So here's a question I've never asked you before. Forty-three years of marriage, never asked you ever. And I have no idea what your answer might be.
How many times a day do you think you sin? What? Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Shelby Abbott, and your hosts are Dave and Anne Wilson.
You can find us at familylifetoday.com. This is Family Life Today. So the reason I'm asking that is we've got a real sinner in the studio. That is a fact. Chifo. Chifo sinners.
No, I'm kidding, but Jonathan Pacluta is with us, JP. Here's what's going through my head, because I've had that conversation. I was like, is that in the book? You've had that? These things, you know, these conversations begin to overlap a little bit, and you try to keep them siloed. But I recently had that conversation, in fact, polled the audience on Instagram. You did? It was like, hey, how many times do you think?
What would you guess? Come on. And is it like, is it less than, or is it more than? And I've got a, you know, hamartiology, you know, the study of sin. I've got a lot of hot takes on that. I want to know the response. Like, what do people say?
Most people, of my opinion, to show you my cards, shoot really low. And I'm like, oh, more than you could ever imagine. Like, just your thoughts and the thoughts that you give weight to. So not just, not a fleeting thought, but a thought that you entertain and all of the things.
I think we are much bigger sinners than we realize. Yeah, and you know, I got the idea when I read the title of your book, your latest book. Why do I, why do I?
It's the longest title in the history of books. There you go. I got to do it right.
Why do I do what I don't want to do? I thought, is this your memoir? Is this what this is? No, it's Paul's from Romans. No, actually, when I saw that, I thought, obviously, Romans 7. I thought I was going to write Dave's biography. There you go. That's it.
But I thought that is exactly the question. And I'm sure you felt the same way. You know, I didn't come to Christ until my junior in college, you know, raised by two alcoholic parents.
So I was a wild man. I come to Christ and I really had this thought as a junior in college. I'm on the football team and I'm thinking, I am so much worse than all these Christians when I started to go to the crew meetings.
I didn't know what crew was, but I just thought they're so much better than I was and am. And then when I read Romans 7 for the first time, I can almost tell you where I was in my dorm room. I did not know that's in the Bible where Paul says, I do what I don't want to do.
Most relatable chapter. Yeah. For sure. Is that where this idea came from? That's right. Yeah.
I mean, it was a little bit. I mean, just in full transparency, I'm reading the work and I'm thinking of Romans 7 and I was talking with a friend. You know, you're going through the, what should we call it? And they said, just call it that. That's the book. I was like, oh, that's what we have to do. We have to just call it that. So it's the longest title in the history of books.
It's really hard to find on Amazon, but that's it. But the subtitle, and you got to tell us what this all means, even though we've read it, but our listeners haven't. Replace deadly vices with life-giving virtues.
And I love the way you balance the vice and the virtue. But you know what? Some people don't even know what you do. You're down in Waco, Harris Creek Baptist Church. Tell our audience what you do.
Yeah. So in the past, I got into ministry focused on young adult ministry. And so a lot of what I do today is helping parents relate to their Gen Z or Gen Alpha child. And now I pastor a church. For the past five years in Waco, Texas, our family moved to Waco five years ago from Dallas, where we got to serve in ministry there. You've been married how many years? Eighteen.
You have two daughters and a son. Weston's with you here today. That's right. That's fun. And I heard you married somebody just like my wife.
That's what I heard. They're twins, man. They've got to meet.
You wouldn't believe it. I need to meet her. You need to bring her next time. That would be fun. And what's really fun is you are on our new Art of Marriage. Yes. And we're revamping that. Yeah, we'll talk about it a little bit later. But man, what a resource that's going to change marriages.
It's going to serve marriages all over the world, all over the country for sure. So let's talk vices. Got a long list. I mean, you go through, I think, 10, right? That's right. From the seven deadly sins, where did that come from? That was the inspiration. I grew up, there was a movie that came out in my years that I saw movies called Seven about the seven deadly sins. And I was raised Catholic and just for whatever reason, the seven deadly sins were in front of you ever so often. That's not in the Bible in the way that it was packaged. It actually comes from a monk, Evagrius Ponticus, packaged it.
Thomas Aquinas repackaged it. And you kind of come up with the seven that we had. And so I just, here's the inspiration behind the book is when you're doing ministry, you have a front row seat of people wrecking their lives. And you realize it's not a long list of vices that people choose from. It's not lists of hundreds or even dozens.
It really is the same old that they return to. And there's a lot of overlap. As you turn through the chapters, like I think people pick up this book and think, oh, maybe there's going to be one or two chapters that relates to me.
The number one feedback that I got is I didn't realize every single chapter was going to relate to me. And it's because these are the 10 vices that we come face to face with every single week. I mean, these are the temptations that the enemy uses to try to take out believers often. And so as you turn through those, and so we talk about the ancient battles and then the modern wars as well.
So the book is kind of split into the two, but that's less relevant. I mean, sin has always been sin. There's always been struggles.
There's always been things that the enemies use to try to take us out. I mean, as you think of answering this question, I know you could go right to Romans 8. You know, there's no condemnation for those of us in Christ Jesus.
But how would you answer it? Why do we do what we don't want to do? I think of the ancient narrative of the original, what I call the original fall. That angels are created beings and that God made angels as objects to worship Him.
And there was one that says, hey, I don't want to worship you. I want to be like you. I want to be God. And so He's sent to the earth and that's the spirit of this air.
The scripture calls Him the God of this world, the little g god of this world, the prince of the air. The satanic influence of the world is really, hey, I want to be a God. And so we go through life trying to be a God.
We try to be as comfortable as we possibly can, to experience as much temporary pleasure as we possibly can, to be as famous or known, respected as we possibly can. And the interesting thing is when you turn into Genesis 2, you see that God made us to be like Him. He made us in His image. And not just are we image bearers, but really we're rulers. He said, I want you to rule over the creatures of the land, the birds of the sky.
I want you to name them. I want you to cultivate the land. And then you turn into the New Testament and we're called to be reconcilers.
He goes, hey, this whole thing was lost because you sent. I want you to begin to put it back together, to begin to show the world what was meant to be. And I think that sin nature in me is still there, that every now and then it shows up as selfish, self-centered, self-seeking, self-loving, self-exalting. I want to be God. I don't want to worship God.
I want to be in front of Him, not behind Him, serving Him. I remember I was in seminary decades ago and I don't know how I ended up in this little house outside of San Bernardino, California to lead a high school Bible study, like a guest speaker. So these weren't kids I knew. And I don't know why I remember this, but I sit down with these 16, 17-year-old kids and I go, hey, guys, let's talk about sin. I was just boys. I go, why do we sin? Why do you guys sin?
It got real quiet. And it was really a churchy group, you know. And so finally one guy goes, well, because we have a sin nature and we're depraved and had all the theological answers. And then the next kid said this.
And I go, that's not the answer I thought you'd give me. And they're like, what do you mean? I go, we sin because we like it. Yeah, we love it. It's fun. I mean, there's something else that's drawn to that. And it's what you're saying.
It's probably that desire to be in control. I want to be the God of my life, right? Well, I don't know if you guys have seen this, but I thought I'm pretty decent. You know, I give my life to Jesus in high school and I'm thinking, okay, I'm getting this down. And then I get married. And I'm thinking, Dave has made me become this different person because I'm realizing I have this anger, I have this frustration.
I have control issues. It's a mirror. It's a mirror. Did you ever see that in your marriage? So I was told, hey, marriage is a mirror to show you how selfish you are. And so I experienced that. It was like, whoa, I got hit in the face.
I mean, we almost didn't make it year two. It was a part of our story. Did you think it was your problem or her problem?
No, I thought it was her problem. I mean, all the things. I mean, I just remember. I mean, I thought thoughts that are so embarrassing. And then we had kids. We had a kid, our first kid. And that mirror got so big. I mean, it was like marriage put a mirror in front of me.
And then we had a kid, a singular child. And it was like you put four other mirrors around you. And now all of a sudden, you know, anywhere you look, it's like, I am so selfish. I'm the most selfish human being ever.
And the wife and the child just wants to take away from my happiness. That's what it felt like. And you know what I did as a wife? I thought, Dave is the most selfish creature on the planet. And she was right.
No, but it was me. And so I think you're right. I think it is a mirror. We're talking about why we do what we do. There's definitely a sin nature that is there. But when you come to Christ, you think it'll go away.
I mean, hopefully we're better, but it doesn't go away. I remember one time we had an electric fence for our golden retriever. And Duke, as we used to call him, our homecoming queen, just the most obedient, wonderful dog. And that electric fence worked. He never left the yard. Well, our neighbor gets a dog and puts electric fence literally a foot on their side. And so they have a fence. We have a fence and their dog was Rusty. That's right, Rusty.
This is years ago. And Rusty would come out in the backyard and never cross over, but would just bark from their yard to our yard. And Duke would get over there and you could just tell he wanted to go over and play with Rusty, but they both...
So they just sit there and bark at each other. And one day, I'm not kidding, I look out. I think I called you over and I go... Because Duke kept getting closer and I go, I think he's going. It just looked like he's literally thinking, I know this will hurt, but...
I'm going to do it. And he did. He just sort of backed up and he starts sprinting and he jumps in the air. And he literally, like you can tell, he's like... and then he's running around. And I sat there and I thought, he literally did...
I don't know, but he literally decided... He counted the cost. The pain is worth the pleasure. And I, of course, as a preacher, I'm like, we do that every day.
Oh, man. But the consequences are a lot worse, right? We just don't do it. But here's the question.
Why don't we get better? I mean, we do. We're redeemed.
We're being sanctified, but we still do what we don't want to do. I've heard it explained as the carrot, the stick and the donkey. And so if you think about, you know, the cartoon picture of someone dangling a carrot off a stick to make the donkey go. So the donkey is our flesh. Like there's something in us that wants the carrot. The carrot is actually all that the world has to offer. Like we're in this temporary place and the lust of the flesh, right? The pride of life, the things that we're looking around at. We're like, I want that. When you have this flesh, you're baited with everything the world has to offer. And then the stick is the enemy. The enemy just comes along and just sets in front of you. He just says, hey, here, why take and eat? Like, why wouldn't you? Kind of like he does with Jesus, you know, when he's in the desert. He's like, hey, why don't you eat this bread? You know what? Look, all of this can be yours.
He's still running this same offense. And so I think as long as we're under the sun, like until we're in that glorified state, until we're in the presence of God, that temptation never goes away. There's always going to be the desires of the flesh, the enemy who lures us with the things of the world. And so I think that's why it feels like we're not getting better. And then I also inexperiencedly find this to be true. It seems like the closer we grow to Christ, the more we realize our sin. Like it's kind of like when you start off, you're like, oh, I'm not that bad.
I'm not that bad of a person, you know? And then as you grow closer and closer to him, you begin to compare yourself to him. And you're like, wow, I'm really depraved.
I'm really fallen. Like I really need a savior. And hopefully our appreciation for him and the work he did on the cross grows.
And we're like, man, I'm so thankful that God rescued me from my depravity. Let's talk about the ancient battles, part one of your book. Let's kind of go through some of those. Yeah, you start with pride.
I think, as C.S. Lewis said, it's the vice or the sin that made the devil the devil. That's that narrative that we covered. And I just think it's still foundational to everything we do. I mean, all of these vices have overlaps.
This one especially bleeds into every single one of them. If you think about why we get drunk or why we're greedy or why we lust, any of it. I mean, pride is foundational to all of it. So how do we get to your virtues, humility?
Yeah. How do we get there? And I think the reason why it's bifurcated in that way, where every chapter deals with the vice and the virtue. And I know you guys have a lot of exposure to church and have done ministry for a while and led churches. The way I think about it is so often in church, it's just like God is the God of don'ts. Thou shalt not. Thou shalt not have fun. Thou shalt not do this. Thou shalt not watch R-rated movies and curse, consume alcohol, dance, whatever the thing is.
But what if we focused on, and sometimes I think we get stuck on defense. The thou shalt not is the defense. It's like I'm putting up my shield, I'm praying, and I'm just trying really, really hard not to sin. And in trying really, really hard not to sin, I'm not doing anything. And I'm like, well, what if rather than trying hard not to be prideful, you just sought out to be humble? That you said, hey, I'm going to be as humble as I can. I'm going to pursue humility rather than trying not to do this. I'm going to pursue the virtue that God calls us to. And you stay in that world.
And so that's where you turn into 1 Peter 5. He says, clothe yourself. All of you clothe yourself in humility. For God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God so that in due time He may lift you up. God's going to lift you up. As I clothe myself in humility, why do I want to stay in this place where I'm just trying not to be prideful?
Why don't I try to be humble? And so that's kind of the premise. Like, how did you do that?
What did it look like in actuality? Just to pursue humility. Yeah. I talk about a friend of mine who every day he wakes up, he stands in his closet and as he's getting dressed, he thinks about, you know what, what does my calendar look like today? What are my meetings? The scripture calls me to clothe myself in humility. And so he looks at them and he says, you know, I'm going to have to wear a lot of humility to that one.
And he kind of goes through and is like, what does that need to look like? What does it look like for me to be humble in those meetings? And he kind of lives in that future reality of what does it look like for me to pursue humility with that person? Who is God calling me to be with that person?
So that's one of the practical things. But then secondly, I would just say serve. Like Jesus says in Mark 10, 45, for the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life his ransom for many. So the antidote to trying to be God is to say, I don't want to be God, God's God. He's a better God than I'll ever be. He's all knowing. He's all powerful.
I'm not all knowing or all powerful. So he's got that job covered. How about I be the chief servant? He leads his disciples through this narrative. He says, you know, those who are considered as rulers of the Gentiles, lord it over them.
And they're like, yes, the Romans, you know, they just want power. And he goes, but not so with you. He goes, whoever wants to be first must be last. You know, whoever wants to be the chief has to be slave of all, for the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life his ransom for many. Somehow that falls out of Sunday school or something. I think we, as we seek to be Christians, we forget, oh, a bullseye for us is to be the chief servant. So to literally go through life with eyes to see who can I serve? And you may not feel like doing it or wanting to do it.
So you're saying, no, I'm going to make the steps to do it. And I love the closet idea. Like he's getting ready, thinking through. And to me, that's really praying.
Well, I mean, I'm thinking about you, JP. You're the lead pastor of a church. You're at the top.
Yeah. It's an easy place to be full of pride because the lights are on you. The, you know, the people are looking at you.
I remember I was teaching with my co-founder of the church back in Michigan years ago at a pastors conference. I'm laughing because of what happened. So I'm telling these guys, hey, people are going to want to crown you king. It's Old Testament. You know, we want a king and people crown a king. They just want, I said, you know, when that happens, you got to reject it. You're not the king, blah, blah, blah. And I'm not kidding. The next day, somebody post on Twitter or something, my co-founder, Steve, they said, Steve Andrews said yesterday, it was this great quote, somebody, you know, going to crown you king. And I'm like, I said that.
Steve didn't say that. And there it was. I'm like, look at me. Who cares who said it? But I was like, I should get the credit for the quote I did.
And I thought, it's still in there. It's like, you're right. I think the antidote is serve. Like set up the chairs, tear the chairs down. Don't just be the guy that's behind the mic getting all the, you know, am I right?
Yes. And I want to be king. I want to be king. I just want to confess to the world that there's a part of me that wants to be king. And the church that we now lead is this amazing gathering of group of people, God's people in the country outside of Waco, almost 150 years old Baptist church in the country as we move there.
And it's such a big shift for us. I got on that stage with my family. And I said, you guys are, if you are tempted to put me on a pedestal, I promise you, I'm going to fall off because like what you see is what you get. And I'm not going to tell my kids that they need to act right in front of you. You know, I'm going to raise them to be respectful.
And there's, but there's a difference. I don't want to teach them perception management. And so our family is going to disappoint you. We're not going to manage perception.
But I'll give you something really practical to go back to your question of what it looks like. And this I've missed way more than I've gotten this right. But just this morning, we pulled into the parking lot. There's a front row spot and there's two ways to think about that.
Right. I can think, oh, look at the Lord. You know, won't he do it?
Sorry, that's what I do, JP. Hey, Jesus! He gave me a front row seat, man. And I can take that spot or something that's even better. Like, I mean, and I think God made us for this is I can say, oh, man, somebody is going to get that.
Maybe it's you, right? Somebody somebody is going to and they're going to be so excited. They got that front row seat. You know, I want them to have it. And then you take that next, I say seat parking spot and you take that, you know, third, fourth.
Maybe you walk a little bit, get some exercise and you give it to someone else. And no one knows that. I mean, now we're telling the whole world. But before this, no one would have known that. Right.
That's what it looks like. Those kinds of decisions. You know, God is calling us to be a servant. How can we serve others? Well, let me ask you this. Let me say, too, first, like that reminds me of Paul saying, I beat my flesh and make it my slave. It reminds me of that.
So I won't be disqualified from the race. I was thinking this, JP. I have found it's easier for me to do that at church as a leader than it is in my home. So when I walk in my home, there's a part of me wants to be king. Right.
You know, it's like, hey, you know, I don't snap my fingers, but it's like, hey, is anybody going to make me a coke? You know, and yet of all the places to serve and a model for my kids, what it looks like to be a servant, leader, husband. You sound like my wife right now.
What's that mean? You know, we need to teach them to do chores. Right. And she's like, well, the way that teaching to do chores is to do chores. You know, I think she probably said, if you just kind of bark at them to do the chores, I think that's going to create some bitterness. And I'm the same way.
It's like, I want that. Hey, in my home, I want to teach them respect. I want to teach them that's how you do it.
And she's like, I think you're going to have to lead by example here, too. Well, you know what? You must be doing a decent job because at lunch today, there were a lot of us. But your 11 year old son, Weston, gathered all the plates at the table and took them to the sink. But you know who didn't was this guy, right? His dad. His mom's a good teacher. No, I was thinking he probably watched both his mom and his dad serve. That was pretty telling to me. You could tell a lot about a person from their kids.
Not that that's the only, but it's an indicator. People are just cringing just now like, God, is it right now? Yeah. We all know it's a lot of grace. So, J.P., just give us a baby step. You've given us a bunch of really practical things, but just for right now, a person's like, I don't know.
Give us a little baby step. I'm Shelby Abbott. You've been listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with Jonathan Pacluda on Family Life Today. You'll hear more from Jonathan about the next baby step that you can take here in just a second. But I wanted to let you know that J.P., or Jonathan Pacluda, has written a book called Why Do I Do What I Don't Want To Do?
Sound familiar? It's from Scripture. The subtitle of this book is called Replace Deadly Vices with Life-Giving Virtues.
It gives you some practical advice on how to do that, overcome the cycle of self-destructive bad habits you have. This book is going to be our gift to you when you partner with us financially. You can go online to familylifetoday.com or give us a call with your donation at 800-358-6329. Again, that number is 800, F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. And feel free to drop us something in the mail if you'd like to also. Our address is Family Life 100 Lakehart Drive, Orlando, Florida, 32832. You ever wondered what your marriage is for?
Like, what's it actually for? You wanting to get more out of what you got? I think almost everybody would answer yes to that. Well, you can join Erin and Jamie Ivey, Vivian Mabuni, and other Art of Marriage contributors this Wednesday, November 1st. It's going to be a night of marriage enrichment that you don't want to miss.
You can register at familylife.com slash coming soon or at the link in our show notes. Okay, here's Jonathan Baklouda about a baby step you can take to overcome the cycle of bad habits in your life. It's a changing the way you think. Think about that sin, that vice that's eating your lunch right now that you think, I'm just having the most difficult time getting on top of this. It feels like I'm going to struggle with this forever.
I feel so defeated in this area. It might be materialism. You go on Amazon and you just can't resist clicking. You can't resist buying.
You see the sales. You can't resist walking in. It may be lust.
You're chasing hashtags. You're going to websites you know you shouldn't or you're constantly having those second looks or you're fantasizing in your mind, right? It might be alcohol. You know that you're drinking more than you should and you're getting to this place where you're trying to hide it and you're sneaking it.
Whatever it is, think about what the counterpart to that is. Like what is the life that God's calling you because if you stay in that mindset of sin, you begin to think, man, God wants to rip me off. He wants to keep good from me. But if you can really embrace this idea that no, he wants to set me free. He wants to give me something better than what I have. He wants to give me a restore what the enemy is trying to take from me right now. What is it that he's calling me to? What is the virtue, the virtuous life that he's calling me to?
And you begin to pursue that. You see this in James 1 19. He says, be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. For a person's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. So when I give in to these vices, I'm actually missing out on the righteous life that God desires. I'm not talking about a salvific truth. We understand Christ's righteousness is imputed upon us because of his work.
But he calls us to live life by the Spirit and to put to death the deeds of the flesh. And so that's where the practical is a little bit ethereal. It's a little bit of a mind work. But I would begin to think, hey, what is the counterpart to the thing that I continue to fall into? And how can I pursue that? The battle with lust, embracing authenticity and overcoming cynicism with optimism.
That sounds like problems that maybe a lot of us have. Well, JP did as well. David A. and Wilson are going to be joined by him in the studio again tomorrow to talk about all that and much more. We hope you'll join us. On behalf of David A. and Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. MUSIC
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