The Wages of Sin is Disorganization

Recently the Barna Group presented research on Christian Women today based on telephone surveys with 603 women who are ages 18 or older who describe themselves as Christians and have attended a Christian church service within the past six months (excluding holiday services or special events).

Part three of the four-part presentation focuses on our emotional and spiritual check up. After reading the results, I have a hard time believing the women who answered the questions were being entirely honest with themselves and/or the surveyor. Either that, or we really have a problem with our understanding of sin and grace.

Here’s what the research had to say about women’s view on their sin:

Churches have long taught the seven deadly sins or modern interpretations of them: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. For women, these traditional sins do not seem to be a problem; they claim instead much more “modern” struggles. In fact, when asked what they struggle with, women most often point to disorganization (50%) and inefficiency (42%).

As for the traditional sins, women are least likely to admit to lust (8%). And, against common stereotypes, women also say they rarely battle jealousy or envy—less than one in eight women (13%) admit to feeling envious often or sometimes. When it comes to other negative behaviors and attitudes, about one third (36%) admit to feeling anger, one quarter say they struggle with selfishness (25%), one in five say they are prone to excessive arguing (19%) and just over one-sixth (16%) say they can be arrogant.

Really? Our biggest struggle is disorganization and inefficiency?

The next section of the research states our biggest disappointments are relationship based. With the exception of number one being the loss of a loved one {which is out of our control} the rest of the research points to trouble with family and/or children. How does our disorganization and inefficiency effect our relationships most? While so many of our disappointments are the result of being sinned against, how much responsibility do/should we take for our part in the break down of our relationships. Of course I’m not talking about issues of abuse, etc. but when people fail us, or we fail others do we have a correct view of our own sinful nature?

Do we resort to what we “did” or what we have to “do” to fix or make it better so much that we have lost sight of the grace given to us by Jesus that we are to live in, live through and pass on to others?

This fall, I’m going to teach a MOPS group on being authentic with God, ourselves and others, followed by a retreat based on Psalm 51 and Davids renewal after his fall with Bathsheba. After that, I’ll be teaching a class on being a woman in the 21st century. So to say much of my studying has been on God’s grace, who and what He’s called us to and the impediments and road blocks {often our sin} that holds us back is an understatement.

The results of Barna’s research is a bit concerning because in order to fully understand the nature of God and press into His calling on our lives, we have to be honest not only with ourselves but also with Him. To fully embrace, understand and enjoy grace…we have to understand and come to terms with sin… the very reason why grace is so freaking amazing.

I know women struggle with feeling “safe” in many of their relationships but do we also struggle with feeling “safe” with God?

David begged God:

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!

There is a deep work of searching, uprooting and cleansing David desires in Psalm 139 and God will do just that. There is nothing God doesn’t see or know even in the deepest recesses of our hearts. The best part is, none of that effects His view of us or His love for us. Those of us who have surrendered our lives to Jesus and received the grace of His salvation are seen as redeemed and set free despite the sin that finds its way into our lives. Our actions don’t effect God’s affection for us in the slightest.

Our unresolved actions, our incorrect view of them, our unwillingness to face them does impact our ability to enjoy living in the grace, peace and freedom God has for us. So if our greatest sin is inefficiency, perhaps we are doing too much or not what we are called to or we are simply working too hard to make things right and we need to just stop and ask God to search our hearts to see what the real problem is.

That problem… has already been paid for. The work was taken care of in the most efficient manner at Calvary when our Savior cried out

it. is. finished.

Perhaps the disorganization we are plagued by can be reordered correctly if we turn back to the pages of Scripture and really contemplate on the truth found in those words rather than what we think others expect of us.

What do you think about Barna’s research?

Do you relate to inefficiency and disorganization being your greatest struggle?

{Post Script} Let me be clear that I am a big fan of Barna Research group and am thankful for their work and insight into our culture and how it measures against our faith.  This post is not a criticism of their work but rather questioning the results of the survey based on the answers of those surveyed. BR did their best, as always.

8 thoughts on “The Wages of Sin is Disorganization

  1. those answers are a major cop out. my struggles are sin, sin and sin. too many women think of lust as wanting a man that they aren’t married to. well, we can lust after our own comfort, ease, possessions, and so much more. i’m not much of a writer. just a couple of quick thoughts. gotta run!

  2. They obviously didn’t ask me, because I would have told them jealousy and selfishness are numbers one and two, lol. What’s sad to me is that my non-Christian friends frequently complain about how most of the Christians they know are “arrogant,” but I think that is the characteristic we are least likely to admit to and probably the hardest to see in ourselves. I wonder, if they’re seeing something we aren’t, then they aren’t seeing Christ in us, which is very sad to me since that’s what we’d like them to see, no? That’s been on my mind lately, just based on conversations around me.
    Anyway, back to the point; I agree, knowing ourselves and honestly facing our weakness is the key to truly grasping God’s grace and living by it. Ah, lessons learned in rehab. If we’re focused on what we’re doing rather than who we are, I think we lose sight of the whole point.
    Just my two (or five) cents.

    • Your five cents is worth a thousand my friend. How sad we are known by our arrogance [and being judgmental] rather than our love…for God and others that cannot be separated grace. It takes great courage to be honest about our brokenness so others can see God’s grace in all its glory. You are a woman of courage and I’m blessed by you.

  3. Ah! The last part spoke so strongly to my heart. I’ve been feeling like I have to play catch up all the time, every day, and it’s exhausting! I thought it had to do with “inefficiency and disorganization”- no it’s my priorities and of course my sin.

    Working in a “man’s world” and feeling like you always have to compete with the females around you leads to jealousy, lusting after a certain rank, accomplishments, perfection etc. and back biting, in order to get “ahead” when it feels like you’re actually on a treadmill.

    I have been blinded by pride, bound by pettiness and fueled by jelousy, but have been reminded today that my time, my work, my accolades, my life and my sin belong to Him.

    Thank you!

  4. I just encountered this related post by a friend of mine on Facebook:
    “Galatians 3:3 – ‘Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?’ Lord, help me rest in the finished work of Christ; knowing that you are fully pleased with me because of the good work He did.”

    In order to feel God’s pleasure in me (and to thereby enjoy intimacy and pleasure in Him), I must first be aware of the fact of my sin, my true sin, not just my displeasure with myself or the chaos of my life. This displeasure with life and self is, I think, that with which the women in the Barna research are testifying. The fact that we are uncomfortable with our lives is not the same as conviction of our own sin. We have difficulty with a true awareness of personal sin, because our lives are affected by the sin of this planet (the pull of busyness, the distractions of life) and it can be a challenge to recognize our own individual sin. Suzie, you say “we need to just stop and ask God to search our hearts to see what the real problem is.” Amen! Time to fully examine myself is SO necessary, and yet, asking God to help me take a hard look at my culpability can almost be a luxury, given the pace of our modern lives. Why would I willingly choose this task with so much immediate gratification beckoning? And yet, there is no true rest in the finished work of Christ apart from this necessary examination, because without sin there can be no mercy.

    Secondly, once I have laid hold of the truth of His great mercy, I must imagine in my heart the great joy He has in me, not because of the works which I have done, but according to Christ’s amazing work and the Father’s grace. I, personally, have struggled so much with this piece. I so much want my works to qualify me for His love, His mercy, His grace, and yet the Word tells me my works are not a payment for sin, but a beautiful response to His love. I love Him because He first loved me. That order is what I need to focus on: He FIRST loved me. Amazing!

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