thing.

21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.

So our minds want to do what is right, but there is another force that is in our flesh that continues to fight with our mind, our spirit, and wars with what we know is the will (or law) of God.

22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.

We love God, we love His law, we know it’s good and right and perfect and we know this is our mind, our spirit, our soul.

23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

But our flesh hates the law of God, and we are in a constant war with our flesh.

24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

This is Paul’s heartfelt cry, and should be our heartfelt cry: Who can deliver us from this sin, who can save us, who can redeem us?

25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! 
So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

Paul knows, and we know, that only through Jesus Christ can we win this war, can we put to death the sin that is in our flesh that is trying to bring us to everlasting death.

If we think about it, Paul sounds like he has Schizophrenia, or multiple personality disorder. He sounds like a lunatic. But then, how many times in our own lives have we warred within ourselves about what is right and what God wants, and what our flesh wants? Are there two of us in our bodies? The spiritual man and the carnal man? Are we of two minds as it is written in scripture:

Psalm 119:112-114 (NKJV)

 112 I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes
         Forever, to the very end.

113 I hate the double-minded,
         But I love Your law.
114 You are my hiding place and my shield;
         I hope in Your word.

James 1:8 (NKJV)

8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

James 4:8 (NKJV)

8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

So what do we do about it? How do we cleanse our hands and purify our hearts? How do we cure ourselves of this multiple personality disorder that we suffer from?

Romans 8:5-10 (NKJV)

5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

So, don’t be a fool, don’t continue to return to your own vomit, as the dog who has no choice. Instead, turn to Christ and invite Him into your heart. I read an article this week about the sinners prayer and how, so many times we repeat after someone when we are praying for salvation or repentance. This article had some interesting points, mainly that in scripture God tells us not to repeat prayers and not to prayer the same words over and over again, but to pray from our heart. (reference: )

Psalm 51:1-17 (NKJV)

 1 Have mercy upon me, O God,
         According to Your lovingkindness; 
         According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, 
         Blot out my transgressions.
 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
         And cleanse me from my sin. 
 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions,
         And my sin is always before me.
 4 Against You, You only, have I sinned,
         And done this evil in Your sight— 
         That You may be found just when You speak,[a]
         And blameless when You judge. 
 5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
         And in sin my mother conceived me.
 6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
         And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. 
 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
         Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
 8 Make me hear joy and gladness,
         That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
 9 Hide Your face from my sins,
         And blot out all my iniquities. 
 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
         And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
 11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
         And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. 
 12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
         And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
 13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
         And sinners shall be converted to You. 
 14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
         The God of my salvation, 
         And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
 15 O Lord, open my lips,
         And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
 16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
         You do not delight in burnt offering.
 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
         A broken and a contrite heart— 
         These, O God, You will not despise. 

Let’s end with a few minutes of prayer, each of us seeking God’s forgiveness with our own heartfelt cry of repentance.